SINGAPORE: The AG600 - said to be the world's largest seaplane - will be making its maiden flight in the first half of 2017, Chinese state media said on Wednesday (Feb 15).
The amphibious aircraft's four engines successfully passed a series of rigorous tests between Feb 11 and 14, after rolling off a production line in the southern city of Zhuhai last July.
Its maker, the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), had told Xinhua that the AG600 is 37 metres long with a wingspan of 38.8 metres.
It is by far the world's largest amphibious aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, AVIC's deputy general manager Geng Ruguang said.
It was designed for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescue missions, said Xinhua, with excellent maneuverability and a relatively wide range of search scope.
The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes, can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds and is capable of rescuing up to 50 people far offshore.
In the July report, Xinhua also cited chief designer Huang Lingcai as saying that the AG600 is "like a ship that can fly, with advanced gas-water dynamic engineering and underwater corrosion resistance technology".
Huang added that the aircraft is "the latest breakthrough in China's aviation industry, which demonstrates an overall improvement of China's national strength and research capacity".