Beriev Be-12


The Beriev Be-12 Chayka ("Seagull", NATO reporting name: Mail) is a Soviet turboprop-powered amphibious aircraft designed in the 1950s for anti-submarine and maritime patrol duties.

Be-12 Chayka
Be-12P-200 at Gelendzhik in September 2004
Role Maritime patrol aircraft
Manufacturer Beriev OKB
First flight 18 October 1960
Introduction 1960s
Status Operational (in small numbers)
Primary user Soviet Naval Aviation
Produced 1960 (1960) — 1973 (1973)
Number built 150[1]
Developed from Beriev Be-6

Design and development Edit

The Beriev Be-12 was a successor to the Beriev Be-6 flying boat, whose primary roles were as an anti-submarine and maritime patrol bomber aircraft. Though tracing its origins to the Be-6, the Be-12 inherited little more than the gull wing and twin oval tailfin configuration of the older aircraft. The Be-12 has turboprop engines, which gave it an improved speed and range over the Be-6.[2] The Be-12 also had retractable landing gear, which enabled it to land on normal land runways, as well as water.

The Be-12 was first flown on October 18, 1960, at Taganrog airfield, and made its first[2] public appearance at the 1961 Soviet Aviation Day festivities at Tushino airfield. A total of 150 aircraft were produced, in several variations, with production ending in 1973.

Operational history Edit

A Be-12 during take-off roll

The Be-12 entered service with Soviet Naval Aviation, or AV-MF (Aviatcia Voenno-Morskogo Flota), in the early 1960s in the maritime patrol role, and is one of the few amphibians still in military service in the world. Initially its role was ASW patrol, but when newer missiles enabled United States Navy submarines to launch from further offshore it was converted to the search and rescue role (Be-12PS). Small numbers are still in service. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, some aircraft were converted to water bombers for the suppression of forest fires. During development of the Beriev Be-200 unique fire-fighting equipment was tested using a specially modified Be-12P, code-named "12 Yellow". After installation of the fire-fighting system, the aircraft was registered as RA-00046 and given the designation Be-12P-200. This modified Be-12 was also used to trial firefighting operations envisaged for the Be-200.[3] According to figures released in 1993, the Russian Navy had 55 aircraft in service. By 2005 this had dropped to 12,[1] and by 2008 there were only nine aircraft still in service.[citation needed] A surviving Be-12 is preserved at the Central Air Force Museum at Monino, outside of Moscow. Other examples exist at the Ukraine State Aviation Museum at Kyiv, Ukraine and at the Taganrog Air Museum, in southern Russia. It has been reported that the planes have been conducting patrols along and around the Crimean coast during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[4][5]

Variants Edit

Be-12 during take-off on water
Be-12P-200 technology demonstrator
Twin-engined maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare flying-boat. 2 prototypes and 130 production airframes built.
Projected ecological reconnaissance version. Not built.
Projected scientific research version designed in 1991. Not built.
Conversion for testing the 3M-80 'Moskit' anti-shipping missile. Nose radar replaced with missile seeker head. One aircraft converted in 1980.
ASW version fitted with new sensors, avionics, MAD sensor and Nartsiss search/attack system. 27 aircraft converted.
Utility transport, experimental passenger transport version. Military equipment removed, additional windows fitted. 2 built, both converted from Be-12.
Firefighting version. One 4,500 L tank and two 750 L tanks installed. Four aircraft converted in 1992.
Technology demonstrator for the Beriev Be-200. Fire-fighting configuration. One aircraft converted.[3]
Maritime Search and rescue version. Life rafts and survival equipment carried. 6 crew. 10 built new, 4 converted from Be-12.
One aircraft converted in 1961 for use in SK-1 nuclear depth charge tests.
All weather, day/night SAR version. Additional SAR and medical equipment. 6 crew. AI-20D engines. One built.
Stripped-down Be-12 used for record-setting flights. 2 Crew. Later returned to standard configuration.

Operators Edit

Current operators Edit


Former Operators Edit

  • Azerbaijani Air Forces – inherited three aircraft from the Soviet Union. They were decommissioned around 2000, and scrapped in 2018.[7]
  • Egyptian Air Force – operated two or three Be-12s circa 1970, crewed by Soviet personnel, to maintain surveillance on the United States Navy's 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.[8]
  Soviet Union

Specifications (Be-12) Edit

Be-12 at Monino Central Air Force Museum in Moscow, 2006

Data from [1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 30.11 m (98 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 29.84 m (97 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 7.94 m (26 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 99 m2 (1,070 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 24,000 kg (52,911 lb)
  • Gross weight: 29,500 kg (65,036 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 36,000 kg (79,366 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Ivchenko Progress AI-20D turboprop engines, 3,964 kW (5,316 hp) each
  • Propellers: 4-bladed constant-speed propellers


  • Maximum speed: 530 km/h (330 mph, 290 kn)
  • Range: 3,300 km (2,100 mi, 1,800 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,000 ft)
  • Wing loading: 298 kg/m2 (61 lb/sq ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.260 kW/kg (0.158 hp/lb)

See also Edit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

References Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ a b c "Beriev Be-12 'Mail'". 26 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b Taylor, John W. R. (1975–1976). Jane's All The World's Aircraft. Macdonald and Jane's. pp. 488–489. ISBN 0-354-00521-9.
  3. ^ a b Gordon, Sal'nikov and Zablotskiy 2006, pp. 79–80.
  4. ^ Newdick, Thomas (18 August 2022). "Russia's Rickety Be-12 Flying Boats Are Still Patrolling Off Crimea". The drive. Retrieved 18 August 2022. 
  5. ^ "Russia is highly likely using an amphibious plane from the 1960s to hunt for a new threat to its Black Sea Fleet, Western intel says". Business Insider, October 2, 2023. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  6. ^ "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. Flightglobal Insight. 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  7. ^ Mitzer, Stijn; Oliemans, Joost (9 December 2020). "Caspian Amphibians - Azerbaijan's Elusive Fleet Of Beriev Amphibious Aircraft". Oryx.
  8. ^ Air International Magazine, August 1995, p. 88; example photo, p. 83.
  9. ^ "'Sát thủ tàu ngầm' mạnh nhất của Không quân Hải quân Việt Nam". 18 January 2015.

Bibliography Edit

  • Yefim Gordon, Andrey Sal'nikov and Aleksandr Zablotskiy (2006) Beriev's Jet Flying Boats. Hinckley, UK: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-236-5
  • "Beriev Be-12 'Mail'". 2005-08-05. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
  • "Beriev". 2004-03-30. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2006-08-14.