In 1986, the Chinese Navy began operations of the Harbin SH-5, a large amphibious aircraft utilized primarily for maritime patrol and over-water Search and Rescue (SAR). The design emerged from work handled in the 1970s but only seven examples were taken on through production spanning from 1984 to 1985. The local Chinese concern of AVIC ("Aviation Industry Corporation of China") is now planning a successor based on the SH-5 as the "TA-600". This development will retain the former's amphibious capabilities and operate in largely the same roles as its Cold War-era predecessor. Beyond these military-minded roles, it is also envisioned that the TA-600 will be capable of firefighting over the vast, hard-to-reach Chinese wilderness - which will make range and water-hauling key qualities in the design. The TA-600 is expected to begin final assembly in 2015 for delivery during 2016 - this is a delay from the original 2014 delivery window.
The TA-600 has its roots in a 2009 initiative and, at this time, the aircraft retained many of the features seen in the original SH-5. Over the years, its silhouette has been slowly revised by way of modified float supports, a more blended, better-contoured cockpit roofline, and a "T-style" tail unit (as opposed to the split vertical tail fins of the SH-5). On the whole, the aircraft has continued use of flying boat basics - high, shoulder-mounted wings, two engines installed at each wing, and a boat-like hull for water landings. Its standard operating crew will be two pilots, a loadmaster, and any required mission specialists (sortie dependent). The hold will also support seating for up to 50 passengers. The resulting aircraft has proven heavier than previously planned at approximately 107,000lb, up from the original 98,000lb. The added weight has altered the expected operational range, reduced from 3,200 miles to 3,100 miles. Dimensions currently include a wingspan of 131.2 feet. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is listed at 117,950lb.
Design plans are for all-new, Chinese-made turboprop engines to power the aircraft through constant speed propellers with an output of at least 5,000 horsepower per engine unit. The current selection remains the aged WJ-6 which is nothing more than the Chinese copy of the Soviet Ivchenko AI-20 series.
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July 2016 - The AG-600 was unveiled to onlookers as a static display - this as an international tribunal sided against Chinese claims in the South China Sea.
November 2016 - The AG-600 amphibian was on public display as part of the 11th Zhuhai Air Show.
November 2016 - There are seventeen AG-600 committed to orders. A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2017.
December 2017 - An AG-600 aircraft recorded the series first-flight on December 24th, 2017. It remains under development heading into 2018.
October 2018 - The AG-600 has made its first-flight from water on October 20th, 2018. It flew for 14 minutes near the Jingmen Zhanghe Airport (Hubei). First-deliveries are scheduled for 2022.
April 2020 - The Chinese military has reported the AG-600 is being readied to undertake its first at-sea test flight.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy underwater elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and weapons.
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy surface elements through visual acquisition, radar support, and onboard weaponry.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
121.1 ft (36.90 m)
127.3 ft (38.80 m)
39.7 ft (12.10 m)
70,548 lb (32,000 kg)
117,947 lb (53,500 kg)
+47,399 lb (+21,500 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the AVIC AG-600 production variant)
4 x WJ-6 (Ivchenko AI-20) Turboprop engines developing 5,100 horsepower each and driving 6-blded constant-speed propellers.
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the AVIC AG-600 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Currently none. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) military models would include depth charges, naval mines, torpedoes, and provision for dropping conventional ordnance.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 4
AG-600 - Base Series Designation
TA-600 - Alternative Designation
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (311mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
AVIC AG-600 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
The three qualities reflected above are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (1)
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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