China’s locally designed and produced AG-600 water bomber has arrived ahead of the country’s China Airshow that is to be held November 7th-13th in Zhuai, in Guangdong province in China. The AG-600, designed and built by Chinese government owned aircraft manufacturer AVIC made its initial worldwide debut in September 2019 at a Russian airshow. Since its debut, the aircraft underwent testing in March of 2021 and has not been seen in public until its recent arrival for China’s airshow. In images published by China Daily, the AG-600 prototype arrived without incident in Zhuai to a hero’s welcome for the pilots on the highly anticipated water bomber. AVIC stated that mass production of the AG600 is expected in 2023 once the aircraft gains all necessary certifications from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. There are currently two AG600 prototype aircraft in testing and company plans to build an additional four AG600 test aircraft over the next several years to assist in the testing and certification of the aircraft. Initial development of the AG600 began in June of 2009 following approval of the idea with the development and design of the aircraft involving more than 10,000 researchers and engineers. AVIC also shared that development also involved work from hundreds of domestic institutes in China during initial concept design. Construction of the AG600 prototype began early in 2014 and was completed in mid-2016 before the aircraft’s maiden flight in December 2017. The first amphibious flight of the AG600 took place in October of 2018 in Hubei Provinces Zhanghe Reservoir, Jingmen. At roughly the size of a Boeing 733, the AG600 has a length of 37 meters, a wingspan of 38.8 meters, powered by locally designed and manufactured WJ-6 turboprop engines. The AG600 has a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 metric tons with an operational range of almost 2800 miles and can carry 50 people. AVIC estimates that the amphibious aircraft will be able to carry 3170 gallons of water scooped from the water surface of a lake or ocean in 20 seconds when firefighting.
China’s AG-600 Water Bomber Arrives for China Airshow