Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Russia offers US firefighting planes.

via Aviation News.
As the U.S. fights an epic summer fire in Colorado, Russia offers an aircraft with fire-fighting technologies that has a chance in the U.S. market.
The United States has its eyes on Russia’s Be-200 amphibious aircraft to bolster American-made fire-fighting aircraft, just as the country contemplates a radical renovation of its fire-fighting fleet, according to sources in the industry.

The ongoing fire in Colorado, both epic and uncontrollable, may spur the country to quicker action to renew its fleet.
These planes are sometimes the only means to fight fires, especially at industrial sites or large explosive facilities. The ability of a plane to travel at jet speed and begin extinguishing fire often offers the only chance to save people or prevent a large-scale environmental disaster.

The Be-200, a multipurpose amphibious aircraft made by Taganrog-based Beriev Aircraft Company, passed the first Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) certification tests this month. Specialists with the U.S. Interagency Tanker Board visited a test base in Taganrog to examine the Be-200ChS, a modification developed for fire-fighting operations.

Russia and the United States already contracted for the sale of ten planes in May 2010, and deliveries will start as soon as the aircraft completes tests and obtains an FAA certificate, according to Nikolai Lavro, deputy chief designer at Beriev Aircraft Company.

The Russian aircraft factory said in a statement that the initial Be-200 tests confirmed that the amphibious model is in compliance with U.S. requirements for scooping water when skimming the surface. However, the Americans would also like to be able to fill the tanker with flame retardant at the airfield, which calls for some minor alterations in the fire-extinguishing systems. After its upgrade, the Be-200 will continue certification tests, which is an essential part of the effort to bring the Russian technology to the international market.

The Be-200 can operate from a 1,800-meter long runway or an area of open water not less than 2,300 meters long, with waves of up to 1.3 meters high. Its corrosion protection system allows the plane to be used in the open sea. The Be-200 has a range of 3,600 kilometers, an altitude of 8,000 meters and a cruising speed of 710 kilometers per hour.

Currently, six Be-200 aircraft are successfully operating in Russia, and one more airplane is used for fire-fighting in Azerbaijan. The Russian Ministry for Emergencies has placed an order for eight more Be-200 units for three fire-fighting wings in the Central Region, Siberia and the Far East.

The US Forestry Service has antiquated fire fighting equipment and now a foreign nation is offering us gear to fight those fires.  Sad but true.

Rant time.

The US government can't properly monitor welfare, is behind on processing veterans cases, is unable to control our border with Mexico, is spending money it doesn't have...

They can't do the things that the founders charged them to do and yet somehow someway people believe that they won't jack up the health care system?

Give me a break!


  1. alot of it is inefficiency in our system of governance. Since the states and the federal government are both soverign both do different and at times the same job, and many times disagree on who has the right to do it. while this was good and necessary for our founders to prevent one part from becomign too powerful it also creates overlap and waste, this of course does not excuse it and alot can be done to improve it but its one of the issues, i am not saying get rid of the states but to improve coordination in emergencies like this, like the wildfires.

  2. It's just money. The Forest Service was never given much of a budget and only has 12 50 year old aircraft. They actually released a report earlier this year saying they'd like to operate 25 C-130J's:

    We don't need the Be200 and it's 3,000 gallon payload vs the C-130J's 4,000.

    All this aside most of the aircraft we use are from private contractors and we should certainly have more national assets and there's no reason we don't have some more converted 747's which can carry 24,000 gallons. It's not like they aren't large numbers of them sitting around.

    There used to be more contract aircraft but a few years ago we canceled most of these contracts out of liability concerns. In any case we clearly need more aircraft and obviously we could use more MAFFS (allows any C-130 to be used) for the ANG. Given the current budget climate it's doubtful, however, that anything gets done soon.

    1. The C-130s and any other aircraft that's used by the Forest Service are aging aircraft,that are supplied by the air force to be sold to independent contractors, the forest service then uses these companies (independent contractors) to put the fires. Some of these planes are 20 to 40 years old, ugh!!! something is very wrong with this picture, Texas suffered from heavy wild fires in the area back in 2010, the state was told there wasn't enough planes for the task for water scooping. The cost for landing and filling up with chemicals retardant was way over budget than expected, to make things worse in 2011 a company out of California that makes and maintain the water intake parts that goes into these planes filed for bankruptcy. A report, which was commissioned by the Forest Service in 2009 concluded that the Forest Service should make more use of water-scooping planes than retardant-bombing planes. Nothing against American planes, hey I fly in them all the time, but the Russians got it right on the money with the BE200 its rate of climb filled with water can and speed is more efficient. Yes a C 130 can carry more water but it slower and it has to go back to a landing strip to refill it, the BE200 can got to the lake down the road refill and drop and and do this repetitively, until the plane needs refueling. For every 1 drop of a C-130 the be 200 can do 2.8 drops. These planes have been purchased by the Italians Greece and many other Euro nations I think the US is the only country that hasn't approved them yet. The cost to build a 747 water bomber and operate is well beyond the cost of a Be200, Evergreen claims their 747 is the solution to forest fires and yes it carries allot of chemical retardant, however you will not find the price to operate lease, this monster, because its unfordable, and due to the extreme weight it would carry, the life expectancy of this aircraft would make high on the maintenance list, besides the Be200 is highly maneuverable and its engines placement is what make sit unique, not to funny but a 747 water bomber would probably fall apart if it tried to complete 1/3 of the maneuvers a be200 can pull off and you could probably buy about 5 of them for the cost of 1 747


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