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Russia to resume A-42 amphibious aircraft production.

| 2019

The Russian Navy will receive the biggest in the world Albatros A-42 amphibious airplane. Its design was suspended in 1993. Now the aircraft will be modernized and accepted into service. The gigantic flying boat has universal combat features. It can detect and track nuclear submarines and engage in rescue operations in a rough sea. A-42 will have the latest equipment and improved depth bombs and torpedoes, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russia to resume A 42 amphibious aircraft production Beriev A-40 at Gelendzhik, 2004 (Picture source: Wikipedia)

Defense Ministry sources told the newspaper the decision in principle to resume A-42 production had been made. The ministry is drafting tactical and technical requirements to the upgraded project. The main one is to create a universal antisubmarine and rescue aircraft. So far, the acquisition of three aircraft is planned. However, the sources could not say when the work to produce the gigantic amphibian would begin.

A-42 will be upgraded to expand combat capabilities. It will get a new radar comprising a viewing sight, heat seekers, piloting and navigational complex to measure sea waves, and a new communications equipment. The amphibious aircraft is likely to have two propfan D-27 engines to increase the range to 9300 km. Air refueling system will be also provided.

A-42 will be able to engage in air and electronic reconnaissance. It can detect, identify and track surface, underwater and coastal targets and determine their coordinates. If necessary, the aircraft can destroy them with onboard weapons, lay minefields and acoustic counteraction means. Besides, A-42 can search for submarines with a submergible acoustic sonar.

Albatros is one of the biggest amphibious airplanes in the world. It is 45 meters long and the maximum takeoff weight is 90 tons. The design began in early 1990, but the production of a prototype was suspended three years later when the aircraft was 80 percent ready.

A-42 was initially designed as a rescue aircraft to replace Be-12. It has to evacuate the crews of warships and submarines in distress. Albatros received a whole set of technical means to find people at sea. There are several options. The aircraft can drop rescue means from the air. In case of an urgent evacuation, it can land on water and take people onboard. A-42 has big side hatches in the bow and stern and a boat with rescuers can be floated through them. The amphibious aircraft can take 53 people onboard. It has a surgery room for urgent assistance.

The main mission of the upgraded Albatros is to search for and destroy submarines, former Navy Chief-of-Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov believes. "The upgrade will provide modern submarine detection means and increase the combat capabilities. Such aircraft is designed for operations in coastal waters, including in the Baltic, Black, Barents Seas and the Sea of Japan. Albatros is equipped with a set of devices to detect submarines. It can drop special buoys and other instruments to detect the adversary," he said.

In good weather the aircraft can land on water and detect a submarine by acoustic sonar, Selivanov said. A-42 is good for rescue operations, as it can quickly fly to the area of a distressed submarine and land close to it to the maximum to rescue the crew, the Izvestia said.

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