Jiaolong-600 / Dragon 600 / Xiaolong 600 / Snapdragon 600
The Chinese aircraft building corporation (AVIC) began work on the design of the AG600 aircraft in 2009, and the first prototype went off the assembly line in July 2016. It was hailed by the media as one of China's three big swordsmen (Y-20 large transport aircraft, C929 large aircraft, AG600 large-scale water machine). If the Xiaolong aircraft is deployed at the Sanya base in Hainan Island, it can fly to the southernmost Zengmu shoal in the country within 4 hours, and patrol the sea area for more than 2 hours. If deployed in Yongshu Island, the entire archipelago around the South China Sea can be the scope of activity of the Xiaolong AG600.
Since China has successfully developed a new type of shore-based anti-submarine aircraft based on the Yun-9 high-tech series, it is enough to meet the recent Chinese navy's demand for anti-submarine. In the future, China can also use the domestic C-919 aircraft to develop a similar US P-8 remote high-speed anti-submarine patrol aircraft. The long-range patrol anti-submarine mission of the Chinese Navy does not need to be carried out with a clumsy and slow seaplane.
The anti-submarine aircraft is always the most modified direction of the AG600, but the seaplane is not the best platform to modify the anti-submarine aircraft. In addition to the small internal space of the seaplane, it is difficult to equip with sufficient water detection and striking equipment. The seaplane is subject to shape resistance and the speed is generally slow, which is a fatal injury to the seaplane for anti-submarine warfare.
It is about the same size as the A320. The maximum take-off mass of the AG600 is 53.5 tons. It can develop a speed of up to 500 km / h with a range of up to 4,500 km and an air time of up to 12 hours. The length of the aircraft is 37 m, the wingspan is 38.8 m. The seaplane can take off and land both on ordinary airfields and on the water surface with a length of 1500 meters. The waters with a width of 200 meters and a depth of 2.5 meters are free to take off and land.
The upper part of the fuselage is like the conventional aerodynamic layout. There are two floats on both sides of the wing. The AG600 is capable of both taking off on land and taking off on land. The use of amphibious aircraft is superior to pure seaplanes. AVIC General Aircraft Company disclosed on 24 June 2009 that the project to produce the world's largest amphibious airplane "Jiaolong-600" had already been approved, and its research and development has officially started. "Jiaolong-600," a single-hull comprehensive rescue airplane with a four-turbine propeller, is similar in size to the Airbus A320. It will become the world's largest amphibious airplane. The airplane's maximum take-off weight is 60 tons. It can take off and land on both ground and water. AVIC will use Zhuhai for part of the production of the Jiaolong-600.
The Xiaolong-600 adopts the flat wing that is rare in modern airplanes. The flat wing is well-supported and reasonable in structure, which is the best choice for the aircraft to obtain large lift and small resistance. The moment the plane takes off from the water, the lift is the strongest, and the straight wing is good for the smooth leaping of the plane. The final tail of the fuselage and the tall horizontal tails ensure the safety, stability and balance of the vital longitudinal and heading in flight.
Today, it is rare to have four engines on a single aircraft. There are only two Boeing 777s and the Airbus A350. The AG600 is equipped with 2 engines on each side, that is, 4 engines are installed on the whole machine. This configuration helps the aircraft to bend flexibly while sliding in the water. It only needs to change the thrust of one side of the engine. It's a breeze. In addition, multiple engines can improve the safety factor of the aircraft in high wind and high temperature and harsh environments. Even if one or two engines fail unexpectedly, the aircraft will not be affected and can continue to perform the mission.
This six-blade propeller engine is actually a "brother" with the turbofan engine on the aircraft and passenger aircraft. Their core machines have the same compressor, combustion chamber, gas turbine, tail nozzle, etc., but the former has a reducer on the turbine shaft and a multi-blade propeller connected to it. When the propeller rotates, it will produce a forward pulling force. When the high-temperature and high-pressure gas flow is flushed out from the tail nozzle, it will generate a backward thrust. When pulled and pushed, the two combined forces will drive the aircraft to move forward quickly. The single power of the WJ6 turboprop is not as large as the turbofan engine, but the fuel consumption is low. Its engine take-off thrust is very powerful, and it complements the straight wing, which can fully meet the requirements of large-power and long-range flight of amphibious aircraft. In addition, the WJ6 turboprop engine is safe and reliable, mature in technology, and has a good reputation at home and abroad. It has been mass-produced and is widely used in China's Yun-8 and Yun-9 aircraft.
In the civil aviation sector, "Jiaolong-600" has a strong capacity to carry out various special tasks including emergency rescue, forest firefighting and sea surveillance, and therefore it has great market potential. The 'Dragon 600' will be used for tasks such as emergency rescue and fighting forest fires. It will be able to take off on land or water and is expected to hold about 3,000 gallons of water or up to 50 passengers. Supposedly, it will be able to take off with waves up to three meters high. Its maximum speed will be about 348 mph and a range of of 3,200 miles. It will be a "scooper" and can be refilled in 20 seconds while skimming along on the surface of a lake.
In 1986 the turbo-fan powered A-40 amphibious aircraft, the largest in the world, made its maiden flight. Its sophistication was confirmed by 148 world records. The turbo-prop powered A-42 amphibian for patrol and search-rescue operations was designed on the basis of the A-40 amphibious aircraft. The Soviet Beriev Be-42 / A-40 Albatros / MERMAID was larger, with a amximum weight of 86,000 kg, a Wing Span of 41.62 meters, and a length of 43.80 meters. The aircraft is primarily used by the Russian Naval Aviation, but it is not in production.
In addition to taking off and landing like an ordinary plane, the AG600 can also take off and land from stretches of water that are at least 1,500 meters long, 200 meters wide and 2.5 meters deep. It is destined to become an important part of China's resources for dealing with emergencies. According to the original design, it can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, and transport up to 370 tonnes of water on a single tank of fuel. With excellent maneuverability and a relatively wide range of search scope, the AG600 is capable of rescuing up to 50 people far offshore. Besides, it is very useful in developing and exploiting marine resources, being adaptable to conduct marine environmental monitoring, resource detection and transportation.
The aircraft can also be used for ocean area surveillance. The JL-600 could perform rapid direct logistics and personnel support missions to distant South China Sea outposts that are usually surrounded by shallow waters. This requirement would increase should China expand number and size of its island outposts. The JL-600 could also perform long-range patrol, anti-submarine, anti-ship and mine-laying missions.
Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said the TA-600 would fill a vacancy of modern seaplanes in China, which has long ignored the development of such aircraft. "The old saying 'A thousand days the country nurtures its soldiers and all for one day's battle' applies to the development of amphibious aircraft. People say such equipment is becoming useless, but will eventually realize they are indispensable in maritime operations," Wang said, referring to the continuing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
"If the Chinese navy had such large, modern seaplanes as the TA-600, it would be much easier for it to search at sea," he said. Rescue agencies are among the largest operators of seaplanes due to their efficiency and their ability to both locate and rescue survivors of emergencies at sea. Land-based aircraft cannot rescue people, and many helicopters are limited in their capacity to carry passengers and in their fuel efficiency compared to fixed-wing aircraft, Wang said.
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