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SOURCE: THE HINDU

Russia’s state-run United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the maker of Su-35 and MiG-57 fighter jets, is now tapping Indian market with its Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft, which can be used as a cargo or a passenger airplane by the corporate sector. “As India is now discussing the need to expand regional connectivity, we believe our Be-200 jet will fit into the new strategy very well as it can take off and land on water so it does not necessarily needs to be based at the airports,” Sergei Ganin, Head of R&D Center of Beriev Aircraft Company, a unit of UAC, told BusinessLine.

The company has been in talks with India’s corporate houses and government agencies for its amphibious jet and is planning to showcase the capabilities of Be-200 at the Aero India Show in Bangalore next month, said UAC officials, on the sidelines of the Global Aviation Summit.

The Be-200 jet was designed by the Beriev bureau in 1998, primarily for aerial wildfire-fighting with the use of water or fire-extinguishing liquids, and is now positioned as a passenger or cargo airplane.

“In India, we are targeting corporate houses that could use the plane either for cargo transportation or for business travel,” said Ganin, and added that India’s long coastline and diverse geography will make it an attractive market for the Be-200.

Global sales

So far, the UAC has not been successful in finding buyers for the first modifications of the Be-200 globally, including in Asia.

In India, the company had offered the jet in 2010 when the Indian Navy has floated a tender for amphibian planes, but the tender was never finalised.

Over the years, Japan’s ShinMaywa emerged as a preferred partner for this deal leaving behind the Be-200 and Canadian Bombardier with its CL0425 platform. According to industry sources, India has renewed talks for acquiring 12 ShinMaywa US-2i Amphibious and Rescue (SAR) aircrafts for around $1.6 billion with Japan.

The UAC is only focusing on civil deals in India at the moment, said company officials. The company is among 30-odd defence companies listed by the US State Department in its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) Act.

“Being on the sanctions list does not affect our business related to civil aircrafts. We are now working on delivering two contracts signed with the US and Chile for delivery of around 10 aircrafts,” said Ganin.