World’s largest amphibious aircraft
October 29, 2018 -- China’s new AG600 can make round trips without refuelling from the island province of Hainan to James Shoal (Zengmu Ansha), claimed by Beijing as the southernmost point of its territory.
The world’s largest flying boat, the AVIC AG600, has been described by China’s Xinhua news agency as the “protector spirit of the sea, islands and reefs” — a direct reference to the South China Sea, where China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims.
James Shoal is a small bank in the South China Sea, about 80km (50 miles) from the Malaysian coast and lying under the water at a depth of 22 metres. It is 1,800km (1,120 miles) from Sanya Air Base on Hainan.
About the same size as an Airbus A320, the AG600 has roles as search and rescue, transport, firefighting and anti-submarine warfare.
Powered by four Dongan WJ-6 turboprops, and with a range of 4,500km (2,800 miles), the AG600 is easily capable of carrying 50 troops to James Shoal and back to the mainland.
The aircraft has received 17 orders so far from Chinese government departments and companies.