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Beriev Be-42 Albatros (Mermaid) (A-40)

Amphibious Maritime Patrol / ASW Aircraft

Beriev Be-42 Albatros (Mermaid) (A-40)

Amphibious Maritime Patrol / ASW Aircraft


The Beriev A-40 is a unique jet-powered amphibious aircraft, capable of take-off and landing from water or land.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Soviet Union
YEAR: 1989
MANUFACTURER(S): Beriev - Soviet Union / Russia
OPERATORS: Russia; Soviet Union

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Beriev A-40 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 143.83 feet (43.84 meters)
WIDTH: 136.55 feet (41.62 meters)
HEIGHT: 36.32 feet (11.07 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 14,330 pounds (6,500 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 189,598 pounds (86,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Soloviev D-30KPV turbofan engines developing 26,500 lb of thrust each; 2 x Kolesov RD36-35 turbojet engines developing 5,180 lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 472 miles-per-hour (760 kilometers-per-hour; 410 knots)
RANGE: 2,548 miles (4,100 kilometers; 2,214 nautical miles)
CEILING: 31,824 feet (9,700 meters; 6.03 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 5,900 feet-per-minute (1,798 meters-per-minute)

Mission-specific drop/air-launched ordnance as required. Can include Kh-35 anti-ship missile at underwing pylons or internally-held torpedoes, guided missiles, naval mines and depth charges.
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

Series Model Variants
• A-40 - Base Series Designation; covers initial two prototypes.
• Be-42 - Alternative designation for A-40
• A-40M - Proposed modernized form with imporved systems.
• A-40P - Proposed dedicated fire-fighting platform
• A-40PM - Proposed passenger airliner variant
• Be-40PT - Proposed modular passenger/cargo hauler form.
• A-42 - Proposed dedicated Search and Rescue (SAR) platform with applicable equipment.
• A-42PE - Proposed marimtime patrol/SAR variant
• A-44 - Proposed maritime patrol platform
• Be-200 - Related multirole amphibious aircraft for fire-fighting, SAR, maritime patrol, cargo- and passenger-hauling service.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Beriev Be-42 Albatros (Mermaid) (A-40) Amphibious Maritime Patrol / ASW Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 9/6/2015. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The Soviets progressed jet-powered amphibious aircraft more so than any world power during the Cold War years. Beriev, with a long-running history in flying boat designs, developed the Beriev A-40 "Albatros" (NATO codename: "Mermaid") which appeared in the mid-1980s. The aircraft was primarily developed as an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) platform and its amphibious capabilities allowed for it to take-off and land from a viable water source or a traditional runway as needed. Beriev had already sold its Be-12 "Seagull" to the Soviet Navy back in the 1960s and the A-40 was intended as its successor. It would also have replaced the land-based Ilyushin IL-38 ASW patrol platform which began service in 1967. However, with the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the program was shelved after only one prototype lay completed and a second nearing completion.

Design work on the type began in 1983 to which the aircraft received its first flight on December 8th, 1986. The first flight came about in accidental fashion when a high-speed taxi run found the crew with no runway distance to stop, forcing them airborne. The flight was accepted for what it was and important data collection occurred. The aircraft came as a surprise to Western observers when it was identified as an all-new type in 1988 via satellite photography. The first public unveiling was during the 1989 Soviet Aviation Day event at Tushino, Moscow.

The outward design of the A-40 included a tubular fuselage section containing the cockpit at its extreme forward end. The fuselage incorporated a smooth, boat-like hull for the projected water landing while a wheeled undercarriage was used for land-based sorties. High, shoulder-mounted wing appendages allowed for increased lift and low-level stability while supported on water through wingtip pontoons. The pair of jet engines were also high-mounted while fitted aft of the main wing section and ahead of the tail unit. Each engine was seated atop structural extensions emanating from the wing trailing edges. The tail unit was a traditional "T" arrangement with high-mounted tailplanes. The wheeled undercarriage included a pair of four-wheeled main legs and a two-wheeled nose leg. A typical operating crew numbered eight to include a pair of pilots and systems specialists. An in-flight refueling probe was installed for extended endurance.

Power for the aircraft was granted through 2 x Aviadvigatel (Soloviev) D-30KPV turbofan engines delivering 24,500lbs thrust each. The aircraft also relied on 2 x Klimov/RKBM (Kolesov) RD36-35 series turbojet "boosters" for its shorter take-off quality and these produced an additional 5,180lbs of thrust. Maximum speed was listed at 500 miles per hour with an overall range out to 2,200 miles, a service ceiling of 31,825 feet and a rate-of-climb of 5,900 feet per second. The A-40 was cleared to take-off in Sea State 6 (very rough waves reaching 6.5 feet) conditions.

As an active-seeking "submarine hunter", the A-40 was cleared for a variety of naval weapons including the Kh-35 (AS-20"Kayak") anti-ship missile, the Orlan ("Sea Eagle") torpedo and the Korshun ("Kite") guided missile. Support was also made for the dropping of depth charges and naval mines as well as sonobouys. Ordnance is managed through external underwing hardpoints or an internal bomb bay.

Beyond the base A-40 designation (covering the two prototypes), the was to be evolved across several notable variants. The A-40M was intended for modernized versions with updated systems while A-40P was to be a dedicated fire-fighting platform. The A-40PM was a proposed dedicated passenger airliner-type model to which the Be-40PT was to serve in a modular passenger/cargo hauling fashion. A-42 would have marked a projected Search And Rescue (SAR) version and A-44 was to be a standalone maritime patrol platform. The A-42E was another proposed form, this intended as an export variant of the maritime patrol and SAR models.

Despite its unfinished testing phase in the late 1980s, and coupled with the resurgence of Russian military spending, it has been stated that the Beriev A-40 is in consideration once again to replace the wholly-aged Be-12 and IL-38 lines for the modern Russian Navy. The Navy expects to field at least four of the type in its ASW and SAR configurations. The original Soviet Navy requirement was for twenty aircraft before the Soviet collapse.

The Beriev Be-200 is a related A-40 development which utilizes the same basic configuration and stands as a more modern, refined offering. The Be-200 achieved its first flight in 1998 and entered service in 2003 to which nine of the series have been completed up to December 2013. Several variants of this aircraft exist though only Azerbaijan and Russia are its formal operators. While Beriev is the aircraft designer, Irkut is the primary manufacturer of the newer aircraft.


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
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (472mph).

Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Beriev A-40's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (4)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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