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    Russia to set up three amphibious aircraft groups to fight wildfires

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    Russia's Emergencies Ministry is planning to create three squadrons of Be-200 amphibious planes to fight forest fires, Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.

    Russia's Emergencies Ministry is planning to create three squadrons of Be-200 amphibious planes to fight forest fires, Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.

    Russia experienced an acute shortage of aircraft to control forest fires that had swept across central Russia last summer.

    Three Be-200 air squadrons are to be created: two in Russia's Far East, most likely in Khabarovsk, as well as in Krasnoyarsk, and one in central Russia, Shoigu said.

    They should have the capability of "effectively putting out fires the day they break out," he added.

    The Beriev Be-200 is a multipurpose amphibious aircraft designed by the Beriev Aircraft Company and manufactured by Irkut. It has a capacity of 12 metric tons of water, or up to 72 passengers.

    Shoigu earlier said the ministry would procure eight Be-200s within the next two years.

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