Above: photo posted on Twitter today by @cnmainland, Chinese Mainland News, showing their AG-600 amphibious aircraft.
The AG-600 amphibious aircraft China has been working on for several years, also known as the TA-600, is starting to take shape. The photo above included this message, very roughly translated by Google:
China has independently developed the world’s largest amphibious aircraft debut “off your veil, let me see your face .” Through hundreds of days and nights, a large amphibious aircraft AG600
It will be the largest amphibious aircraft currently in production when it makes its first flight, anticipated for later this year.
The aircraft is designed to carry 50 passengers, but can also scoop water and drop it on fires. The Coulson Group that owns two huge Martin Mars flying boat air tankers trained 14 Chinese test pilots last year who will be the first to fly the AG-600. The training included ground, water taxi, flight, scooping, and dropping water. The trainee pilots went through classroom and hands on training using Coulson’s Hawaii Martin Mars, actually taxiing and flying the huge flying boat.
Unlike the Martin Mars, the AG-600 will be truly amphibious, able to land and takeoff on water or land. Defense World has a photo of a model showing landing gear.
China could use the amphibious aircraft not only to fight fires, but to assist in their efforts to create and resupply artificial islands in the South China Sea.