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Beriev rolled-out its first Be-200ChS

_On 30 May 2016, the city of Taganrog saw the ceremony of the roll-out of the first production-standard Beriev Be-200ChS amphibian built by Beriev company for the Russian Emergencies Ministry. According to Beriev Director General Yuri Grudinin, the amphibian is to commence its flight tests soon, after which it will be delivered to the customer. If all goes to plan, the aircraft will be displayed at the Gidroaviasalon 2016 air show in the town of Gelendzhik in September 2016.


As is known, the Be-200ChS was previously assembled by the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, an affiliate of the Irkut corporation. A total of nine flying examples of the Be-200ChS were made by the plant during 1998 through 2011 - two prototypes and seven production-standard amphibians as well as two prototypes for static and endurance tests. Of seven production-standard Be-200ChS aircraft, six were received by the air branch of the Emergencies Ministry (the last two were outfitted and handed over to the customer on Beriev's premises in November 2011) and one was supplied to the air arm of the Azerbaijan's Emergencies Ministry in 2008.

In 2008, a decision was taken to shift the Be-200ChS production from Irkutsk to Taganrog due to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant having its hands full with exports orders for Su-30MKI fighters of different versions, the assembly of Yak-130 combat trainers and the upcoming productionising of the MC-21 short/medium-haul airliner.

To launch the production of the Be-200ChS, Beriev had bought advanced manufacturing equipment, upgraded its production lines and shops, updated its composite parts production facilities and hired and trained personnel.

The design of the Beriev-built Be-200ChS has been modified based on the lessons learnt from the operation of the existing amphibians by the Russian Emergencies Ministry and in accordance with the requirements of the customers - the Emergencies and Defence ministries. For instance, over 50% of the amphibian's avionics suite has been updated and considerable modifications have been introduced to its airframe, the latter being reinforced and made compliant with the full-scale production standards.

The Emergencies Ministry and Beriev made a public contract for six Be-200ChS aircraft in May 2011, with the first amphibian expected to be delivered in late 2013 and the rest during 2014-15). Another contract was signed in May 2012 - for six aircraft for the Defence Ministry: two Be-200ChS amphibians with fire-fighting functions and four Be-200PS search-and-rescue aircraft to be delivered in 2014-16.

Beriev launched the Be-200ChS full-scale production in Taganrog in mid-2011. Due to a whole number of objective and subjective reasons, however, the production and, hence, delivery of the early aircraft started slipping behind the schedule. For this reason, the first Taganrog-assembled Be-200ChS (MSN 303) appeared only in spring this year. Two more amphibians (MSN 304 and 305) are sitting in assembly jigs of the Beriev's assembly hall, and parts and components are being assembled for several other amphibians. According to Beriev Director General Grudinin, the second Taganrog-built amphibian (MSN 304) is planned for delivery to the Defense Ministry this time round.

Obviously, one hardly can expect the two current contracts fulfilled prior to 2018-20, given their accumulated slippage. Hopefully, Beriev has resolved its basic Be-200 production problems and the production will pick up pace soon. UAC President Yuri Slyusar said at the first Beriev-produced Be-200ChS rollout ceremony that the corporation was ready to supply up to 26 amphibians of the type to Russian and foreign customers until 2025.

"We are witnessing the revival of the extremely needed and relevant aircraft, which relevance has been proven by its successful operation and the part it played in emergencies in Russia and abroad - in Greece, Portugal and France. Thailand and Indonesia are interested in the plane," Yuri Slyusar noted during the ceremony. According to him, the first Be-200ChS export contract is likely to be signed soon with Indonesia.

The Russian Emergencies Ministry has been using Be-200ChS amphibians for over a decade, Yuri Oder, chief, Southern Regional Centre, Emergencies Ministry, said during the event: "We know the traditions of the plant, its team and their capabilities. The prospects are inspiring the hope that the plant will get back on its feet and regain its former glory and pride. The main thing is people capable of building such important aircraft."


(Photo: Beriev)

 
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