Trial production of the TA600 aircraft, intended to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, has started in China following completion of the design process, a company executive said Sunday.
The aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons and a maximum range of more than 5,000 kilometers, is larger than a Boeing 737 and could be used for firefighting and air-sea rescue, said Fu Junxu, general manager of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd's Zhuhai branch.
China began developing the aircraft five years ago. Its maiden flight is expected to happen in late 2015, said Fu.
"After a period of trial flights, the aircraft will be put onto the market," he said.
Upon completion, it will replace Japan's ShinMaywa US-2 aircraft as the largest amphibious aircraft in the world.