Former Greek Defence Minister: "Let's bow our heads and ask Russia for help with the fires"

former greek defence minister panos kammenos

Former Greek Defence Minister Panos Kamennos urged the Greek government to ask Russia to help extinguish fires devastating the Mediterranean country. According to him, without the Russian Be-200 amphibious aircraft, it is impossible to cope with the fire.

“Nothing happens without Beriev. Let's bow our heads and ask for help. They will give us…” Kammenos said in a social media post.

The giant Russian plane Beriev proved to be a decisive weapon in extinguishing flames during the Greek fire season, and its enormous potential will obviously be missed from the arsenal of fire fighting services.

The Beriev Be-200 Altair is a utility amphibious aircraft designed and built by the Beriev Aircraft Company.

Marketed as being designed for fire fighting, search and rescue, maritime patrol, cargo, and passenger transportation, it has a capacity of 12,000 litres (3,200 US gal) of water, or up to 72 passengers.

The Be-200 in amphibious water drop fire-fighter configuration suppresses fires by dropping water contained in eight ferric aluminium alloy water tanks, located under the cabin floor in the centre fuselage section.

beriev be-200

Four retractable water scoops, two forward and two aft of the fuselage step, can be used to scoop a total of 12 tonnes (26,000 lb) of water in 14 seconds. Alternatively, the tanks can be filled from a hydrant or a water cistern on the ground.

The water tanks can be removed quickly for carrying cargo. Water can be dropped in a single salvo, or in up to eight consecutive drops. The aircraft also carries six auxiliary tanks for fire-retarding chemical agents, with a total capacity of 1.2 m3 (320 US gal).

The aircraft can empty its water tanks over the site of a fire in 0.8 to 1.0 seconds when flying above the minimum drop speed of 220 km/h (140 mph; 120 km).

beriev greece
MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - AUGUST 24, 2019: A Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft in flight during preparations for the MAKS-2019 International Aviation and Space Salon in the town of Zhukovsky, Moscow Region. Marina Lystseva/TASS

Two Be-200ES also operated in Greece, RF-32768 fighting the 2007 forest fires for the whole season and RF-21512 from August 30 – September 13, 2007.

During the summer of 2021 one aircraft was used in Greece.

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