Beriev Be-6 - “The Arctic Seagull”
The Be-6 is an all-metal, gull-winged flying boat, designed in the post war period in the Soviet Union to perform a wide variety of maritime missions. After having enjoyed a long service life in the real world, this flying gunship is now preparing to take off from the seas and oceans of War Thunder as well!
The first prototype of the Be-6 flew in 1945, only a couple years after the initial plans for the new Soviet flying boat were laid down in 1943. Evaluation of the first prototype showed that the aircraft could be improved in some areas to achieve better performance. Thus, Beriev engineers equipped the following model, that would become the production version, with more powerful Shvetsov ASh-73 engines and changed the defensive armaments layout from six 12.7mm UBT machine guns to 23mm NR-23 cannons, followed by the reduction in turret count from 5 to 3. This improved variant had its maiden flight in 1951, with serial production following shortly after.
After its introduction to service in 1951, the Be-6 was tasked with performing various roles fitted for a maritime aircraft, such as reconnaissance, sub-hunting, patrolling, transportation and mine-laying. The aircraft enjoyed a long service life thanks to the fact that significant changes within the Soviet navy, at least when float planes were concerned, were few and far between during the Cold War. However, the Be-6 didn’t only serve with the Soviet Union. The Chinese also received a number of Be-6s for their naval air force. The Be-6 remained in active military service with the Soviet Union until the late 1960’s, and up to the 1990’s with the Chinese Naval Air Force, thanks to modernization efforts. The Chinese changed, among other things, the powerplant of the Be-6 to the WJ-6 turboprop and redesignated the Be-6 to the Qing-6. A total of around 120 Be-6s were produced between 1949 - 1957.
In War Thunder, the Be-6 will strive to fill the gap in the hangars (and hearts) of pilots who eagerly waited for such an addition to the Soviet aviation tree. This gorgeous flying boat will be available as a Premium vehicle in our online store, with a pack of Golden Eagles and days of Premium account. The Be-6 will give pilots a solid “gunship” platform on the one hand, whilst providing excellent support for both tankers and sailors on the other. The aircraft will have a sizable maximum payload of around 4 tons, consisting of either bombs or two torpedoes, allowing the aircraft to feel right at home regardless of what the mission target for the day is.
However, just like all aircraft, the Be-6 too comes with its own set of flaws and shortcomings. For instance, whilst possessing formidable defensive capabilities that is sure to make seasoned pilots think twice before attacking, the aircraft also has a number of blind spots, which enemy fighters can easily exploit to their advantage to approach the Be-6 without taking fire. Another serious problem the Be-6 is confronted with is its lackluster speed, which tops out at 415 km/h (258 mph). Pilots must take this limiting factor into consideration when piloting the Be-6, otherwise they run the risk of easily falling prey to enemy fighters and ground fire.
All in all, the Be-6 should be a welcome addition to the medium ranks of the Soviet aviation tree, especially to those players who enjoy taking these very unique aircraft into battle. Look out for this new Soviet flying boat in War Thunder’s Update 1.71!
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The War Thunder Team