NATO Designation "Mermaid"
|Entered service in||1990|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||41.62 m|
|Maximum take off weight||86 - 90 t|
x D-30KPV turbojet engines,
2 x RD-60K turbojet booster engines
x 117.7 kN,
2 x 24.5 kN
|Maximum speed||760 - 850 km/h|
|Cruising speed||720 km/h|
|Service ceiling||16 km|
|Flying range||4 100 - 5 500 km|
|Missiles||6 x "Orel"/ 4 x "Jastreb"/ 4 x "Korshun" anti-ship missiles, or 3 x "Orlan" torpedoes|
The A-40 "Albatros" amphibious
anti-submarine patrol aircraft was developed by G.M. Beriev
design bureau. Design work on the A-40 began in 1983. Aircraft maid it's maiden flight in
December 1986 and entered service in limited numbers in 1990. It is the largest amphibian
aircraft recently operated in the world
and this type has accumulated a number of world-wide performance records. "Albatros" was developed
to replace the Be-12 and Il-38 in anti-submarine
During it's development process aircraft was detected by US intelligence in 1988 and designated as "Mermaid" by NATO. The type was publicly known in the west when the United States announced that it had taken satellite photographs of a jet powered amphibian under development in the Soviet Union.
Overall the A-40 amphibian is also intended to be used as a base to develop various modifications such as search and rescue, transport, firefighter aircraft. Basic (anti-submarine patrol) variant of the "Mermaid" carries a range of armament in it's internal weapons bay placed in the rear part of the fuselage. It is capable of carrying up to 6,5 t of armament including 3 "Orlan" anti-submarine torpedoes, or 4 "Korshun", or 4 x "Jastreb", or 6 x "Orel" anti-ship missiles, or depth charges, mines. This variant of the aircraft has no transport capability.
Aircraft is powered with two "Aviadvigatel" D-30KPV turbojets and two RKMB RD-60K booster turbojets placed over the wing. Booster engines are located beneath the main engines. "Mermaid" has a flying range with maximum fuel in 5 500 kilometers and with maximum payload - in 4 100. Aircraft is completed with an in-flight refueling system. "Mermaid's" flight crew consists from two pilots, flight engineer, radio operator, navigator and three observers.
Recently it is unclear weather the A-40 "Albatros" is in series production due to the lack of funding difficulties in Russian Federation. Anyway it is proposed in the worldwide aircraft markets.
Alongside with the "Mermaid" there was also developed it's variant optimized for search and rescue operations. This variant is known as Be-42 or A-42. Aircraft is intended to transport 37-70 passengers or 53 casualties. The A-42 also carries two LPS-6 motor boats, mechanized ladder and other special equipment such as infrared sensors and equipment necessary to provide medical aid. It is powered with a D-27 turbopropfan engines developed by Ukrainian Progress design bureau. The A-42 carries no weapons. Aircraft has a flight crew of 5 and three medical attendants.
There are some other projects concerning the "Mermaid" such as Be-40P - the 105 seat airliner and the Be-40PT combined airliner and transport aircraft and to provide access to remote areas in the east of Russia, transporting replacement maritime crews. Recently other information concerning these projects is unclear.
From the A-40 "Albatros" also derived a much smaller Be-200 multipurpose amphibious aircraft intended for civil use.