Aircraft

Only example of world's largest aircraft destroyed in Ukraine fighting

Only example of world's larges...
The Antonov An-225
The Antonov An-225
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The Antonov An-225
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The Antonov An-225
Announcement from the Ukrainian Foreign Minister
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Announcement from the Ukrainian Foreign Minister

The world's largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya (NATO name Cossack), has been confirmed to be destroyed in the fighting in Ukraine, according to Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba and satellite images posted on the internet.

The tragedy of war takes many forms and the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has apparently resulted in the destruction of a one-of-a-kind aircraft that is not only a holder of multiple aerospace records, but is also a link to the history of the Cold War and the Soviet space program in its heyday.

The An-225 Mryia, or "Dream", is – or was – a six-engine jet strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was built by the Antonov Design Bureau in the then-Soviet Union as a support aircraft for the USSR's attempt to build its Buran-class orbiters as an answer to NASA's Space Shuttle. Based on the Antonov An124, the An-225 was designed to carry the rocket booster for the Buran and the orbiter itself.

Announcement from the Ukrainian Foreign Minister
Announcement from the Ukrainian Foreign Minister

To achieve this, the An-225 had to be a monster of an aircraft, with a wingspan of 88 m (290 ft) and a maximum takeoff weight of 640,000 kg (1,410,958 lb), making it the heaviest aircraft ever built with the largest wingspan of any aircraft in service. It held the record for the largest single item of cargo, the largest commercial payload, and the largest absolute and military cargo.

Entering service in 1988, only one An-225 was built, though work was begun on a second, but this was abandoned after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The remaining aircraft became a major asset of Antonov Airlines, which used it to transport unusually large and heavy items. In addition, the aircraft was a major airshow attraction.

At the outbreak of the war between Ukraine and Russia, the An-225 was at Hostomel Airport, which came under attack by Russian forces on February 24, 2022. Though there were reports that the aircraft had been destroyed, these remained unconfirmed until the announcement by the Ukrainian government and the appearance on the internet of composite photos and satellite images confirming the giant plane's destruction.

In a press release, the state-owned Ukroboronprom group declared that the An-225 would be restored – a job that would take about five years – and that Russia would be required to foot the bill, which is estimated at US$3 billion.

9 comments
9 comments
Expanded Viewpoint
Uh, yeah. I want to see that invoice for 3+ billion with a B, stamped with red ink Paid in Full on it!! I don't think that I'll hold my breath while waiting for that one. It's a shame that it was damaged though, what a remarkable feat of engineering!!
MarylandUSA
When the An-224 first flew, I was working at the Lockeed plant that was building the giant C-5B Galaxy syrategic milutary transport. I felt a kinship with the Antonov plant and was in awe of the An-225 and its slightly smaller sibling, the 4-engine An-124. Each wing of the 124 was milled from a single 120-foot aluminum bar. At Locked-Georgia, we needed three segments: an outer wing, an inner wing, and a center wing.
MarylandUSA
When the An-224 first flew, I was working at the Lockeed plant that was building the giant C-5B Galaxy syrategic milutary transport. I felt a kinship with the Antonov plant and was in awe of the An-225 and its slightly smaller sibling, the 4-engine An-124. Each wing of the 124 was milled from a single 120-foot aluminum bar. At Locked-Georgia, we needed three segments: an outer wing, an inner wing, and a center wing.
Ornery Johnson
I suppose it's possible that when Russia is found guilty of war crimes, 3 Billion of their international assets could be awarded to Abramov.
clay
Reminds me (a little) of DASH/ISIS destroying our shared Human History by blowing up and hammering ancient Sumerian ~Babylonian ~ Assyrian archeological sites.
With the key difference that we can build another An-224 :-/
Smokey_Bear
3 billion! wow, gotta ask, is it worth it? Was it used for hauling things that can't fit in any other aircraft? if so, what?
Rustgecko
Good luck getting the cheque off Putin.
jeronimo
It's so sad when the bloody-mindness of one person, can cause so much needless death and destruction. The AN-225 was a flying legend. Long live Ukraine, and all what your good people stand for. I just wish their allies could join them and suppress this madness.
doanviettrung
"..war between Ukraine and Russia"? "Russian invasion of Ukraine" is more like it.