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Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail)

Soviet Union (1961)
Picture of Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat
Picture of Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat Picture of Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat
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The Be-12 was a very capable floatplane for its time, achieving several world records for an aircraft of this type.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat.  Entry last updated on 8/7/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Beriev Be-12 "Mail" was a successful flying boat aircraft developed for the Soviet Navy as a replacement for its troublesome Be-10 "Mallow" series during the Cold War. It fulfilled the role of maritime patrol and reconnaissance and showcased a turboprop design over the former's turbojet arrangement. Like the Be-10 before it, the Be-12 went on to set several world aircraft records for an aircraft of this type. The series was available in prototype form in 1960, first unveiled to the public during 1961 and entered production soon afterwards. 143 of the type were produced in all with some still flying today (2014).

The Be-12 was powered by 2 x Ivchenko Progress AI-20D turboprop engines mounted high on a high-wing monoplane assembly. The wings were notably cranked upwards from the fuselage in a "gull-wing" type arrangement. As with other flying boat designs, the use of high-mounted wings aided in lift as well as clearing the engines from the surface of the water. To prevent tipping, pontoon floats were affixed under each wing. The Be-12 was typically crewed by four to six personnel. Beyond its water-based landing and take-off, it also held an inherent amphibious quality thanks to its wheeled undercarriage - a feature retained from the preceding Be-10 design. As such, it could function as a traditional land-based aircraft from prepared runways. Beyond that, the Be-12 accommodated a MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detection) system in the tail, a radar housed in the nose section and a glazed observation position also in the nose.


Picture of the Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat
Picture of the Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat


Dimensions included a length of 98.8 feet, a wingspan of 98 feet, and a height of 26 feet. Empty weight was listed at 52,800lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 79,200lb. Performance from the twin-turboprop engines included a maximum speed of 330 miles per hour, a range out to 2,100 miles and a service ceiling of 26,250 feet.

The Be-12 bettered the outgoing Be-10 - which it succeeded in Soviet Naval Aviation service - by improving its operational ranges. Its payload included up to 3,300lbs of externally-held stores in the form of torpedoes, depth charges, mines, or conventional drop bombs.

The series was exported to Egypt, Syria, and Vietnam while ex-Soviet stocks fell to the Ukrainians. Additionally, ex-Soviet Navy models were reconstituted into the reborn Russian Navy after the fall of the Soviet Empire in the early 1990s.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (329mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
143
143


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Soviet Union
Service Year: 1961
Classification Type: Maritime Patrol / Reconnaissance Flying Boat
Manufacturer(s): Beriev - Soviet Union
Production Units: 143
Global Operators:
Egypt; Russia; Soviet Union; Syria; Ukraine; Vietnam
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Beriev Be-12 Tchaika (Mail) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
6


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
98.79 ft


Meters
30.11 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
97.90 ft


Meters
29.84 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
26.05 ft


Meters
7.94 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
52,911 lb


Kilograms
24,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
79,366 lb


Kilograms
36,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Ivchenko Progress AI-20D turboprop engines developing 5,180 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
329 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
530 kph


Knots
286 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,051 mi


Kilometers
3,300 km


Nautical Miles
1,782 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
26,247 ft


Meters
8,000 m


Miles
4.97 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (2):

Up to 3,300lbs of externally-held ordnance including torpedoes, depth charges, mines, or conventional drop bombs.
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Be-12 - Base Series Designation; standard production models.
• Be-12EKO - Proposed ecological reconnaissance platform.
• Be-12I - Proposed flying laboratory
• Be-12LL - Cruise missile carrier test airframe
• Be-12N - Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) variant with MAD and other applicable sensory equipment.
• Be-12Nkh - Stripped utility transport; two converted from standard Be-12.
• Be-12P - Firefighting variant
• Be-12P-200 - Developmental firefighting variant
• Be-12PS - Search and Rescue variant; four converted from base Be-12s.
• Be-12SK - Test airframe for nuclear depth charges
• Be-14 - All-weather, day-night Search and Rescue variant; single example completed.
• M-12 - Stripped variant for record attempts.