A Russian naval Beriev Be-200 utility amphibious plane flew to Turkey on Thursday to help Ankara fight wildfires in the country, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
“On the instruction of the president of the Russian Federation, Russian Defence Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu has sent a Be-200 amphibious plane of the Russian Navy’s naval aviation to help the Turkish Republic extinguish fires,” the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement quoted by TASS.
The ministry added that the plane left Krymsk airfield in the afternoon to Adana, Turkey, where it will temporarily be based.
“The plane’s crew has been trained at the Yeisk Naval Aviation Combat Employment and Retraining Centre and has practical experience of fulfilling tasks of this kind,” the ministry added, according to TASS.
Personnel from that aviation centre will provide the aircraft with maintenance throughout the Be-200’s temporary deployment in Turkey.
Wildfires are not uncommon in Turkey. On June 27, forest fires broke out in the Turkish resort of Marmaris on the Mediterranean near hotels and quickly spread by wind. Firefighters supported by six helicopters, bulldozers, and water tankers battled the flames. One forest worker was killed, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
According to a 2019 report, Turkey faced 503 forest fires between July 20 and Aug. 20 of that year which destroyed 1,344 hectares (or 3,321 acres) of land.
The Be-200 can carry 12 tonnes of water that it can use to extinguish such blazes. Furthermore, according to TASS, the aircraft “can fill its tanks in 14 seconds while skimming the water surface at a speed of 150-190 km/h”.