The AG600 is superior to the Russian Be-200 in a number of parameters
Amphibious aircraft are rare and expensive. In this niche, Russia has always had a leading role: in fact, the leader of the global market for heavy amphibians is the Russian Be-200 aircraft from TANTK im. G.M. Beriev. But the Chinese have a formidable rival on the way called the AG600M “Kunlun”. This aircraft will surpass the Be-200 in a number of parameters.
The Chinese already have four prototypes of the AG600M (this is an aircraft of their own design): the project has reportedly now entered the stage of intensive test flights. This stage is an important step towards obtaining a type certificate: it is expected to be issued before the end of 2024.
The AG600M is powered by four Dongan WJ-6 turboprop engines. The maximum take-off weight of the AG600M is 60 tons versus 43 tons for the Be-200. There is parity in water capacity (up to 12 tons for both the AG600M and the Be-200), but the “Chinese” has an advantage in flight range: 4.5 thousand km versus 3.1 thousand km for the Be-200. The AG600M can fly at low altitude at low speed, allowing it to more accurately drop water on fires.