World's largest amphibious aircraft can fly from China to near Sarawak(Update)


  • Business
  • Sunday, 24 Dec 2017

The AG600's chief designer, Huang Lingcai, was quoted in the official China Daily earlier this month as saying it can make round trips without refuelling from the southern island province of Hainan to James Shoal, claimed by China but which is located close to Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo.

BEIJING: China's domestically developed AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft, performed its maiden flight on Sunday from an airport on the shores of the South China Sea. It can fly non-stop from China to near Sarawak, Malaysia, and back without refueling.

China has stepped up research on advanced military equipment as it adopts a more muscular approach to territorial disputes in places such as the disputed South China Sea, rattling nerves in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States.

China's state media has also noted its potential use in the South China Sea, where China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims.

The AG600's chief designer, Huang Lingcai, was quoted in the official China Daily earlier this month as saying it can make round trips without refuelling from the southern island province of Hainan to James Shoal, claimed by China but which is located close to Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo.


It returned about an hour later and taxied to its stand accompanied by martial music and greeted by crowds waving Chinese flags.

Xinhua news agency said the aircraft was the "protector spirit of the sea, islands and reefs".

It had previously been scheduled to make its first flight earlier this year but it is unclear why it was delayed after ground tests took place in April.

State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) has spent almost eight years developing the aircraft, which is roughly the size of a Boeing Co 737 and is designed to carry out marine rescues and battle forest fires.

However, state media has also noted its potential use in the South China Sea, where China, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims.

The AG600's chief designer, Huang Lingcai, was quoted in the official China Daily earlier this month as saying it can make round trips without refuelling from the southern island province of Hainan to James Shoal, claimed by China but which is located close to Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo.

Powered by four turboprop engines, the AG600 can carry 50 people during maritime search-and-rescue missions, and can scoop up 12 metric tons of water within 20 seconds for fire fighting trips, according to state media.

The aircraft has received 17 orders so far from Chinese government departments and Chinese companies. It has a maximum flight range of 4,500 km (2,800 miles) and a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes.

It can use conventional airports and also land and take-off from the sea.

China is in the midst of a massive military modernisation programme, ranging from testing anti-satellite missiles to building stealth fighters and the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier, to add to an existing one bought from Ukraine. - Reuters

 

Reuteras also reported Monday:

China has "reasonably" expanded its islands in the disputed South China Sea and this year construction projects there including radar facilities covered about 290,000 square meters (72 acres), according to a new government report.

The number was broadly similar to one provided by a U.S. think tank earlier this month.

China has conducted extensive land reclamation work on some of the islands and reefs it controls in the South China Sea, including building airports, alarming its neighbors and Washington.

Beijing says the work is help provide international services such as search-and-rescue but admits there is a military purpose too. China also says it can do whatever it wants on its territory.

The new report, posted on a website run by China's National Marine Data and Information Service and the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily, says China has enhanced its military presence there and "reasonably" expanded the area covered by the islands.

Apart from what it termed "large radar" - it was unclear if the report was referring to more than one - construction this year has included facilities for underground storage and administrative buildings.

There has been an increase in military patrols too, the report added, without giving specifics.

The report was released on Friday but appeared in the state-run newspaper the Global Times on Monday.

While attention in Asia has been distracted by the North Korean nuclear crisis in the past year, China has continued to install high-frequency radar and other facilities that can be used for military purposes on its man-made islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank said this month.

That report, by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Chinese activity has involved work on facilities covering 72 acres (29 hectares) of the Spratly and Paracel islands, territory contested with several Asian neighbors.

More than $5 trillion of world trade is shipped through the South China Sea every year. Besides China's territorial claims in the area, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan have rival claims. - Reuters

 

 

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China , amphibious , plane , Sarawk , Malaysia , South China Sea , AG600 ,

   

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