07 April 2015
China is building the world’s largest seaplane, theJiaolong (Water Dragon) AG600. Capable of landing and taking off on water (and land), the Chinese-built aircraft could make it easier for Beijing to press its claims in the South China Sea, according to experts quoted in a Defense News article.
“Amphibious planes like the AG600 would be perfect for resupplying the new artificial islands that the Chinese are building in the SCS [South China Sea]. At the same time, these islands would be excellent bases of operations for the AG600 to engage in maritime patrols of claimed territories,” notes Richard Bitzinger, coordinator of the Military Transformations Programme at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
With a maximum take-off weight of 60 tons, the Jiaolong AG600 will become China’s largest amphibious airplane when it enters Chinese services in either 2016 or 2017. According to information obtained by Defense News, the aircraft is powered by four turboprop WJ-6 engines and has a range of 5,500 kilometers. The alleged top speed of the aircraft is 348 mph (555 km/h).
… “Since the program can hardly be justified by the civilian demand, the likely explanation is that the program has a significant military importance,” argues Sam Bateman, an adviser with the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 23/11/2015