The Beriev Be-12 Chayka is a Soviet turboprop-powered amphibious aircraft designed in the 1950s for anti-submarine and maritime patrol duties.
The Be-12 entered service with Soviet Naval Aviation, or AV-MF (Aviatcia Voenno-Morskogo Flota), in the early 1960s in the maritime patrol role, and is one of the few amphibians still in military service in the world. Initially its role was ASW patrol, but when newer missiles enabled United States Navy submarines to launch from further offshore it was converted to the search and rescue role (Be-12PS).
Small numbers are still in service.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, some aircraft were converted to water bombers for the suppression of forest fires.
During development of the Beriev Be-200 unique fire-fighting equipment was tested using a specially modified Be-12P, code-named “12 Yellow”.
After installation of the fire-fighting system, the aircraft was registered as RA-00046 and given the designation Be-12P-200.
This modified Be-12 was also used to trial firefighting operations envisaged for the Be-200.
According to figures released in 1993, the Russian Navy had 55 aircraft in service.
By 2005 this had dropped to 12, and by 2008 there were only nine aircraft still in service.