September 7, 2021: upon instructions from the Government of Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin, a Russian multipurpose amphibian BE-200ES, produced by Beriev
in Taganrog, was to fight wildfires in central Greece. The Government of the Hellenic Republic had submitted the request and signed a corresponding contract with the Russian PJSC United Aircraft Corporation and Rostec State Corporation.
At the beginning of summer 2021, Greece was in the middle of a heatwave for over ten days, with temperatures occasionally climbing to 47 degrees Celsius. One Russian Be-200 plane, deployed to the country in late June, was involved in daily efforts to combat major fires for two months. According to the Greek media, the amphibious aircraft proved highly effective in fighting fires. It performed more than 60 flights and dropped over 5 thousand tons of water in total.
BE-200ES was the only plane that succeeded in fire-fighting during the most dangerous period of the heatwave, while other aircrafts could not participate in the mission due to their temperature limitations. Later the number of the involved Russian planes was increased; Ilyushin Il-76 planes and Mil Mi-8 helicopters contributed to the fire-fighting as well.
The Be-200 is a large aircraft that has the ability, among others, to take off and land in water, scoop up 12 tons of water and then drop that water on a wildfire in 18 seconds. One fuelling is enough for dropping up to 270 tons of water. Beriev
's Be-200 also can drop fire retardant chemicals, and deliver cargo, firefighters and other emergency equipment where they are needed. The airplane has a pressurized cabin and can be fitted with seats to carry passengers.
Earlier in 2019
, in 2020
and in 2021
BE-200ES planes participated in the first fire-fighting mission in Turkey. In 2005 a BE-200ES participated in extinguishing two fires
in the Southern part of Sardinia Island, Italy.