BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- China's indigenously-developed AG600 large amphibious aircraft has entered the airworthiness flight-test phase, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced on Wednesday.
Two AG600M airplanes, the firefighting model belonging to the AG600 aircraft family, have arrived at the flight-test center in Yanliang District in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, said the AVIC, the country's leading plane-maker.
This marked the official entry of the special-mission aircraft into the flight-test phase, which is a necessary step for it to obtain the type certificate, the AVIC added.
At the flight test center, the AG600M airplanes will firstly receive modifications needed to conduct the various flight tests.
A number of tests, including the static test and others, have also been initiated, said the AVIC.
Codenamed Kunlong, or "water dragon" in Chinese, the AG600 aircraft family is being developed to serve emergency rescue missions. It can be used in forest firefighting, maritime search and rescue, and other critical emergency rescue missions.
A member of the AG600 family, the AG600M is specifically designed to combat forest fires. Its maximum take-off weight is 60 tonnes, with a water-carrying capacity of up to 12 tonnes and flight range of up to 4,500 km. It can conduct low-altitude flying at low speed, enabling it to drop water accurately on fire sites.
This year is key for the development of AG600 aircraft. Aiming to make progress toward securing the airworthiness certification, the aircraft will be subjected to a series of tests in 2023, said the Chinese developer.
These tests include the iron-bird test, lab validation test, static test, airworthiness validation flight test, and quality tests for airborne devices, and more.
The AG600 aircraft family made constant progress in 2022, in terms of both aircraft development and market exploration.
As vital aeronautical equipment in the emergency rescue system, the AG600 has attracted attention from the market.
It is expected that the firefighting model and emergency rescue model of AG600 aircraft will obtain certification in 2024 and 2025, respectively, according to the AVIC.