China now # 1! At least with regard amphibious aircraft!
"China unveils 'world's largest amphibious aircraft'"
"Crowd gathers at a ceremony to unveil the AG600 amphibious plane"
"The Chinese-built AG600 seaplane has a maximum range of 4,500 km and is intended for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescues" ABOUT THE SIZE OF A COMMERCIAL BOEING 737.
Fire fighting and marine rescues. AND I MIGHT WELL IMAGINE MILITARY AVIATION OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA!!
Prior this the largest amphibious aircraft were experimental and prototype versions only that never went into production?
I am thinking of the Howard Hughes "Spruce Goose" and those Soviet ekranoplans such as the "Caspian Sea Monster"!
The "Spruce Goose" from the era of the Second World War. A one-of-a-kind!
Soviet "Caspian Sea Monster". To get some sense of scale you can see persons on top of and along side the aircraft!
Does anyone doubt even for a second the potential military application of the AG600?
See my previous blog entry the topic of which was heavy-lift seaplanes: