China's large amphibious aircraft's emergency rescue capabilities improved

(Xinhua) 10:14, November 08, 2023

An AG600M firefighting aircraft drops water during a gathering and dropping water test in Jingmen, central China's Hubei Province, Sept. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)

BEIJING, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- China has further enhanced the capabilities of its AG600M firefighting aircraft, a member of the homegrown AG600 large amphibious aircraft family, according to the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The AVIC has improved the AG600M by developing an upgraded aircraft platform and stronger capabilities for this large amphibious aircraft, enabling it to better carry out firefighting and other emergency rescue operations, said the AVIC, China's leading aviation manufacturer.

The AG600M aircraft is aiming to obtain the required type certificate by the end of 2024, and to be delivered to operators for firefighting and other rescue operations in 2025, said the AVIC.

Crew members of an AG600M firefighting aircraft disembark from the plane after a gathering and dropping water test in Jingmen, central China's Hubei Province, Sept. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)

China's independently-developed AG600 series is an advanced large amphibious aircraft family currently in the development stage, featuring a unique configuration consisting of an integrated aircraft-shaped upper body and ship-bottom-shaped lower body.

Compared with the technology demonstrator AG600 aircraft, the firefighting-specialized AG600M has an upgraded maximum take-off weight of 60 tonnes, and a maximum water-dropping capacity of up to 12 tonnes.

Multiple other improvements have also been made to this aircraft, ranging from its cockpit, cabin, and wings to its unique ship-bottom-shaped belly, giving it more comfort and better economic performance, said the developer.

The AG600M aircraft features the fly-by-wire flight control system, an integrated avionics system and other related systems.

The optimized ship-bottom-shaped belly enhances the large amphibious aircraft's operational performance when faced with ocean waves and expands its capabilities in terms of water-rescue operations.

"The AG600M firefighting aircraft is capable of carrying and dropping up to 12 tonnes of water on the fire site. It showed a strong capacity for combating fires in a comprehensive emergency air rescue drill held in central China's Jingmen City in late October," said Huang Lingcai, AG600 aircraft series chief designer and chief engineer of the AVIC General Huanan Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd.

An AG600M firefighting aircraft gathers water during a gathering and dropping water test in Jingmen, central China's Hubei Province, Sept. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Wu Zhizun)

Codenamed Kunlong, or "water dragon" in Chinese, the AG600 aircraft family is being developed as vital aeronautical equipment to strengthen China's emergency-rescue capabilities. Its developers are aiming for these aircraft to be effective in combating forest fires, conducting maritime search and rescue, and in other critical rescue missions.

The AVIC is endeavoring to sustain China's building of its national emergency-rescue system by developing more aeronautical equipment tailored to meet the country's demands through achieving excellent performance, according to the AVIC.

The AG600 aircraft family is on track to expand with more models designed for specialized emergency-rescue missions.

"We are planning the serialized expansion of the AG600 aircraft family according to the needs of users," said Huang.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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