Russians Deploy Cold War Amphib To Battle Sea Drones


The Russian Air Force has dusted off a 60-year-old relic to meet a thoroughly modern threat. A Beriev BE-12 amphibious patrol aircraft has been spotted over the Black Sea and it’s apparently looking for Ukrainian boat drones. The uncrewed boats have had some success in carrying loads of explosives to damage Russian warships. The drones are apparently more than a match for the gangly Soviet-era flying boats, which lack the modern sensor systems needed to track the stealthy little floating bombs.

“Except for some very lucky sightings, the handful of Be-12s the Black Sea Fleet has available should not be counted on to have a major impact on the Russian attempts to stop the Ukrainian USV attacks,” Frederik Mertens, a strategic analyst with the Hague Center for Security Studies, told Newsweek. Mertens also said bringing back the Berievs “shows how far its naval air force is unprepared.” The Be-12 first flew in the 1950s and was originally designed as a surveillance and submarine hunting platform.

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  1. Just a remark:

    These amazing old amphibians use a Russian formula of aluminum that is impervious to the effects of saltwater, a fact that was found out by a Western visitor to the Beriev HQ, who took a peek into the tail section of an old Be-12. Tails are a very sensitive part of a seaplane as salt water often amasses there, especially if it has a tailwheel landing gear (like the Be-12 does).

    To his surprise, the inside looked as if it was new on that old aircraft, thus the metal stood up to saltwater corrosion with ease, something no Western amphibian he had experience of did in those days.

  2. If it has been maintained as well as the rest of Russia’s equipment, it is probably a life sentence to any crew unfortunate enough to fly it. Agree though, it does look uncannily like a Martin PBM. Makes me believe they reversed engineered one like they did the B29 during WWII.