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Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Flying Boat (1961)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/3/2011

The Be-12 was a very capable floatplane for its time, achieving several world records for an aircraft of this type.

The Beriev Be-12 "Mail" was a successful flying boat aircraft for the Soviet Union during the Cold War, fulfilling the role of maritime patrol and reconnaissance. The twin-engine system was designed to replace the other Beriev offering in the form of the Be-6, and did so while achieving several world records for an aircraft of this type. The system was prototyped in 1960, first displayed publicly by 1961 and put into production soon afterwards.

The Be-12 was powered by two Ivchenko-brand turboprop engines mounted high on a monoplane wing assembly, cranked up from the fuselage in a gull-wing type position. As with other flying boat designs, this arrangement was necessitated by the need for the propellers to clear the water line when taking off, taxiing or landing. Additionally, it provided the required space for underwing pontoons and a low-level fuselage to be used. The Be-12 was crewed by five or six personnel. As an amphibious aircraft, it could land on runways using a traditional landing gear system or on water utilizing its pontoons. The deep hull of the aircraft also prevented water from spraying up onto the engine systems, saving the components from unnecessary damage and wear and tear. Beyond that, the design accommodated a MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detection) system in the tail, a radar housed in the nose section and a glazed observation position, also housed in the nose.

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Picture of Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail)
Pic of the Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail)
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Specifications for the
Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail)
Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Flying Boat

Focus Model: Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail)
Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Beriev - Soviet Union
Initial Year of Service: 1961
Production: 143

Crew: 5

Length: 95.73ft (29.18m)
Width: 107.97ft (32.91m)
Height: 21.92ft (6.68m)
Weight (Empty): 0lbs (0kg)
Weight (MTOW): 65,036lbs (29,500kg)

Powerplant: 2 x Ivchenko AI-20D turboprop engines generating 4,000hp each.

Maximum Speed: 379mph (610kmh; 329kts)
Maximum Range: 2,485miles (4,000km)
Service Ceiling: 39,977ft (12,185m; 7.6miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet per minute (0m/min)

Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
Though no defensive armament is fitted to the Be-12 system, it does have a maximum odnance load of up to 22,250lbs - this can include either conventional bombs or depth charges.

Be-12 - Base Series Designation

Soviet Union