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Beriev Be-200 Altair

Currently the largest amphibious aircraft in service is the jet powered Beriev A-40 (NATO reporting name: Mermaid), built by The Beriev Aircraft Company of Russia. It has a length of 47 meters and a wingspan of 42.5 meters and a maximum takeoff capacity of 86000 kg. The aircraft is primarily used by the Russian Naval Aviation.

Another notable aircraft built by The Beriev Aircraft Corporation is the Beriev Be-200. These aircraft are used mainly for transportation and for fire fighting. However there are not many variants of jet amphibious aircraft due to problem of water spraying up to the engines while landing and takeoff.

Beriev, a long-established designer, catered almost exclusively for military seaplanes and amphibians since its establishment in 1930 - the Be-32 is the first exception. However, the fall off in military budgets caused it to scale down its long-range naval patrol A-40 Albatross by a third and create the Be-200, a 64-passenger, twin-jet amphibian which is also offered as a fire fighter, air sea rescue or cargo aircraft. Financial problems delayed the first flight. Beriev saw a market for remote coastal services and expect "up to 500" to be sold, approximately two hundred of which should be domestic sales. Some interest was evident from Western countries which need fire fighting and coastal patrol aircraft.

This new plane was to be based on the A-40 Albatross military amphibian, a unique aircraft which was never brought into series production for lack of funds. For the civil machine is practically completely preserved aerodynamic and hydrodynamic layout A-40. At the same time the dimensions of the aircraft were considerably reduced. Specialists at the OKB conducted analysis of the tasks which can be solved by contemporary seaplanes both in Russia and abroad, showed that a similar amphibian should be made in the class of takeoff masses from 35 to 40 tons, i.e., it is twice easier than Albatros.

The plane is a monoplane with a swept wing, T-tail boat and the large transverse extension with variable deadrise. The crew consists of two pilots. A feature of the Be-200 in comparison with other amphibian is fully sealed fuselage, which allows the aircraft to perform a wide range of tasks. When creating an amphibious aircraft, the experience of the design and testing of a large jet amphibian A-40 "Albatros", which is set 148 world records.

The power plant of the basic version includes two turbojet engines D-436TP, are mounted above the wing root to protect the engine from water during takeoff and landing.

The basic configuration of the Be-200 amphibian aircraft was designed for suppressing forest fires by water or chemical retardants. While doing this, the aircraft can stop and restrain the spread of big forest fires by developing a protecting strip by means of multiple drops on the fire edge; extinguish small fires and fires that only start developing; deliver fire brigades and fire extinguishing equipment to the fire site by landing on appointed water area or airfield, and return to the base.

From the very beginning as one of the basic versions of the use of an amphibian was examined fire-prevention. B-200, the capable of assuming onboard to 12 cubic meters of water and 1.2 cubic meters of chemicals, can with one servicing with fuel drop to the center of fire from 150 to 260 t of liquid at removal to 600 km from the base (it is assumed that near the place of fire is a river or lake, machines suitable for the splashdown).

The Be-200 amphibian can scoop up to 12 tonnes of water in 14 seconds while gliding on a water surface. Alternatively, it can fill the tanks on the ground. The aircraft also carries tanks for fire-retarding chemical agents, with a total capacity of 1.2 m2. The aircraft can empty its tanks dropping water in a single salvo or in several consecutive drops.

Thanks to high speed the Be-200 is a highly efficient in terms of number of water drops per hour. In a firefighting mission, the fully fuelled aircraft can drop up to 270 tonnes of water making successive trips between the site of the fire and the reservoir (over a range of 10km from the fire zone to the reservoir) and the airfield and fire site over a range of 100 km. The Be-200s high rate of climb performance is a strong advantage in firefighting in a limited working area, for example in a mountain area, or in scooping/dropping water in an area with obstacles.

The Be-200ChS manufactured for the Russian Ministry for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM of Russia) was designed to fulfill the following tasks:

  • Firefighting;
  • Delivery of rescue teams, necessary equipment and cargo to disaster areas while landing on the nearest airfields or water areas ;
  • Evacuation of injured from the disaster area, search and rescue at sea;
  • Identification of emergency sites location;
  • Classification of localized targets (visually and by means of onboard equipment);
  • Transportation of fire brigades and cargoes.

The Be-200 search and rescue aircraft can loiter within two-hundred-mile zone for 6.5 hours. The aircraft equipment includes inflatable rubber dinghy, thermal-imaging and optical search aids, and first-aid means. The Be-200 aircraft in this modification can take up to 45 passengers aboard.

Variants were also developed for rescue and sanitary modification B-200[ChS] for the ministry for extraordinary situations, which transports up to 50 rescuers, 60 suffered on the folding seats or 30 victims on the stretchers, the passenger modification B-210 (to 72 passengers), business (to 12-18 people), cargo (on 6 t of load), cargo-passenger (to 19 passengers and 4 t of load) and patrol the versions of the amphibians, that have flying range from 900 to 4600 km.

A particular feature of the Be-200 aircraft, when compared with the other amphibians, is that it has fully pressurized fuselage, which allows to fulfill a lot of missions. The aircraft is fitted with flight/navigation and communication equipment allowing the navigation and flight control at all flight phases in adverse weather conditions at any season, day and night.

Be-200 will be equipped with the new avionics complex ARIA-200 which meets the requirements of ICAO category III of joint Russian-American production by ARIA JV (Allied Signal Aerospace, USA and NIIAO, Russia). The interior for the Be-200 amphibious aircraft firefighting configuration is developed by AIM Aviation Fliteform. Passenger and combi configurations are on the list as well. Be-200 aircraft can be used for transportation of cargoes in standard containers, on pallets, or loose. Flight range with 6.5-ton payload and 1-hour fuel reserve is 1250 km.

The Be-200 can operate from either class B airfields with a 1,800 m long runway or an area of open water not less than 2,300 m long and 2.6 m deep. The aircraft is capable to take off and land on water with waves of up to 1.2 m high. Dedicated anticorrosive measures provide for its operation in the open sea. Requiring only a 130 x 70 meters paved area ashore with a concrete slope to the water surface for its deployment, the Be-200 is ideal for remote coastal areas lacking adequate facilities.

At present, no life limitations for the Be-200 have been defined; it is operated in accordance with condition monitoring. Its specified lifetime is 30 years.

The Be-200 represents a principally new stage in hydro aircraft building. It has no competitors in Russia. And it is likely that after the Be-200s international certification, it will have no rivals in the world. The machine is very is whimsical. The landing speed is very high, and pilots must be careful to not get a dynamic kick. In addition, UPS and plantings require too much fue. The Be-200 carries a good quality of water, in the amount up to 12 M3/m, but this is less than twice that carried by the Canadian turboprop amphibious CL-315, with much higher fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

Beriev Aircraft Company GM Beriev performs adaptation amphibious aircraft Be-200 based on the requirements of the Air Force and the Indian Navy to patrol and search and rescue operations at sea. One of the directions of such work is the cooperation with the Italian company SELEX Galileo, installation search and sighting system ATOS (Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance Systems) developed and manufactured by the company on the board of the Be-200.

Another trend in the improvement of on-board equipment of the Be-200 is an installation in the cockpit-Be-200 amphibious information display system drivers on the windshield of the company SAAB. In addition, the on-board video camera installed control the optical range, but above the windscreen mounted infrared camera with which information is also displayed on the windshield in front of the pilot.

Such a system has already been tested on an experimental amphibious aircraft Be-200 and can be installed on request, both under construction, and the serial amphibians are already in operation.

Beriev Aircraft Company static test lab have two instances of the Be-200 - and a static resource, and the country's only flight simulator crew aircraft Be-200ES. It is designed and manufactured by experts Beriev Aircraft Company, in collaboration with the company "Transas", has a modern projection system imaging behind the cockpit environment and the most plausible simulates amphibian controls in flight and in dealing with fire-fighting tasks. In this simulator are training and training all pilots of aircraft EMERCOM of Russia and Azerbaijan, flying in the Be-200ES aircraft.

Be-300 "land" aircraft

It is important that already assembled in the workshops of Beriev Aircraft Company to build the slipway amphibian Be-200 and are suitable for the construction of "land" aircraft Be-300. According to Victor Kobzev, both machines are unified at 75-85%: by and large, the Be-300 is different from the Be-200 amphibious only contours of the bottom of the fuselage, which is carried out not in the form of a boat, and has the usual "airplane" form. Due to the legacy of the Be-200 scheme with top engines, the Be-300 can successfully operate from unpaved airfields, solving a wide range of problems in regions with poorly developed airfield infrastructure.



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