Russian water bomber on display at Paris Air Show

Russian water bomber on display at Paris Air Show

21 June 2011

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Russia — LE BOURGET — A little-known Russian company is highlighting its firefighting successes to promote the world’s first purpose-built jet water bomber at the Paris Air Show

The Beriev Be-200 Altair has helped fight massive forest fires in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Malaysia, Indonesia and Israel.

It is wooing new customers this week at aviation’s premier air show. The company so far has 26 confirmed and optional sales from Russia, France and Azerbaijan.

Beriev sees a growing threat of huge forest fires because of global warming, and anticipates a global market for more than 100 water bombers in the next decade.

Beriev is especially interested in breaking into the U.S. market, which faces dangerous wildfires every year and where air tankers tend to be old, converted military planes instead of purpose-built ones.

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