Russia’s arms exporter Rostec has proposed setting up a squadron of Be-200 amphibious aircraft for firefighting, especially abroad. It may include five Be-200’s on loan from the Ministry of Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM or Ministry for Extraordinary Situations or MCHS). EMERCOM has twelve of these amphibious aircraft out of which 7 are in flying condition. The remaining five which may be transferred to a new company will require upgrades and repairs.
As per the Russian news agency Tass, the chief executive of the state-run corporation Sergei Chemezov said that the commercial squadron may be formed under EMERCOM or the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) or a Joint venture between EMERCOM and UAC.
In June, Russia had dispatched two Beriev BE-200ES to Turkey to prevent spreading of fire in Antalya, Izmir, and Bodrum(two cities and a town) that were gripped with forest fires. As per UAC, these aircraft will be based in Turkey for four months. Previously, the BE-200’s have been used for firefighting in Russia’ Siberia, Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Greece and Israel.
Azerbaijan Ministry of Emergency Situations is the only other foreign government operating the BE-200 for firefighting. China has ordered two of these planes with an option of two more in the future.
Russia also plans to equip the BE-200 with the Russian PD-8 engine by 2023. The Be-200 currently flies with D-436 turbofan engine developed by the Ivchenko-Progress design house and manufactured by Motor-Sich, both under the arms exporter Ukroboronprom of Ukraine. While exports for the civilian purposes are allowed, Kyiv has banned military exports to Russia due to Donbas and Crimea issue.
Made by Beriev Aircraft Company, a part of the UAC, The Be-200ES is capable of landing on ice-covered airfields and water bodies. It is basically designed for firefighting but it can also be modified for transport, passengers, search-and-rescue and ambulance. The plane is capable of taking in up to 12.5 metric tons of water in few seconds while travelling over a water body before dropping the load on the flames.