The A-42 (Be-42) amphibious plane is the search and rescue variant of the A-40 Mermaid ASW aircraft, which can be used for reconnaissance and target designation during patrols over coastal and international waters. It is the largest amphibious aircraft in the world.
"The Russian naval aviation will receive four A-42 amphibious planes by 2013, with the first one to be commissioned in 2010," the deputy commander of naval aviation, Maj. Gen. Nikolai Kuklev.
He said the A-42 would become the main reconnaissance and ASW aircraft of the Russian Navy after 2015 and would replace the ageing fleet of Be-12 Mail and Il-38 May maritime patrol aircraft.
At present, Russia deploys nine Be-12 aircraft with the Black Sea Fleet and has about 40 Il-38 planes operating with the Northern and Pacific fleets.