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Russian Navy to Upgrade its Soviet-era Be-12 ASW Amphibious Aircraft

The main Russian Navy command decided to upgrade antisubmarine amphibious Be-12 aircraft. They will be able to take off and land both on ground airfields and on water. The modernization will give Be-12 a completely new targeting system and modern arms. Be-12 are the oldest aircraft operational in the Russian armed forces, the Izvestia daily reported.


The main Russian Navy command decided to upgrade antisubmarine amphibious Be-12 aircraft. They will be able to take off and land both on ground airfields and on water. The modernization will give Be-12 a completely new targeting system and modern arms. Be-12 are the oldest aircraft operational in the Russian armed forces, the Izvestia daily reported.


Beriev Be 12 Chayka ASW MPA amphibous aircraft russia 1The Beriev Be-12 Chayka ("Seagull", NATO reporting name: Mail) is a Soviet turboprop-powered amphibious aircraft designed for anti-submarine and maritime patrol duties. Picture by Romanoff via airforce.ru.


The Navy command told the newspaper the decision to modernize Be-12 had been adopted. At present the technical assignment is drafted, as well as documents to launch R&D to upgrade onboard equipment of the aircraft.

Be-12 will radically modernize all the three sets for obtaining reconnaissance information on adversary submarines: hydro-acoustic (detects the submarine noise), radar and magnetic (finds submarines by magnetic emission of the hull). The upgraded aircraft will have modern antisubmarine torpedoes and depth bombs.

Be-12 made its maiden flight in 1960. It has a V-shaped arched wing to facilitate takeoff from water. The lower part of the fuselage has a ship outline which allows Be-12 to land and take off from water in three-force storm. The speed is over 500 km/h. Fuel reserve allows the aircraft to fly over 4 thousand km or conduct a patrol mission for several hours. The plane is armed with mines, torpedoes and bombs.


Beriev Be 12 Chayka ASW MPA amphibous aircraft russia 2The Beriev Be-12 Chayka ("Seagull", NATO reporting name: Mail) is a Soviet turboprop-powered amphibious aircraft designed for anti-submarine and maritime patrol duties. Picture by Romanoff via airforce.ru.


Expert Oleg Panteleyev said the examination of the existing Be-12 fleet showed the amphibious aircraft still have sufficient resource of the glider and the power plant and an upgrade will keep them operational.

"Combat effectiveness of Be-12 can be considerably increased by upgrading submarine-detecting equipment and other systems, mostly communications which will integrate the aircraft into the common contour of antisubmarine warfare control," he said.

Expert Alexander Mozgovoy said Be-12 upgrade will enhance antisubmarine capabilities of the Navy in coastal areas. "It was a very successful aircraft for its time. With upgraded equipment it will effectively control coastal waters. Be-12 is necessary for small water areas, for example, the Black and Baltic Seas. It is not intended for long-term patrol over the ocean or operations in rough seas," he said.

143 Be-12 were produced in 1960-1973. They were operational in all Soviet fleets. In the Pacific fleet Be-12 operated in the 289th separate antisubmarine and 317th combined air regiments. The Black Sea and Northern fleets had one antisubmarine amphibious aircraft regiment each. The 49th separate squadron of Be-12 of the Baltic fleet was deployed in Kaliningrad.

Practically all Be-12 were decommissioned in 1993-1998. The last six aircraft are operational in the 318th air regiment of the Black Sea fleet. Close to a dozen are kept at the air works in Taganrog and the Ostrov airfield, the Izvestia writes.


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