China tests amphibious firefighting plane
The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China has completed its first test flight using the new firefighting configuration of its AG600 amphibious fixed-wing aircraft
The aircraft took off from Zhuhai Jinwan Airport at 10:55 hrs, and completed a series of tests of its capabilities, including making its first water-based and sea-based landings and take-offs, and demonstrating its fire extinguishing capabilities, before returning to land at the airport approximately 20 minutes later.
The AG600 has a maximum take-off weight of 60 tons and a maximum water capacity of 12 tons. It also has a ‘pressurized cabin, fly-by-wire control, integrated avionics and a comprehensive task system’.
According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, the success of the test flight marks the start of a new stage of ‘accelerated development’ for the project.
The aircraft, which comes in both ‘firefighting’ and ‘rescue’ variants, is intended to meet the growing needs of China’s emergency rescue response, and is part of the country’s plans to create a ‘national disaster prevention and control system’.
Meanwhile in North America, De Havilland Canada announced that it will develop a new iteration of its DHC-515 twin turboprop firefighting aircraft in April.