View Full Version : Be-200 amphibian. Is there future with amphibian technologies?

30 Aug 04,, 18:54
Amphibians were quite common in 1930-ies through 1950-ies but then subsided and merelly disappeared. At present only small amphibian planes exist. Irkut IAPO and Beriliev decided to bet a lot of resources on their Be-200 an amphibian capable to transport around 80 soldiers at 3,000 km. China and Malaysia had interest but bought not a one bird so far, while a 7 firefighting versions of the plane is close to be sold to US, and around 10 to Itally.

Do you think a large scalle use of amphibians will ever resume?


30 Aug 04,, 21:33
No, not in large numbers. The reasons for their numbers in the 1930-50s was a lack of airports around the world, which is no longer the case. I see a purpose for flying boats in only two, maybe three, categories: Firefighting aircraft to gather sea or lake water, giant WIG aircraft that would essentially be flying cargo ships, and naval rescue/ASW aircraft.

31 Aug 04,, 07:49
Well you are correct. The existence of helicopters and infrastructure for ground landing undermined any amphibians at current stage.... I my view WIGs are not aircrafts but rather flying ships - it is limited in possible flight roots

However I see another reason why amphibian might be revived.

The modern warfare requires carrying troops fast to new locations (not always equipped with ground infrastructure). Iraqi compaign was quite challenging logistically - carrying thousands of tons half globe! Even though most was still moved by ships the role of transport aircrafts (AN-194 :-) was crusial. But even this birds are too small for the modern needs....

The greater the weight of the cargo craft the more difficulties making it ground based. Even now with both C-5 Galaxy and AN-194 we are close to a limit of how much you can put on a removable wheels/tires. So if you are designing cargo crafts carrying weights of more than 1,000 tons need some solution to this problem of landing and taking off.

Amphibian is just one of the probable and tested solutions for giant cargo aircrafts.....

Russia has no cash to develop its WIGs but what is already achieved is quite promising - latest WIG had flight weight of 400 tons - no ground based aircraft is even close to that (though it is still possible). The point is that if WIG could take off with weight of 400 tons and more than amphibian aircraft may as well....

so if there would be no other way to resolve the problem with high weight for ground based cargo planes amphibians might become a solution

31 Aug 04,, 08:03

BE-2500 and BE-5000 (capable 2500 and 5000 tons) were of those large cargo amphibian projects which most probably will stay a model. However Beriev really has capabilities to build this kind of bird....

Now Boeign is putting some money into a Pelican WIG. However the costs of R&D in this direction is comparable with Stealth program so nothing is expected in near 10 years