TYPE: Twin-jet amphibian.

PROGRAMME: Initiated 1989 under design leadership of Alexander Yavkin. Russian government approval for purpose-designed water bomber granted 8 December 1990. Details announced, and model displayed, at 1991 Paris Air Show; full-scale mockup constructed 1991; development by Beta Air (Betair: Beriev taganrog irkutsk) consortium, formed 27 November 1991 from Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association (53.5 per cent), Beriev OKB (20.5 per cent), ILTA Trade Finance SA of Geneva, Switzerland (5 per cent) and the Ukrainian bank Prominvest (15 per cent) plus unidentified partner(s) (6 per cent); included in Civil Aviation Development Programme and state forestry protection programme. Named Altair in February 2002.
Beriev responsible for development, design and documentation: systems bench-testing; static-, flight- and fatigue-testing of prototypes; certification and design support of serial production. Irkut duties comprise production preparation: manufacture of tooling; production of four prototypes and series aircraft; and spare parts manufacture. In May 2002, EADS signed joint marketing agreement with IAPO. Initial production and certification supported by Alenia of Italy under USD1.6 million programme financed by European Union. In March 2003, agreement reached on transfer of production to Beriev plant at Taganrog and in following June, EADS, Rolls-Royce Deutschland and Irkut study revealed potential market for 320 BR715-engined Altairs over 20 years, leading to decision to launch this variant.
First prototype (001) rolled out 11 September 1996, at Irkutsk; first flight scheduled 1997, but eventually achieved (from land) 24 September 1998; ‘official’ first flight 17 October 1998; aircraft transferred from Irkutsk to Taganrog (by then with 19 sorties and 26½ flying hours) on 27 April 1999 to begin certification trials, including water drops; exhibited at Paris (by then registered RA-21511) June 1999; first water landings and take-offs, 10 September 1999. Total 80 sorties, including 18 from water, by November 1999, when water operations ceased for winter. Experimental category certification achieved March 2000. Awarded limited category AP-25 certification for firefighting operations 10 August 2001, by which time had flown 337 sorties (100 from water) and achieved 202 flying hours. Second phase of testing begun October 2001 to certify patrol and passenger operations using BR715 engines, although most of that month occupied by a nine-country Far East sales tour. Prototype had accumulated 650 hours in nearly 600 sorties (216 from water) by May 2002. Demonstrated on Lake Sevan, Armenia. 15 August 2002; set six FAI climb-with-payload records in hydroplane class, 7 September 2002.
Second flying prototype (003) in firefighting configuration (Be-200ChS). Two test airframes, of which first ferried from Irkutsk to Taganrog by An-124 in March 1995, followed by second in 1997; these, respectively, static test (SI: staticheskiye ispytaniya) and fatigue test (RI: resursnye ispytaniya). Four production aircraft (0101 to 0104) in hand by late 1998; fifth was taking shape in early 2002. On original schedule, second prototype was due for delivery in late 1999 to Russian Emergencies Ministry. Repeated delays resulted in first flight (003/RA-21512) on 27 August 2002, following which it was exhibited at Gelendzhik Gidroavia Salon, 4 to 8 September 2002. Firefighting contract in Italy between 6 July and 17 September 2005 involving 63 sorties (including positioning), 435 scoops and drops totalling 3,500 tonnes, and 150 hours of flying.
First production aircraft (0101/RA-21515) rolled out 26 May and first flew 17 June 2003; Be-200 restricted type certificate issued by Interstate Aviation Committee on 20 June 2003; RA-21515 delivered to MChS 31 July 2003 and based at Zhukovsky, taking part in MAKS '03 air show in following month. Full certificate issued 29 December 2003. Second production aircraft (0102/RA-32516) began land taxying trials on 26 February 2004 and delivered 26 May 2004. Zhukovsky detachment declared operational 21 June 2004. Third delivery (0201/RA-32517; first with IAI/Tamam AOS TV/IR sensor) effected 15 July 2005 (later re-registered RA-32767) and further pairs due in both 2006 and 2007 for total of seven. Initial two machines upgraded to full standard with some 300 modifications, first being redelivered on 1 April 2005.
Avionics development and scoop trials for water bomber version being undertaken by the Beriev Be-12P-200/Be-128 testbed since August 1996. TANTK also produced four Be-12Ps (Pozharnyi: firefighting) for concept and tactics development and two Be-12NKh (Narodno-Khozyaistvennyi: National Economy) general purpose versions, both of which lost in 1994.

CURRENT VERSIONS: Firefighting: TsENTROSPAS/MChS designation Be-200ChS: Tanks under cabin floor of centre-fuselage, capacity 12 m³ (423 cu ft) water; six tanks in cabin for 1.2 m³ (42 cu ft) liquid chemicals; two retractable water scoops forward of step, two aft; 30 fully equipped smoke jumpers can be carried on seats along sidewalls of cabin, with jump-door at rear of cabin on starboard side; 12 tonnes of water scooped from seas in 14 seconds at speeds up to 103 kt (190 km/h; 118 mph).
Fully fuelled, Be-200 can drop total 310,000 kg (683,420 lb) of water in successive flights when airfield to reservoir distance is 108 n miles (200 km; 125 miles) and reservoir to fire zone distance is 5.4 n miles (10 km; 6.2 miles); or 140,000 kg (308,640 lb) when distances are respectively 108 n miles (200 km; 125 miles) and 27 n miles (50 km; 31 miles). Tank emptying time 0,8 to 1,0 second; average dropping speed 119 kt (220 km/h; 137 mph); minimum height 50 m (165 ft). Tanks quickly removable when aircraft carries freight. Flight deck and cargo hold sealed against smoke ingress. ARIA-200M avionics features include water source/drop zone track memory, automatic glideslope and digital flight deck/ground fire crew communications. Also outfitted for SAR, with equipment including Orion 25S inflatable boat, naval radios, 600 W loudspeaker and searchlight, storage for 20 inflatable rafts and two four-seat motorboats, observer's station, 57 seats and attachment for 30 litters.
In 2004, Irkut was promoting a firefighting package of Be-200 assisted by fire reconnaissance Aeronautics Aerostar UAV supplied by Israeli manufacturer.
Cargo: Payload 7,500 kg (16,534 lb) in unobstructed cabin 17.00 m (55 ft 9 in) long, 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) wide and 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in) high accommodating nine PA 1.5 pallets or seven LD3 containers.
Ambulance: Two flight crew, seven seated casualties/medical personnel, intensive care equipment and 30 stretchers in three tiers.
Patrol: Paramilitary version for possible use of Russian Frontier Guards revealed to be under development in early 2002.
Be-200PS: Search and rescue. Provisions included in Be-200ChS described above. Able to loiter for 6 h 30 min at up to 200 n miles (370 km; 230 miles} from base.
Be-200M: Redesignated Be-210 in 1998.
Be-200P: Projected anti-submarine version; combat radius 2.537 n miles (4,700 km; 2,920 miles); endurance 7 hours.
Be-210: Announced in 1998; development of Be-200 multirole amphibian for airline use in regions of minimal airport infrastructure. Seating for two pilots, two attendants and 72 passengers at 75 cm (29½ in) seat pitch. Other details may be assumed to be similar to Be-200, but airframe strengthened for extra fuel in wing centre-section (42,000 kg; 92,594 lb MTOW) and ferry range increased to 2.483 n miles (4,600 km; 2,858 niles), or 998 n miles (1,850 km; 1,149 miles) with full passenger load.
Be-220: Maritime patrol version offered in 2006 to China and India. Novella (Sea Dragon) detection systems and extended nose radome.
Be-250: Airborne early-warning and control version; first reported as 2006 project. Refuelling probe; sensors scabbed to fuselage shoulders.

CUSTOMERS: Seven ordered (of 20 required) by TsENTROSPAS/MChS (Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations) on 15 January 1997 for firefighting, with further orders to follow for SAR; decision in principle to acquire eighth, funded by cancellation of proposed two Antonov An-74s. However, at time of maiden flight, only five orders were being claimed as firm. Will equip four SAR stations on Black Sea and Baltic and two in eastern Russia; first base was to have been Gelendzhik where two Altairs (0101 and 0102) scheduled to be in service by end of 2003. Beriev contracted in 2002 to establish training school at Taganrog for MChS pilots and technicians. However Zhukovsky (Ramenskoye) nominated as central base for MChS Altair fleet.
Russian state forest service/firefighting agency requires up to 54, of which near-term needs total 10 to 15; 50 required by Sakhalin regional administration; five by Irkutsk regional administration.
Potential market foreseen for more than 400 by 2010, of which over 60 per cent for export. South Korea evinced interest in 12 of maritime patrol version for police duties during 1998; China considering licensed production at Harbin; Italian interest in 15 reported mid-2000. Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan and Philippines expressing interest in 2001-02 and Be-200 demonstrated at Marseilles, France, 13 to 15 May 2002, and at Elefsis, Greece. Hawkins & Powers of USA negotiating for eight in early 2004. Croatian plans to acquire two announced 15 August 2004.

COSTS: Basic price USD25 million (2000). Break-even at 46/48th aircraft. Development cost estimated as USD250 million, of which USD190 million expended by 2001.

DESIGN FEATURES: First Russian purpose-designed water-bomber. Derived from Beriev A-40, but underwing stabilising floats moved inboard from tips, twin-wheel main landing gear units, and no booster turbojets. Conforms to FAR Pt 25 criteria. Swept wings of moderate aspect ratio, with high-lift devices; single-step hull of high length/beam ratio, which reported to provide world’s first variable-rise bottom, providing a considerable improvement in stability and controllability in the water, as well as a reduction in g loads when landing and taking off at sea; small wedge-shape boxes (‘hydrodynamic compensators’) aft of step aid ‘unsticking’ from water in wave heights up to 1.2 m (4 ft); required draught 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in); all-swept T tail; high-mounted engines protected from spray by strakes on each side of nose and by wings; large underwing pod each side of hull, faired into wingroot.
Wing leading-edge sweep 23° 13'; supercritical wing sections, thickness/chord ratio 16 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

FLYING CONTROLS: Fly-by-wire. Entire span of each wing trailing-edge occupied by aileron and two-section area-increasing single-slotted flaps; full-span leading-edge slats in three sections each side; five spoiler/lift dumper sections forward of flaps each side.

STRUCTURE: Hull made primarily of high-strength aluminium/lithium alloys; interior of composites; water tanks of ferric alloys of aluminium in firefighting version.

LANDING GEAR: Hydraulically retractable tricycle type. Twin-wheel main units, tyre size 950x300, pressure 9.80 to 10.30 bar (142 to 150 lb/sq in); twin nosewheels, tyre size 620x180, pressure 7.35 to 7.85 bar (106 to 114 lb/sq in). Mainwheels and nosewheels retract rearwards. Water rudder. Ground turning radius 17.4 m (57 ft 1 in). Nosewheel steering angle ±45°.

POWER PLANT: Two ZMKB Progress D-436TP turbofans, each 73.6 kN (16,550 lb st). Rolls-Royce BR715s and others under consideration as alternative engines, but late 2004 study concluded market for R-R version would not cover development costs. Fuel system by Pall (USA). Total oil capacity 22 litres (5.8 US gallons; 4.85 Imp gallons).

ACCOMMODATION: Two flight crew; up to 72 tourist class passengers at 75 cm (29.5 in) seat pitch and two attendants; or 10 to 32 first class and business class passengers at up to 102 cm (40 in) seat pitch, with provision for galley, lavatory and baggage stowage. Up to nine freight containers or, typically, six containers and 19 economy class seats. Cargo door, with integral passenger door, starboard side, forward, opens upwards; passenger door port, forward; emergency exits; forward and rear freight/baggage holds. Interior design by AIM Aviation (UK).

SYSTEMS: MRPC Avionika EDSU-200 electronic flight control system (FBW). Barco Display Systems FMS system. All accommodation pressurised. Three hydraulic systems at 207 bar (3,000 lb/sq in); 150 litres (39.6 US gallons; 33.0 Imp gallons) of MGJ-5U fluid; flow rate 70 litres (18.5 US gallons; 15.4 Imp gallons)/min. Capacity of pneumatic system bottles 29 litres (1,02 cu ft). Three-phase 115/220 V 400 Hz AC electrical system; single-phase 115 V 400 Hz AC system; 27 V DC system; supplied by two engine-driven 60 kVA AC generators and three static inverters; three batteries. Gaseous oxygen bottle, pressure 147 bar (2,135 lb/sq in). Provision for de-icing tail unit, slats, engine air intakes and windscreen. TA-12 APU, operable up to 7,000 m (23,000 ft) in starboard wingroot. Propeller-driven emergency generator at base of fin.

AVIONICS: Radar: MN-85 weather radar in nose.
Flight: ARIA-200M digital flight and navigation system by American-Russian Integrated Avionics, a joint venture of AlliedSignal (now Honeywell) and Moscow Research Institute of Aircraft Equipment. INS standard.
Instrumentation: Honeywell EFIS displays, with six 152 x 203 mm (6 x 8 in) LCDs.
Mission: Optional IAI/Tamam AOS (airborne observation system) turret mounted in flap actuator fairing under port wing provides TV and IR imagery for SAR, fire patrol and ecological monitoring missions. Prototype installation April 2005.