USA / Russia — USA Firefighting Air Corps (USAFAC) announced yesterday that Russia has signed a collaboration agreement with an American company to develop a US-built Beriev Be-200 multipurpose amphibious aerial firefighting jet, and that the collaboration would be headquartered in Colorado.
According to USAFAC, parties to the agreement are Taganrog-based Beriev Aircraft Company and International Emergency Services, Inc., a California company that had contributed materials about the Be-200 earlier this year for the “Special Report: Colorado Firefighting Air Corps,” a report to the Governor and General Assembly on strategies to enhance the state’s aerial firefighting capabilities.
USAFAC co-founder Chris Olson made the announcement before the Colorado Wildfire Matters Review Committee, and said that USAFAC, per the agreement, has joined the collaboration and was in discussions with international financiers to back the initiative’s $500 million proposition.
Present at the hearing was Paul Cooke, Director, Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Colorado Department of Public Safety, who heads the newly-formed Colorado Firefighting Air Corps and who authored the Special Report.
Olson, who sits on the Visioning Subcommittee of Colorado’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, called for a public-private partnership that would establish the Be-200 manufacturing facility in Colorado. He indicated that Alexander Yavkin, Chief Designer of the Beriev Be-200, will lead the Russian collaboration team.
“The Beriev Be-200 is the world’s first jet designed from the ground up to function as a large airtanker,” Olson said. “It has successfully flown missions around the world and has been tested in areas facing the same hot-and-high challenges we have in Colorado,” he said.
The water-scooping jet can also be used for search-and-rescue, environmental monitoring, medical evacuation, and firefighter and cargo transportation operations.
“We should explore every opportunity to promote peace technologies,” Olson told the Committee. “The State Department regularly acknowledges U.S.-Russian collaborations in many sectors,” he said.
Through the Wildfire Matters Review Committee, the Colorado General Assembly reviews state policies and resources addressing wildfire aviation response and related issues.
“This is an example of how America and Russia can always find ways to collaborate on issues of global importance… such as protecting our communities from wildfires,” Olson said.
About USA Firefighting Air Corps
USA Firefighting Air Corps (USAFAC) is a Denver, Colorado company in formation. Its business model draws on the multidisciplinary process which led to the successful establishment, funding, and launch of the Colorado Firefighting Air Corps, an initiative begun in 2012 to keep pace with the state’s increasing need for new fire aviation resources. The mission of USAFAC is to help grow the newly-redefined United States and international aerial firefighting market by assisting local, tribal, state, regional, and national entities in developing and maintaining their own firefighting air corps. For more information, visit http://www.USAFAC.com.