Beijing: Trial production of the TA600 amphibious aircraft, intended to be the world`s largest, has started in China and is expected to undertake its maiden flight next year, a company executive said today.
The aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons and a maximum range of more than 5,000 km is larger than a Boeing 737 and could be used for fire fighting and air-sea rescue, Fu Junxu, general manager of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd`s Zhuhai branch said.
China began developing the aircraft five years ago, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted a company executive today.
The trial production started following completion of the design process, he said.
Its maiden flight is expected to happen in late 2015, Fu said.
"After a period of trial flights, the aircraft will be put onto the market," he said.
Upon completion, it will replace Japan`s Shin Maywa US-2 aircraft as the largest amphibious aircraft in the world.