AVIC AG600

The AVIC AG600 Kunlong (Chinese: ; pinyin: kūnlóng; lit. 'Kun Dragon') is a large amphibious aircraft designed by AVIC and assembled by CAIGA. Powered by four WJ-6 turboprops, it is one of the largest flying boats with a 53.5 t (118,000 lb) MTOW. After five years of development, assembly started in August 2014, it was rolled out on 23 July 2016 and it made its first flight from Zhuhai Airport on 24 December 2017; it should be certified in 2021, with deliveries starting in 2022.

AG600
AG-600 at Airshow China 2016 (cropped).jpg
AG600 at the 2016 Airshow China, Y-20 behind
Role Utility amphibious flying boat
National origin China
Manufacturer CAIGA
Design group AVIC Special Vehicle Research Institute
First flight 24 December 2017[1]
Status Under development

DevelopmentEdit

The AG600 was previously known as the TA-600;[2] it was designated the Dragon 600 before TA-600.[3] After five years of development, CAIGA started to build the aircraft in August 2014, for a first flight targeted at the time for 2015.[4] Assembly was still on its way in October 2015.[5] The prototype was rolled out on 23 July 2016 at the Zhuhai AVIC factory.[6] At the roll-out, AVIC targeted a maiden flight by the end of 2016 and it has then gathered 17 orders, all from the Chinese government including the China Coast Guard, AVIC does not expect to produce it in large numbers.[2] Target markets also include export sales, with island countries such as New Zealand and Malaysia having expressed an interest.[7]

On 24 December 2017, it made its maiden flight from Zhuhai Jinwan Airport.[1] In May 2018, AVIC planned to have Civil Aviation Administration of China type certification completed by 2021 and deliveries starting in 2022.[8]

After transfer from Zhuhai to Jingmen, the prototype started low-speed taxiing on the Zhanghe reservoir on 30 August 2018.[9][10] On 20 October 2018, the prototype AG600 completed its first water take-off and landing at Jingmen's Zhanghe Reservoir[citation needed] and on 26 July 2020, the AG600 completed its first test flight from the ocean, after taking off from Qingdao.[11]

Further variants may be developed for maritime surveillance, resource detection, passenger and cargo transport.[12] It is one of the three big plane projects approved by the State Council of China, with the Xi'an Y-20 military transport and the Comac C919 airliner.[13]

DesignEdit

The AG600 amphibious aircraft has a single body flying boat fuselage, cantilevered high wings, four WJ-6 turboprops and tricycle retractable landing gear.[12] It can operate from 1,500 by 200 m (4,920 by 660 ft) stretches of water 2.5 m (8.2 ft) deep,[6] and should be able to conduct Sea State 3 operations with 2 m (6.6 ft) waves.[13] It was developed for aerial firefighting, collecting 12 t (26,000 lb) of water in 20 seconds and transporting up to 370 t (820,000 lb) of water on a single tank of fuel (31 rotations), and search and rescue, retrieving up to 50 people at sea.[6]

Assembled by CAIGA, it is 36.9m long and has a 38.8m wingspan, its MTOW is 53.5 t (118,000 lb) from paved runways or 48.8 t (108,000 lb) from choppy sea.[2] AVIC claims it is the largest amphibious aircraft.[6] It is heavier than the 41 t (90,000 lb) MTOW Beriev Be-200 or the 47.7 t (105,000 lb) ShinMaywa US-2, but lighter than the prototype-only 86 t (190,000 lb) Beriev A-40. Previous seaplanes were heavier, as the 75 t (165,000 lb) Martin JRM Mars or the prototypes 100 t (220,000 lb) Blohm & Voss BV 238, 156 t (345,000 lb) Saunders-Roe Princess or 180 t (400,000 lb) Hughes H-4 Hercules.

It could access remote atolls in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands, claimed by several bordering nations,[3] as the South China Sea is subjected to territorial disputes.[14] It can fly in four hours from the southern city of Sanya to James Shoal, the southernmost edge of China's territorial claims.[15]

Specifications (AG600)Edit

Data from AVIC[12]

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 50 rescued or 12 t (26,000 lb) of water
  • Length: 36.9 m (121 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 38.8 m (127 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 12.1 m (39 ft 8 in)
  • Max takeoff weight: 53,500 kg (117,947 lb) from land, 49,800 kg (109,800 lb) from choppy sea[2]
  • Powerplant: 4 × WJ-6 turboprops
  • Propellers: 6-bladed

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 560 km/h (350 mph, 300 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 500 km/h (310 mph, 270 kn) max[6]
  • Range: 4,500 km (2,800 mi, 2,400 nmi)
  • Endurance: 12h[6]
  • Service ceiling: 6,000 m (20,000 ft)
  • Operations from: 1,500 m (4,900 ft) of water[6]

See alsoEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "China's first large amphibious aircraft AG600 takes to the skies for maiden flight". Xinhua. 24 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Ellis Taylor (26 July 2016). "AVIC rolls out first AG600 amphibian". Flightglobal.
  3. ^ a b Greg Waldron (5 August 2014). "China TA-600 amphibian eyes first flight in 2015". Flight Global.
  4. ^ Grady, Mary (18 August 2014). "CAIGA To Produce Biggest Amphibious Airplane". AVweb. Retrieved 22 August 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Assembly of amphibious plane AG600 underway in China". CCTV. 8 October 2015. Archived from the original on 24 December 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "China Focus: World's largest amphibious aircraft made in China". Xinhua. 23 July 2016.
  7. ^ "China starts assembly of world's largest amphibious aircraft". the People's Daily (English Edition). 20 July 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "China aiming to deliver world's largest amphibious aircraft by 2022". Xinhua. 13 May 2018.
  9. ^ Greg Waldron (5 September 2018). "China's AG600 in first water foray". Flightglobal.
  10. ^ Ben Sampson (10 October 2018). "'World's largest' amphibious aircraft completes high speed water taxiing tests". Aerospace Testing International.
  11. ^ "China-developed AG600 amphibious aircraft succeeds in maiden flight over sea - Xinhua | English.news.cn". www.xinhuanet.com.
  12. ^ a b c "Amphibious Aircraft > AG600". AVIC. 2015. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  13. ^ a b Chen Chuanren (26 December 2017). "China's AG600, World's Largest Amphibian, Flies". AIN.
  14. ^ "AG600 Kunlong, world's largest amphibious plane, in maiden China flight". BBC. 24 December 2017.
  15. ^ "World's largest amphibious aircraft takes off in China". The Guardian. 24 December 2017.

External linksEdit