WATCH: China Gearing For South China Sea; Conducts Maiden Test Flight Of Amphibious Aircraft AG600

China’s indigenously developed AG600 amphibious aircraft has successfully conducted its maiden flight in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province, various Chinese media outlets reported.

According to reports, the amphibious aircraft took off from the sea off Qingdao at 10:18 a.m (local time) and completed the test flight after flying for about 31 minutes, according to Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

The Global Times (GT) quoting AVIC stated that the Chinese amphibious aircraft AG600 will be able to operate in harsh maritime conditions and execute missions, including sea cargo transport and maritime emergency rescue.

Aviation experts talking to the GT claimed that its eventual deployment would be in the South China Sea which will boost China’s ability to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and integrity. AG600s presence in the region would assist in civil administration works and support in search and rescue missions for everyone in the neighbourhood.

China’s domestically developed large amphibious aircraft AG600 makes its first sea-based test flight from sea waters off Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province on July 26, 2020. Photo: Courtesy of AVIC

AVIC said that seawater is different to freshwaters in terms of salinity, density and waves, and the pilot also faced more challenging environments, meaning that sea-based test flights are much complex in comparison to water-based test flights – which were held earlier over a reservoir in Jingmen, Central China’s Hubei Province in October of 2018.

The successful sea-based test flight symbolised the AG600 has now essentially reached its planned purpose. Its next steps will likely involve more test flights as well as tests that challenge the plane’s ability to resist seawater corrosion for extended periods, carry heavy cargo, and put out fire, experts stated.