Air International 1995-08
J.Hayles - Russia's Coastal Guardian: The Beriev Be-12 Mail
An early production B-12 of the Soviet Naval Air Force, Pacific Fleet, Yellow 56 was exhibited in this colour scheme at the Domodedovo air display in 1967.
One or two Be-12s were covertly operated in the late 1960s and early 1970s by the Soviet Naval Air Force, from bases in Egypt. 4385 is seen here in Egyptian Air Force markings.
With the reduced need for Be-12s to operate in the ASW role, a number of aircraft were converted for highspeed SAB duties. Designated Be-12PS, these lack the main weapons bay and MAD sensor. Red 30 is on the strength of the Black Sea Fleet, a number of whose aircraft have been repainted in a much darker blue-grey scheme.
A search and rescue Be-12PS, coded Red 31, of Black Sea Fleet Naval Aviation, based at Baku-Kala in Azerbaijan. In the background is a Kamov Ka-27PS Helix-D search and rescue helicopter.
Yellow 65, framed by the distinctive nose of another ASW Be-12 from Pacific Fleet Naval Aviation, on the Taganrog fight line in April 1992.
A great advantage of the Be-12’s amphibious capabilities is that it combines the flexibility of operating from land or sea, with the relative ease of maintenance at land bases.
Close up of the starboard main undercarriage unit, illustrating its simple, sturdy construction. Immediately forward of the undercarriage (to the right in this photograph) is the forward crew access door.
Hunter and prey - a classic photograph of an ASW Be-12 overflying a submarine with which it was presumably exercising. With the ability of American strategic submarines to operate at greater distances from the Soviet coast, the Be-12’s ASW tasking declined in importance from 1970 onwards.
Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Seagull) Mail
Three-view drawing of the Beriev Be-12 Mail.
Two ASW variants of the Be-12 have been converted for fire-fighting and redesignated Be-12P. The bright red colour scheme of RA-00073 denotes its non-military role.
This view of the second prototype Be-12P taxiing out of the water illustrates the necessity of positioning the engines as high as possible (hence the gull wing) - even when operating in calm water. Note the earlier yellow trim, applied before the current red scheme.
Water bomber variant of the Beriev Be-12 Mail.
A flypast by the Be-12P fire-bomber demonstrator, with its aft water drop doors open. Note how the engine exhaust has blackened the lower section of the fins.
Little, or no attempt appears to have been made to update the cockpit instruments of the Be-12P fire-bomber. They remain typical of 1960s era Soviet aircraft.