Be-200: Does anyone need a unique Russian airplane

The story of the Be-200 amphibious aircraft is very similar to many others with the participation of new Russian models equipment.

Long take off

The history of this unusual aircraft was developed in 1992, when it was decided by Decree of the Government of July 17, 1992 No. 497 to begin work on a new amphibian. There were many potential tasks for the brainchild of the Beriev Design Bureau: it was putting out fires, and conducting search and rescue operations, and monitoring missions and much more. In other words, Russia was supposed to get a modern multifunctional complex, which had all chances to arouse interest both within the country and outside it.

Not every aircraft can be taught to “work” equally well both from airfields and from water bodies. At the same time, in terms of aerodynamic quality, the new machine was practically not inferior to "land" aircraft of a similar class. The first flight of the Be-200 completed in 1998. It is appropriate to say about one important detail: for all its merits, the Be-200 can only be arbitrarily called “new”, because the de facto machine became a further evolution of the Soviet A-40 Albatros amphibian, which made its first flight back in 1986. Its maximum speed is 800 kilometers per hour, and the combat load (torpedoes, mines, depth charges) reached a solid 6500 kilograms. The Soviet project was closed in 2012: by then only two Albatrosses had been built. However, subsequently the issue of replacing the very old Be-12 anti-submarine aircraft became even more acute, so I had to return to the project.

The Be-200 also faced serious obstacles in life, which often turned everyone upside down. And, what is most unpleasant, they prevented full-fledged serial production: until now, the machine was produced in piece quantities.

Let's take a closer look at the situation. In the 90s, the project developed very rapidly, oddly enough, due to the difficult economic situation inside the country. The plane, for example, was shown in 1999 at an exhibition in the French Le Bourget, where it was a success. The machine then successfully completed demonstration flights with the discharge of six tons of water. In total, by the end of October 1999, the aircraft completed about 80 test flights.

In 2008, the production of the Be-200 had to be transferred from the Irkutsk Aviation Plant to the Taganrog TANTK them. G.M. Berieva. The difficulties associated with the “relocation” were exacerbated by another unpleasant moment: by the time the production was launched in Taganrog, the on-board electronics had become pretty outdated, so engineers had to create new systems and subsystems for the aircraft. However, the difficulties were not unsolvable. In May 2016, the Taganrog Plant rolled out the first serial Be-200ES for the Ministry of Emergencies.

Now the pilots have received the ARIA-200 flight and navigation system, which allows you to simultaneously solve several problems. Designers also significantly increased the glider. The maximum speed of a flying boat is 700 kilometers per hour, and the practical range is 3100 kilometers. The aircraft can take on board up to 64 people.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry is most interested in the machine: as recent events have shown, there really is a lot of potential work for him. Therefore, until 2024 TANTK them. G.M. Berieva must deliver to the department a batch of 24 new cars, which, in turn, opens up new opportunities for the aircraft.

Amphibian for export

Widespread domestic exploitation will invariably attract interest from potential foreign buyers. Previously, several cars were ordered by China, Indonesia and Chileans. The most important event for the export promotion of the aircraft is the recent approval of a draft contract with the US company Seaplane Global Air Services for the supply of ten Be-200ES in the United States. Russia plans to start deliveries in 2021. This is a definite success for Russian aircraft manufacturers: it is not often possible to see a domestic winged car in the American sky.

However, experts believe that the Be-200 can achieve real success only after the development of new areas and, obviously, difficulties can arise here. The Asian market itself and the market of the countries of the so-called “third world” are very wide, but competition has sharply increased in recent years. So, the Japanese several years ago lifted the ban on the export of military equipment and dual-use products. And the amphibian manufacturing company Shin Maiwa obtained permission from the Ministry of Defense to export the ShinMaywa US-2 aircraft, the tasks for which overlap with those of the Be-200.

An even greater threat is China, which will soon become the main competitor for the entire Russian aircraft industry and the military-industrial complex. The Chinese are now actively promoting the latest heavy four-engine amphibian amphibian AG600 "Jiaolong". It is capable of collecting 12 tons of water on board in 20 seconds and is described as "the world's largest amphibious aircraft" in a number of media.

Despite the fact that the machine completed its first flight in 2017, China is already doing everything possible to promote it to the markets as efficiently as possible. And the gap between the Be-200 and the AG600 will gradually narrow.

Earlier, there was also information that Turkey could buy a car. At least, according to Turkish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli, the Turks will consider Russia's proposal for the supply of Be-200. But this, you need to understand, is simply a consequence of the successfully developed for Russia political situations where Turkey has become a situational ally (for how long?). Recall that the conflict between the West and Erdogan has already “cut off” the wings for the Turkish Air Force: apparently, Ankara will not receive the new F-35s.

The Be-200 itself has enough difficulties. Suffice it to say that the car still flies on Ukrainian D-436TP engines. Previously, they considered replacing them with the Franco-Russian SaM146 - the same one that is installed on the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 and which is often criticized by Russian patriots. “We are working with the UEC in this direction (to abandon the Ukrainian engines - ed.), Work is ongoing,” said Yuri Grudinin, general director of PJSC Il, earlier on the sidelines of the Le Bourget air show this year.

However, then it became known about the revision of earlier plans. “SaM146 has now a little delayed the program. Now we are supplying 436 engines (Ukrainian D-436TP - ​​ed.), ”Said the head of Ila.

Thus, a very interesting and complex picture emerges, in which the fate of the Be-200 rests largely on the Ukrainian “engines”. But Russia has every opportunity for the plane to declare itself loudly. Whatever the competition in the market, it is much less fierce than, say, competition for the market for narrow-body passenger aircraft, where, due to the presence of a Boeing and an Airbus, Russia most likely has nothing to do. In general, the development of niche directions could become a lifeline for the Russian aircraft industry: the state will not be able to subsidize it forever.
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  1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 22 September 2019 12: 05
    The car is beautiful. But as often happens - bullshit with promotion.

    According to the article - there are no engines and competitors just began to promote a similar one.

    We are late
  2. Georgievic Offline Georgievic
    Georgievic (Georgievic) 22 September 2019 19: 37
    Now, if the head of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Russian Federation were a human species like L. Beria instead of the empty-headed Medvedev, then in a couple of years would create several institutes for the development of aircraft engines, a couple of new factories for the production of engines of all types and there would not be this tyagomotina with engines. Well, obviously, enemies are sitting in the Cabinet !!!
  3. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker 23 September 2019 10: 18
    For something to change, you need to change something. Putin has been ruling for 20 years, and we are all waiting for change.
  4. sgrabik Offline sgrabik
    sgrabik (Sergei) 23 September 2019 13: 46
    No matter how excellent airplanes we create, but without their own Russian aircraft engines, they have practically no chance of large-scale production, therefore the most important task facing the Russian aviation industry is the speedy creation and quick launch of a wide range of modern and absolutely competitive aircraft engines, who will be able to satisfy all the needs of our aircraft industry for the future, without successfully solving this most important task, we are our aviation industry not be able to create a simple, and very ashamed to depend on anyone else in this critically important for our country as a field of aircraft engine.
    1. Legate Offline Legate
      Legate (Ilya) 23 September 2019 18: 19
      and it’s extremely embarrassing to depend on anyone else in such a critical area for our country as aircraft engine building

      Airbus is not ashamed to buy American engines for its A320neo. And this does not prevent the company from being a de facto world leader in civilian aircraft manufacturing.
      1. molotkov60mkpu Offline molotkov60mkpu
        molotkov60mkpu (Yuri) 23 September 2019 21: 46
        The sanctions have not taught you anything. It’s just that we don’t block the cranes to anyone, and others don’t hesitate to hook them on components, and then either blackmail or disrupt supplies. And the law will be accepted. They are always in the legal field, even creative lawlessness. So cooperation with the West is not about us.
        1. Legate Offline Legate
          Legate (Ilya) 24 September 2019 20: 24
          Interesting. And how do you propose to catch them without cooperation with the most technologically advanced countries of the world?
          1. Don36 Offline Don36
            Don36 (Don36) 26 September 2019 08: 29
            And how did normal people do it and do it? They are buying up machines, technologies, stupidly copying something, looking at something - modernizing it, and doing it better at home than there .... Does the example of Japan and China teach you anything? And the example of the USSR, which in its best years was far from so backward as any crooks like Chubais, who himself is far from being a creator, want to put him ...
      2. yury semru Offline yury semru
        yury semru (yury semru) 13 October 2019 13: 24
        That they did not cooperate with the Ukrainians! Those would quickly show them how they throw partners.
  5. molotkov60mkpu Offline molotkov60mkpu
    molotkov60mkpu (Yuri) 23 September 2019 21: 31
    We will not touch pests in the government. Liberalism is a sacred cow that prohibits the development of production. But we must overcome these difficulties and produce an airplane. Yes, and compete in the global market. But plants cannot be built and banks cannot be credited with production, only financial operations are possible. And it is impossible to touch the liberals in the government, even at the cost of juvenility, the destruction of science, education, medicine, and the family.
    1. Don36 Offline Don36
      Don36 (Don36) 26 September 2019 08: 25
      But these are not liberals, but Russophobes and enemies of the people and the state ... When it comes to their selfish interests, they are far from liberals.
  6. Don36 Offline Don36
    Don36 (Don36) 26 September 2019 08: 24
    First of all, the Be-200 is not needed by the enemies of the Russian Federation, both external and internal ... and the Russian Federation itself is very necessary. It could replace, for example, the extremely worn out antediluvian Be-12s, and partly no less ancient and worn out IL-38s.