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China begins trial production of world's largest amphibious aircraft

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BEIJING (PTI): 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 on Sunday.

The aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tonnes 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 on Sunday.

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.

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