China's First Amphibious Aircraft Performs Inaugural flight

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China's first home-manufactured AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft, carried out its maiden flight Sunday in Zhuhai, a coastal city in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council congratulated all those engaged in the mission, including those from the Ministry of Industry and Information, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

China's homegrown AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft in production, yesterday took to the skies for its maiden flight.

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The 39.6-meter aircraft, powered by four domestically- built turboprop engines, can take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes.

The AG600 aircraft departed in the morning from Zhuhai airport and its flight time lasted about an hour.

"Its operational range of more than 4,000 km and ability to land on and take off from water put China's islands in the South China Sea well within range", said Huang. The manufacturer says the flying boat "will be of great importance to the country's emergency rescue system and the building of strong sea power", China Daily reports.

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China in recent years made major strides in aviation technology.

Beijing's claims on nearly the entirely of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in annual trade passes, is strongly contested by other countries.

For instance, the aircraft can fly to the James Shoal, which is claimed by Taiwan and Malaysia.

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"The plane's capacity and manoeuvrability makes it ideal for transporting materiel to those maritime features that are too structurally fragile to support runways".

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