Maiden Flight of the First Beriev Be-200ES Amphibious Aircraft
The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has announced the successful maiden flight of the first Beriev Be-200ES amphibious aircraft destined to serve the Russian Navy.
The flight took place on February 14, from the Taganrogskiy Aviationnyy Nauchno-Teknicheskiy Kompleks (TANTK/Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex) – a facility of Beriev.
Sporting a new black and blue colour scheme at the wishes of the Russian Navy, the aircraft – registration RF-88450 (c/n 64620090311) ‘20 Yellow’ – will be transferred to the Russian Ministry of Defence after completing a programme of presentation and acceptance tests.
In May 2013, Russia’s defence ministry ordered six Be-200s in a deal worth 8.4bn rubles (US$268m). The first two will be basic Be-200ES (Be-200ChS) and will include a firefighting function. The remaining four will be Be-200PS variants which will lack the aerial firefighting capability. In service, the aircraft will have multiple roles, including search and rescue (SAR), maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and cargo/passenger transport.
As a firefighter, the civilian/paramilitary Be-200ChS can carry 26,455lb (12,000kg) of water in eight tanks under the cabin floor. The load can be dropped in a single salvo within one second, via doors in the hull. For SAR operations, the basic military aircraft is equipped with the Airborne Observation System (AOS) from Israel Aerospace Industries’ Tamam Division, including a thermal TV turret installed under the wing; it is also capable of carrying up to 57 survivors/passengers in seats or up to 30 stretcher patients.
The Be-200 will replace the Russian Navy’s ageing fleet of Beriev Be-12 turboprop-powered amphibious aircraft, which entered service in 1963. The service currently operates seven Be-12s from a total of 136 delivered.
Beriev delivered a sixth and final Be-200ChS from the most recent Ministry of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief of the Russian Federation (MChS Rossii or EMERCOM) order from its Taganrog production facility early last year. Handover of the aircraft, RF-31390 (c/n 03-08), was announced by United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) on February 27 that year. Including six deliveries under an earlier contract, this brought total Be-200ChS deliveries to EMERCOM to 12.
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