The Russian Emergencies Ministry signed a $330 million contract on Thursday with the Beriev design bureau for eight Be-200 amphibious planes for firefighting.
The contract was signed at the International Exhibition and Scientific Conference on Hydroaviation, Gidroaviasalon 2010 in Russia's Black Sea resort town of Gelendzhik.
The head of the Beriev design bureau, Viktor Kobzev, the aviation chief of Emergencies Ministry, Rafail Zakirov, the head of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Alexei Fedorov and the head of the Ukrainian Motor Sich engine manufacturer Vyacheslav Boguslaev signed the deal.
The Be-200 Altair, the world's largest multipurpose amphibious aircraft is designed by the Taganrog-based Beriev Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex (TANTK) for fire fighting, search and rescue, maritime patrol, cargo and passenger transportation. It can hold 12 tons of water, or up to 72 passengers.
In August, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took part in putting out wildfires in Ryazan Region on board a Be-200 that scooped up water from the nearby Oka River and dumped it on the flames.
Forest and peat bog fires raged in European Russia in July-August. The fires killed over 50 people, and destroyed more than 2,000 homes and 11 million hectares of crops.
GELENDZHIK (Krasnodar Territory), September 9 (RIA Novosti)