The Russian defense ministry awarded TANTK Beriev a contract worth Rouble 8.408 billion (U.S.$267 million) for six Be-200 amphibian jets. The first two airplanes delivered in 2014-16 will be the factory-standard Be-200ChS version (the ChS suffix is the Russian acronym for Emergency Situations). The other four will be Be-200PS search-and-rescue versions. The Russian MoD signaled its intent to place a follow-on order for eight more aircraft after this initial contract is fulfilled.
Since 1998, when the type took to the air for the first time, nine Be-200s have been completed–all at the IAZ plant in Irkutsk–including one development prototype and eight ChS aircraft. Six of these went to Russia’s Ministry for Emergencies, and one to Azerbaijan. The remaining two airplanes are with the developer, and sometimes perform firefighting and SAR services under contract.
The MoD announced its intent to procure Be-200s last year. At that time the contract was said to be for eight aircraft, including two configured for special missions. However, the contract signing was delayed and its terms revised following the departure of the previous minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, who was replaced by Sergei Shoigu.
The ChS version is configured to transport rescue teams and their cargoes. It can carry up to 12 metric tons (26,455 pounds) of water in its inner tanks, either from an aerodrome source or on a scooping run, for subsequent dropping onto a fire. This version has additional tanks to carry chemicals for suppressing flames. The detailed specifications for the four PS-configuration aircraft that will be delivered later have not yet been made public. The MoD intends to employ its PS aircraft as a replacement for the long-serving Be-12 flying boats, on ship rescue missions and also on maritime patrol missions.
The second proposed batch of Be-200s are expected to have a far more “militarized” configuration. They will carry powerful sensors, such as side-looking radar and ASW equipment, which is expected to raise the empty equipped weight. To handle an increase in maximum takeoff weight from the current 92,600 pounds, relative to the current production platform, engine makers Ivchenko Progress and Motor Sich are working on a more powerful engine: the D436FM. Compared with the current D436DP, its maximum thrust will be boosted from 7.5 metric tons (16,534 pounds) to 8.2 metric tons (18,078 pounds).