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Chinese AG600 aircraft enters initial batch production

The CAIGA AG600 Kunlong large amphibious aircraft will be supplied to Chinese government entities as a firefighting and maritime rescue aircraft. The PLA will almost certainly employ it as a maritime patrol and transport aircraft. (VCG/VCG via Getty Image)

China's CAIGA AG600 Kunlong large amphibious aircraft has entered “a new phase” of low-rate initial batch production and final assembly, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said.

With an estimated payload-carrying capacity of 12 tonnes, the AG600 is being designed for various applications, such as maritime search and rescue, patrol, and amphibious transport. According to AVIC, the programme entered the production stage after the nose for the first batch-produced AG600 was delivered on 30 June.

This “marked the transition of the AG600 aircraft from the development phase to batch production”, AVIC said, according to the state-owned media.

According to AVIC, the nose of the aircraft required three months to produce. “The Central and Southern Regional Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China carried out the airworthiness compliance inspection for the manufacturing of this large airframe segment,” the state-owned media said.

The next step in the programme is the final assembly of the production AG600 units at AVIC's General Huanan Aircraft Industry Co, Ltd factory at Zhuhai in China's Guangdong province. According to AVIC, the AG600 will obtain its type certificate by the end of 2024. “After obtaining the type certificate, it will be delivered to the customer,” AVIC said.

The corporation has not said which Chinese government entities will receive the initial production batch of aircraft.

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