“Serial production of the Be-200 has been re-established,” says Victor Kobzev, Beriev general manager. “We are set to complete the first aircraft of the new batch by the end of this year.”
Kobzev says Beriev has 12 firm orders for the Be-200. Six are destined for Russia’s emergencies ministry, which already operates the type, with its defence ministry due to take the remainder. “Contracts from these two customers have allowed us to establish a smooth manufacturing [system] at the new location in Taganrog,” he says.
Kobzev adds that the defence ministry is negotiating a follow-on order, likely to be far larger than its previous commitment, as the country’s navy looks to build its amphibian capability.
China is also looking to finalise an order for both the Be-200 and the smaller Be-103, he says, with the latter likely to be assembled locally.
“Although the Chinese make amphibian aircraft of their own, they [have] expressed a strong interest in acquiring such hardware from us,” Kobzev says. “I am most positive that we will soon come to a conclusion on the Be-103 licence production in China. They have been long asking us for that”.
A similar deal is being sought for the Be-200, and both sides hope to conclude negotiations by year-end. If a Chinese assembly line is established it would take combined annual production of the type to 12 aircraft.
Beriev is also developing other projects. “Work is on going on a new AWACS [airborne warning and control system] aircraft,” he says. Local media reports named the programmes as the A-60 and the A-100, both utilising the Ilyushin Il-476 as a platform.
“We must provide a replacement for the [Ilyushin Il-76-based] A-50. The defence ministry has presented us with its vision and specification to such aircraft,” Kobzev says. “It calls for the new aircraft to be far better than any of the in-service types in Russia and abroad. We are working hard to meet their requirements.”
In the interim, Beriev and its industrial partners are continuing a programme of modernisation and refit for the Russian air force A-50 fleet.