Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW

The already crowded international calendar of air shows has received another addition - and Beriev has rolled out its Be-200 twin-turbofan amphibian from the IAPO factory in Irkutsk, even though the aircraft is probably six months away from a first flight.

Originally, the multi-role Be-200 had been expected to have its debut at the Ghelendjik hydro-aviation show held between 24-29 September near the Russian port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea. In the event the programme has slipped so far behind schedule that the aircraft was rolled out purely to allow photographs to be available at the show.

Beriev and Irkutsk officials say that the Be-200 will have its maiden flight early in 1997, although those with more conservative opinions believe that the flight will not take place before April.

The aircraft, which has fire fighting as its main role, is powered by two ZMKB Progress D-436T turbofans

Despite the non-appearance of the Be-200, some 86 exhibitors, mostly from Russia and the CIS, but including several foreign companies, presented flying boats, naval and maritime aircraft and their systems to about 80,000 visitors during the week.

Russian industry in general, and Beriev in particular, is the world leader in amphibian design as demonstrated by the Beriev A-40, which was on show, and the Be-200, which was not.

The Russian design bureau, which is offering its Ghelendjik flight-test base for hire by other Russian and foreign companies, demonstrated a Beriev Be-12P-200, a flying test bed for the development of a water-scooping and bombing system for the Be-200.

Fire-fighting capabilities were high on the list of priorities for several exhibitors. As well as the fixed-wing water-bombers, the Mil Mi-26 and Kamov Ka-32 helicopters were also used for a series of demonstrations. Mil also displayed the Mi-14 amphibian in a sea-rescue role and in a new passenger configuration.

Lack of financing hinders further development of Beriev A-40 Albatross, according to company officials at the show, although Col Gen Vladimir Deineka, the commander of the Russian Naval Aviation service, says that the service needs 60 such amphibians, 20 in sea-rescue and 40 in anti-submarine configurations.

Deineka acknowledges that, with the resignation of Gen Pavel Grachev from the post of Russia's defence minister, the A-40D programme, the Albatross' further development, has lost the support of the ministry of defence.

Beriev and the Zaporozhye Progress engine design bureau showed a model and artist's impression of an A-45 amphibian close in overall layout to the A-40, but powered by two D-27 propfans mounted above the wing.

This project, however, is even less likely to obtain financing than is the continuation of the A-40 development.

The only debut at Ghelendjik was of the Beriev Be-103 light-utility amphibian, which has a take-off weight of 1,650kg. The four- to five-seat aircraft is powered by two OKBM Voronezh M-17 piston engines rated at 112kW (150hp) each. Performance is estimated as 144kt (266km/h) maximum cruise speed and 500km (925nm) range with 375kg payload.

The first flight is expected early in 1997. Beriev hopes to sell the aircraft in the CIS and is also aiming for sales abroad.



Source: Flight International