Beriev Sells Flying Boats to China; Tries Again for EASA Ticket

 - September 6, 2013, 10:55 AM
A model of the Beriev Be-200c3 amphibian attracts attention at the Moscow Air Show last week. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

Beriev expects negotiations for licensed production of the Beriev Be-103 and Be-200 amphibians in China to be completed by year-end, the company’s general manager, Victor Kobzev, told AIN. Meanwhile, the company will resubmit the 42-metric-ton-mtow Be-200 twinjet to the European Aviation Safety Agency for certification. At the MAKS 2013 Moscow Air Show last week, Rostec subsidiary KRET (Russian acronym for Radio-electronics Technologies Concern) showed reworked avionics, including some already installed in a Be-200SE-E on the static display.

Although the EASA issued a restricted type certificate for the Be-200SE-E in November 2010, it presented Beriev with a list of required improvements. KRET deputy general manager for strategic planning and defense orders Andrei Tyulin hopes that the improved version of the Be-200 will comply fully with European safety standards. Once the aircraft meets those standards, the current flight envelope limitations can be lifted, paving the way for possible sales to European customers.

Kobzev said that series production of the Be-200 has been resumed at the new location in Taganrog, where the assembly line was moved in 2008 from IAZ in Irkutsk.

Russia’s Ministry for Emergencies has ordered eight aircraft to complement the six it already operates. The defense ministry awarded Beriev a contract worth Rouble 8.4 billion ($267 million) for six aircraft in April this year and is considering follow-on orders. “We will have first airframe of the new batch assembled by the year-end,” Kobzev added. The defense ministry is likely to order many more than the initial six, he added.

China has “long been asking us for Be-103 production rights,” Kobzev said, adding that he expects a deal for this light, twin-engine utility amphibian to be concluded soon.

But the matter of the Be-200 is more complicated, he added. Russia is insisting that China commit to taking a worthwhile number of assembly kits before it will issue license-production rights. Should the Chinese assembly line be established, the annual Be-200 production rate could reach 12. Kobzev declined to identify potential Chinese sub-assembly structures for the Be-200.

Earlier media reports said that the People’s Liberation Army was seeking to procure 10 aircraft for naval aviation units in search-and-rescue and maritime patrol versions, and the Forestry Service 12 aircraft for firefighting duties. Even though Chinese manufacturers produce similar designs of their own, the performance and quality of their products do not satisfy the customers, Kobzev claimed.