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China unveils "World's Largest Amphibious Aircraft"

07/25/2016| 6:22:31 PM|

China has completed production of the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the latest effort to wean itself off dependence on foreign aviation firms, according to Xinhua.

The state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) unveiled the first of the new planes, dubbed the AG600, Saturday in the southern port city of Zhuhai, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The aircraft, which has a maximum range of 4,500 km (2,800 miles), is intended for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescues, it said.

The AG600 could potentially extend the Asian giant's ability to conduct a variety of operations in the South China Sea, where it has built a series of artificial islands featuring air strips, among other infrastructure with the potential for either civilian or military use.

China is seeking to develop its own aviation sector to reduce dependence on and even challenge foreign giants, such as European consortium Airbus and Boeing of the United States, though analysts say it could take years.

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TAGS: amphibious aircraft | China
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