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Special planes : the Beriev-200 Firefighter.

by Elco B Tue Mar 14th, 2006 at 06:06:00 PM EST

Yes, this is about a Russian plane !

The Be-200 taking off......

This is my third post where planes are involved, hence the title 'Special planes'. I have other planes in mind , all with a particular significance. If you find this interesting, more posts will follow.
Now, why this Russian plane ?
There are several reasons, but first let's have a close look.

The Beriev Be-200 is an amphibious multirole turbofan aircraft designed by the Berieva Aviatsionnyi Kompaniya (Beriev Aviation Company), with the Russian Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association (IAPO) responsible for the production engineering development phase of the program. The first flight took place in 1998 and the aircraft was first seen in the west at the 1999 Paris Air Show(proudly showing Russian tricolor water shower).

This is a state of the art, robust, very modern plane as this photo of the cockpit shows :

Of course all technical data can be found on numerous sites, Wikepedia is a good start and also several video's of the plane in action.
This is a multipurpose plane.
But here are the most remarkable features:

  • Can, while gliding over water, scoop up 12 tons of it within 14 seconds.
  • Drops a full load of water within 1(one) second.
  • It can start, take-off and land on water.
  • In a fire-fighting mission, the fully fuelled aircraft can fly 200km from the airfield to a water reservoir, make successive trips between the site of the fire and the reservoir (over a range of 10km from the fire zone to the reservoir), to drop a total of 310,000kg of water on the fire and make the 200km return flight to the airfield for refuelling.
  • Cruising speed is 640km/h, range is more than 3000km.
  • Delivery of rescue team (up to 50 members) and SAR equipment to disaster area.
  • Delivery of primary necessity loads to disaster areas on ground or water.
  • Evacuation of casualties (up to 60) from the disaster area on ground or water.
  • Search and detection of the shipwreck location in an outlined sea area.

There are more features since the plane quickly can be changed between waterbomber, cargo , passenger and mixed configurations.No other plane in the world combines this possibilities.

Another remarkable fact: the designing, building, financing an marketing of the aircraft happens trough joint ventures : UK, French, Greek,Swiss JV's are created. In Toulouse (Airbus via EADS) they are contracting people to support European buyers of the Be-200.
At this moment , I couln't find information about sold plane's exept for those in Russia, but there were negotiations with France, Italy and Portugal.
Last year , Italy operated 2 leased planes to fight forest fires.
Since this is a rather large plane (full passenger capacity is 72) and expensive (around 35 milion euro). No country is going to buy a plane that will only be used during somer when the forest fires are raging.

And this is my point: Please let us hold that plane out of the hands of the military, they have already enough toys of their own.
If a European Civil Protection Service could buy , let's say  10 of those planes; we would have tremendous possibility's:

  • forest fire fighting all over Europe when needed.
  • Capacity to transport first aid where and when needed since the plane has the capacity, the speed and the range to accomplish this.
  • The planes would never be without work to do : when they are not needed in Europ they can do disaster-relief-work almost all over the world.

Voilà, it's of my chest.

Former 'Special planes' posts=
Terror Flights
Death from above.

Thank you for the reminder that Russia still produces some very technologically-advanced goods!

This being true, why would Aeroflot want to buy 22 American-made Boeing aircraft, if they can support domestic producers like Antonov, Ilyushin, Tupolev, or Yakovlev?  Especially when the Russian aerospace industry is contracting significantly.

by slaboymni on Wed Mar 15th, 2006 at 10:27:03 AM EST
Hm, why?

I know China bought Boeings to assuage Americans protesting the bilateral trade deficit. But what political motive could Putin (or whoever is behind the decision) have had?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Mar 15th, 2006 at 10:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the article above:

The government has promised to ease import restrictions on some Boeing and Airbus models after problems on one of Russia's Ilyushin passenger planes disrupted a trip by President Putin.

I really hope this is not the reason for the orders of Airbus and Boeing planes...

by slaboymni on Wed Mar 15th, 2006 at 10:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, Russians have a very good reputation concerning aircraft. Ironicly now NATO does most of his heavy lifting with the giant Russian Antonov's wich we see now on a regular basis on our western airports.

Aeroflot is bying Boeings because they will use them to fly to western country's. That way they have planes adopted technicely and meeting all the western standards. Russian planes have their own technology (navigation and so on..) that has to be changed to obtain internatinal homologation(=more expensive).
With western planes they also try to attract more western passengers.
But The main reason is financial: Russian air-industry was in big financial troubles in 1985-2000. Development and building aircraft demands huge financial investements which the Russians alone could not bring up. So we see a lot of joint-ventures be created between almost all Russian plane-builders and western companies like Boeing, Airbus and a lot of manufactures of electronics, navigation and other materials.
So parts of some Airbus en Boeing models are now in fact developed and manifactured in Russia. So bying Boeing is also supportive for Russian air-industry.
An example: for the Be-200-firefighter a UK-based firm developed the electronics to control all waterbombing actions (gps,glidepad,reference-point calculation.....)
That computer is programmed in ADA ; they found the programmers mastering ADA in Russia.
But later on I will write a diary about this, because we see a mounting concurrence between European and American interests in that particular Russian market.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Wed Mar 15th, 2006 at 11:24:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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