REVIEW - Greek Internet Users Praise Russian Aircraft For Fighting Wildfires

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th July, 2021) The Russian Beriev Be-200ES amphibious aircraft leased to Greece for the summer season has been well received by the Greek social media users for its contribution to firefighting.

Greece, due to its Mediterranean climate, experiences long dry summers with extremely high temperatures especially during the months of July and August. The country, as a result, regularly suffers from devastating forest fires. In 2018, the Attica wildfires claimed the lives of 102 people.

The country's wildfire service fleet includes Canadair CL-215, Pezetel PZL-M18 Dromader aircraft and leased firefighting helicopters. Beriev Be-200 ES, however, has some unique features which make it the "right tool" for aerial firefighting efforts in Greece. It has larger water tanks 12,000 liters (3,170 gallons) compared to the Greek Canadairs 5,455 liters, more powerful jet engines, and a 32.8 meters (107 feet) wingspan.

Such a combination allows the aircraft to make steeper approaches to the Greek mountainous terrain and pour more water before every refill from the sea.

The plane landed in Greece on June 30. The Russian crew operates on a daily basis as the high temperatures together with the strong winds "fuel" forest fires.

"The aircraft is very powerful and capable operationally, it's not by accident that we have nicknamed it the bear from its first day of operations when it put out a fire in Isthmus," Vassilis Vathrakogiannis, the fire brigade spokesman, told Sputnik Greece.

BERIEV: THE NEW internet CELEBRITY

The videos of the Russian amphibious aircraft in action are shared daily on social media, with many users praising the bravery of the crew.

"Whoever brought this aircraft [to] Greece deserves [compliments], amazing results," a Twitter user said.

Another YouTube user suggested that it would be good for the country to add this aircraft to its fleet on a permanent basis.

Similar reactions came from Facebook users, saying "this plane is a very good option for Greece, I think the country should get this model, I was in the recent big fire just outside of Athens, when the fire started climbing a hill it was impossible for the firefighters to follow, so Beriev, came through and put the fire out effectively."

The aircraft will continue its operation in the southeast European country throughout the summer and will return to its Russian base after the lease expires in autumn.