KYIV, UKRAINE – The Antonov An-225, the largest aircraft in the world, has been destroyed by the Russian military on February 27, 2022 during the war in Ukraine, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba confirmed on Sunday. There was only one An-225 in the world.
During the 80s of the Cold War, the Antonov An-225 Mriya (Dream) with its six powerful engines was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau and manufactured in Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union, initially with the intention to transport the ‘Buran’ – the Soviet counterpart of NASA’s Space Shuttle – back from its landing site to the Baikonur Space Port in Kazakhstan. Loads of up to 250 tons were no problem for the largest aircraft in the world.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the An-225 – after successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions – was stored for eight years, before it entered service with Antonov Airlines and was stationed at Kyiv Gostomel Airport (Antonov International Airport), Ukraine. The aircraft was mainly used to transport exceptionally large loads for the oil and gas industry, the aerospace sector and other clients.
The An-225 was unique, due to the fact that there was only one aircraft in service worldwide. Three aircraft were initially ordered, but only one was actually manufactured. A second aircraft never flew, because it was not completely manufactured (60-70%), due to a lack of funding and interest.
“Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya’, but they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state. We shall prevail!” Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.
The Ukrainian government said that it is determined to remanufacture the An-225.
Head photo: The Antonov An-225 Mriya on finals at Kyiv Gostomel Airport on March 10, 2015. Photo by Oleg Belyakov (CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL 1.2) via Wikimedia Commons
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