The Beriev Be-200 Altair is a multipurpose amphibious aircraft designed by the Beriev Aircraft Company and manufactured by Irkut. Marketed as being designed for fire fighting, search and rescue, maritime patrol, cargo, and passenger transportation, it has a capacity of 12 tonnes (12,000 litres) of water, or up to 72 passengers.
The name Altair was chosen after a competition amongst Beriev and Irkut staff in 2002/2003. The name Altair was chosen as it is not only the name of the alpha star in the Eagle constellation, but also because "Al" is the first part of the name of the A-40 Albatross amphibious aircraft, whose layout was the development basis for the creation of the Be-200, "ta" stands for Taganrog, and "ir" stands for Irkutsk.
The Be-200 was designed by the Beriev Aviation Company, with the Russian Irkutsk Aircraft Production Association (now part of the Irkut Corporation). Beriev are responsible for development, design and documentation; systems-, static-, flight- and fatigue-testing of prototypes; certification and support of the production models. Irkut's duties comprise production preparation; manufacture of tooling; production of four prototypes and production aircraft; and spare parts manufacture. Both companies now fall under the umbrella of the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation.
Initiated in 1989 under the design leadership of Alexander Yavkin, Russian government approval for a purpose-designed water bomber was granted on 8 December 1990. Details of the project were announced, and a model displayed at the 1991 Paris Air Show.
Beriev developed unique fire-fighting equipment for the Be-200, allowing it to scoop water while skimming the water surface at 90-95% of takeoff speed. This system was developed using a specially modified Be-12P, coded '12 Yellow'. After installation of the fire-fighting system, the aircraft was registered RA-00046 and given the designation Be-12P-200. This modified Be-12 was used to develop both the fire-fighting system and methods of operation.
The Be-200's first flight from land was scheduled for 1997, but was eventually achieved by the first prototype aircraft on 24 September 1998. The aircraft was then transferred from Irkutsk to Taganrog after 26½ flying hours, and the first take off from water was conducted on 10 September 1999 in Taganrog. The second Be-200 flew on August 27, 2002. This aircraft was built as a Be-200ES, being fitted to the specifications of the launch customer, EMERCOM, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations.
In 2001, as part of a marketing program, the Be-200 was displayed at two large exhibitions in the Pacific Ocean region; the International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition LIMA'01 in Malaysia and the Korean Aerospace and Defence Exhibition KADE'01 in South Korea.
In 2002, the Be-200 participated in international aviation exhibitions, successfully demonstrating its capabilities to potential customers in France and Greece with 15 demonstration flights made from land, eight from water. A total of over 7,600 km was flown across Europe.
Irkut and EADS signed a memorandum of understanding in May 2002 to jointly carry out a market study and to define the conditions and costs of international certification and the logistics of setting up a worldwide after-sales service. The study was completed in July 2003, revealing a potential market for up to 320 aircraft over 20 years. The two companies, with Rolls-Royce Deutschland, plan to obtain Western certification during 2008/9 and offer a Rolls-Royce BR715 powered aircraft for Western markets. This version is to be given the designation Be-200RR. The original Be-200 prototype (RF-21511) has been earmarked to be converted into the Be-200RR prototype.
The first production aircraft, a Be-200ES flew on June 17, 2003. It was delivered to EMERCOM on On July 31, 2003. Seven aircraft have been ordered by EMERCOM, five have been delivered. The fifth airframe is being used for the European certification process which is expected to be completed in 2008. The remaining two are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2008. EMERCOM has an option to buy a further 8 Be-200s, with a decision expected during the latter part of 2008.
In 2010, production of the Be-200 is due to switch to the Centre of competence for amphibian aircraft and flying boats in Taganrog. An assembly line is being set up using tooling and equipment received from Irkut's main manufacturing site in Irkutsk, Siberia. This will allow the Irkut Corporation to concentrate on other more lucrative projects. Production of the Be-200 will remain under the umbrella of the United Aircraft Corporation.
The Be-200's engines are located high and to the rear in order to keep them clear of spray.The multirole Be-200 can be configured as an amphibious water drop fire-fighting aircraft, a freighter, or as a passenger aircraft — the pressurised and air conditioned cabin allowing transportation of up to 72 passengers. The Be-200 can also be equipped for special missions. When configured as an air ambulance, the aircraft can carry up to 30 stretcher patients and seven seated patients or medical crew. In the search and rescue role, the aircraft can be equipped with searchlights and sensors, an inflatable boat, thermal and optical surveillance systems, and medical equipment. The search and rescue variant can accommodate up to 45 persons. The aircraft is also capable of being configured for anti-submarine warfare duties.
The Be-200 fire-fighter suppresses fires by dropping water and/or chemical retardants. Eight ferric aluminium alloy water tanks are located under the cabin floor in the centre fuselage section. Four retractable water scoops, two forward and two aft of the fuselage step can be used to scoop a total of 12 tonnes of water in 14 seconds. Alternatively, the tanks can be filled from a hydrant or a water cistern on the ground. The water tanks can be removed quickly for carrying cargo. Water can be dropped in a single salvo, or in up to eight consecutive drops. The aircraft also carries six auxiliary tanks for fire-retarding chemical agents, with a total capacity of 1.2 m³. The aircraft can empty its water tanks over the site of a fire in 0.8 to 1.0 seconds when flying above the minimum drop speed of 220 km/h (135 mph, 120 kn)
The aircraft is powered by two pylon-mounted D-436TP engines. The D-436TP is a specific "maritime" corrosion-resistant version of the D-436 three shaft turbofan engine, designed especially for the Be-200 amphibian, by Ivchenko Progress ZMKB and manufactured by "Motor Sich" in Ukraine. These are mounted above the wingroot pods on the landing gear fairings to prevent water spraying into the engines during take-off and landing.
The Digital Flight Control (Fly-by-wire) cockpit is fitted with modern navigation systems such as satellite navigation (GPS), FMS, autopilot and weather radar. The ARIA 200-M all-weather integrated avionics system developed by Honeywell with the Moscow Research Institute of Aircraft Equipment, uses six 152 x 203 mm (6 x 8 in) LCDs to display information to the two-man crew.
The Be-200 is a high-wing T-tail monoplane. the hull is of single step design with a high length-to-beam ratio, which contributes to stability and controllability in water. The Be-200 airframe is constructed of aluminium alloys with corrosion-protection treatments. Selective use is made of titanium, composites and other corrosion-free materials. The wings are fitted with underwing stabiliser floats. The hydraulically operated retractable landing gear units all retract rearward, and each unit is twin-wheeled. A water rudder provides steering in the water.
The Be-200 can operate from either a 1,800 m long runway or an area of open water not less than 2,300 m long and 2.5 m deep, with waves of up to 1.3 m high.
Be-200Be-200 — Basic multirole model
Be-200ES — Multirole model fitted to the requirements of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations
Be-200E — English cockpit version of the Be-200ES
Be-200RR — Designation of projected Rolls-Royce engined variant.
Be-210 — Projected Passenger only model
Be-220 — Projected maritime patrol variant
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