Beriev Be-200

Beriev Be-200
Beriev Be-200 of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. In operation in 2010 Mount Carmel fire in Israel
Beriev Be-200 of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. In operation in 2010 Mount Carmel fire in Israel

Role Multirole amphibian
Type : Twin-jet amphibian
First flight : 24 September 1998
Status : operational
Primary users : EMERCOM
Introduced : 2003
Unit cost : ~25 million US$
Number built : 9

Beriev Be-200 taking off
Beriev Be-200 taking off

The cockpit of the Beriev Be-200
The cockpit of the Beriev Be-200

The Beriev Be-200 Altair is a russian built multipurpose amphibian aircraft. The aircraft was designed by the Beriev Aircraft Company and was built by Irkut. The Beriev Be-200 is intended to serve as a fire fighting, search and rescue, maritime patrol and even passenger transport aircraft. It can carry up to 12 tonnes (12 000 litres, 3 170 gallons) of water or 72 passengers.

The name of the aircraft (Altair) was chosen because "Al" is the first part of the name of the Beriev A-40 Albatross another amphibious aircraft which served as a basis for the development of the Beriev 200, "ta" is for Taganrog - the home city of of the Beriev design bureau and "ir" stands for Irkutsk - home of the aircraft builder Irkut. Altair is also the name of the alpha star in the Eagle constellation.


The Beriev Be-200 project was started in 1989 with the purpose of building a water bomber for the Russian Government which approved the project on 8 December 1990. The design team was spearheaded by Alexander Yavkin. One year later at the Paris Air Show the project was made public and a model was displayed at the show. The full scale mockup was constructed by Beta Air.

The Beriev Aviation Company was in charge of the design of the Beriev Be-200 together with the Russian Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association, which is currently part of the Irkut Corporation. While Beriev did the development, design and documentation, the testing of the prototypes, the certification and the support of production models the Irkut Corporation was assigned the production preparation, manufacture of tooling, production of the four prototypes and the production aircraft and the spare parts. Currently both companies are part of the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation

According to initial plans the first flight from land of the Be-200 should have occurred in 1997 but due to various delays the maiden flight took place on 24 September 1998. In order to perform a take off from water the aircraft was transferred from Irkuts to Taganrog after it flew an initial 26 and half hours. Shortly after being transferred the Be-200 performed its first take off from water on 10 September 1999 in Taganrog. Three years later on 27 August 2002 the second Be-200 took off and performed its maiden flight. This was a Be-200ES with custom fittings to the specifications of the model's launch customer EMERCOM - the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Worldwide marketing efforts

The aircraft was presented at several large exhibitions in 2001-2002 in order to demonstrate its capabilities to potential customers. The first such exhibition was the International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition LIMA'01 in Malaysia and the second was the Korean Aerospace and Defence Exhibition KADE'01 in South Korea (both in 2001). In 2002 the demonstration aircraft flew over 7600 km in Europe and performed 15 demonstration flights in an effort to promote the aircraft to potential customers in France and Greece.

Cooperation with EADS

In May 2002 Irkut and EADS signed a memorandum of understanding to carry out a joint market study and to define the conditions and costs of international certification of the Beriev Be-200. The agreement also included plans for worldwide after-sales service. This cooperation between Irkut and EADS resulted in a study that was completed in July 2003 and which concluded that there could be a potential market for about 320 aircraft over the next 20 years.

The Beriev Be-200RR

Irkut and EADS together with Rolls Royce Deutschland planned to obtain Western certification of the Beriev Be-200 and also planned to offer a version with Rolls Royce BR715 engine for these markets. This version received the designation Be-200RR. The plans included converting of the original Be-200 prototype (RF-21511) to a Be-200RR prototype.


The first production aircraft performed its first flight on 17 June 2003 and it was delivered to EMERCOM on 31 July 2003. Out of the seven aircraft ordered by EMERCOM, five have been delivered to the customer in the initial years of production with the remaining aircraft to be delivered by 2008. EMERCOM had also 8 additional options for the aircraft.

European certification

The fifth production airframe was used for European certification. This process was expected to be concluded by 2008. However the aircraft was certified by EASA on 7 September 2010.

A pair of Beriev Be-200
A pair of Beriev Be-200


The Beriev Be-200 is a multirole aircraft. It can be configured either as an amphibious water drop fire-fighting aircraft, either as a freighter or a passenger aircraft with a pressurized cabin and a capacity of 72 passengers.


The aircraft was designed with some unique fire-fighting equipment which allows it to scoop water while skimming the surface at a speed that is roughly 90-95% of the takeoff speed of the aircraft. The development of this system used a modified Be-12P, coded '12 Yellow' which served as a development platform for both the fire-fighting system and the methods of operation. This aircraft which was given the designation Be-12P-200 was later registered as RA-00046.

Operational Service


From 20 August 2004 until 30 September 2004 a Be-200ES was deployed to Sardinia, Italy and it was operated by SOREM, the official operator of fire-fighting equipment for the Italian Civil Defense Department (Protezione Civile). The aircraft was flown by a joint Russian-Italian flight crew and performed more then 100 flights (90 hours flown). This is the first documented operational use of the Beriev Be-200. During the deployment the aircraft extinguished 4 forest fires and dropped more then 324 tons of water.


In August 2016 Portugal requested assistance in helping forest fires. As a result two Beriev Be-200's with crews from the Russian Emergencies Ministry were dispatched to Portugal. During their deployment they prevented fire from spreading in the direction of two settlements - Castro Laboreiro with a population of 1,000 people and Viaden de Baixo.


In the period between June 2020 and October 2020 the Be200ESs were used in more then 200 fire fighting missions in Turkey 1


Flag of Russia Russia

Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan


  • Be-200 - Basic multirole model
  • Be-200ChS (Бе-200ЧС) or Be-200ES (Emergency Services) - Multirole aircraft specially customized for the needs of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations
  • Be-200E - English cockpit version of the Be-200ES
  • Be-200RR - Proposed Rolls-Royce engined variant.
  • Be-210 - Proposed Passenger only model
  • Be-220 - Proposed maritime patrol variant.




China ordered 4 Beriev Be-200's during the Zhuhai Airshow.


The first production Beriev Be-200 had its maiden flight on 17 June 2003 and was delivered to EMERCOM on 31 July 2003. A total of seven aircraft have been ordered by EMERCOM.


General characteristics

Crew: 2
Length: 32.0 m (105 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 32.8 m (107 ft 7 in)
Height: 8.9 m (29 ft 2 in)
Wing area: 117.4 m² (1,264 ft²)
Empty weight: 27,600 kg (60,850 lb)
Max Take Off Weight (Land): 41,000 kg (90,390 lb)
Max Take Off Weight (Water): 37,900 kg (83,550 lb)
Max Capacity (Water or Retardant): 12,000 kg (26,450 lb)
Max Capacity (Cargo): 7,500 kg (16,530 lb)
Max Capacity (Passengers): 44 (Be-200ES) 72 (Be-210)
Powerplant: 2 × Progress D-436TP turbofans, 7,500 kgf (16,534 lbf) each


Maximum speed: 700 km/h (435 mph)
Cruise speed: 560 km/h (348 mph)
Economy speed: 550 km/h (342 mph)
Landing speed: 200 km/h (124 mph)
Takeoff speed: 220 km/h (137 mph)
Minimum speed (Flaps 38°): 157 km/h (98 mph)
Range: 2,100 km (1,305 mi)
Ferry range (One Hour Reserve): 3,300 km (2,051 mi)
Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,246 ft)
Rate of climb: 13 m/s (2,600 ft/min) (At Sea Level and MTOW-Flaps 20°)
Rate of climb: 17 m/s (3,350 ft/min) (At Sea Level and MTOW-Flaps 0°)


ARIA 200-M integrated avionics system.

Further reading

List of seaplanes and amphibious aircraft

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