Turkey is contemplating buying Beriev Be-200 firefighter planes and a senior official has reportedly flown to Moscow on September 9 in order to examine the aircraft, Turkish media have reported.
“I am going to Russia on Monday to look into Russian firefighters planes. I will personally test the aircraft,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli told Hürriyet Daily News on a visit to Demirören Media Center in Ankara on 6 September.
During his visit to MAKS-2019 air show held just outside Russian capital, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was introduced to the Be-200, following which he is said to have asked Pakdemirli the possibility of purchasing these planes.
“During the visit we will test the plane and will discuss its cost and technicalities. We may buy these planes only after these details are clarified and we come to a conclusion that they can meet our needs,” the minister said.
The country has been employing musty Türk Hava Kurumu (THK - Turkish Aeronautical Association) planes to douse fires. Only two of these aircraft are said to be presently functional.
“Instead, we are using helicopters. We have increased the number of choppers fighting fires from 24 to 30,” Pakdemirli said. “But that does not mean that we won’t need firefighter aircraft. That’s why I am going to Russia.”