The Irkut corporation of Russia and America's Hawkins & Powers concluded a protocol of intent to supply eight Be-200 planes to the US
Director of the Irkut corporation press-service Yelena Fyodorova told RIA Novosti that Hawkins & Powers, one of America's leading fire extinguishing companies based in California will use these planes for fighting forest fires along the US western coast.
According to Yelena Fyodorova, the supplies of Be-200 equipped with Rolls-Royce BR715 engines will start in 2007. "According to researches of the plane's market potential conducted by the Irkut corporation and their American colleagues, the potential demand for Be-200 amphibian aircrafts within the nearest 20 years will make up 320 planes in 25 countries of the world," she adds.
For the time being, Irkut has already started supplies of the first serial aircraft Be-200 to Russia's EMERCOM in the framework of a contract for supplies of seven aircraft of the type concluded in 2001.
The first serial aircraft was supplied to Russia's EMERCOM in June 2003. One more Be-200 is supposed to be put into operation at the end of February 2004, and the whole of the contract will be accomplished by the end of 2005, director of the corporation's press-service says.
The Be-200 amphibian aircraft is meant for extinguishing fires, aid in emergency situations, search and rescue operations by sea, also for sanitary and freight transportation. The aircraft can take up to 12 tons of water while gliding during one flight, transport and drop it at a fire site; at that, the aircraft employs high-precision navigation and flight control systems. The Be-200 hull is airproof which allows to transform the aircraft into a passenger or a freight versions.