The world's largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225, has been destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine

 


 The world's largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225, has been destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, 🇺🇦generating alarm and sadness among the aviation world in which it occupies almost cult status.


The enormous aircraft, named "Mriya," or "dream" in Ukrainian, was parked at an airfield near Kyiv when it was attacked by "Russian occupants," Ukrainian authorities said, adding that they would rebuild the plane

Ukrainian state defense company Ukroboronprom, which manages Antonov, on Sunday issued a statement saying the aircraft had been destroyed but would be rebuilt at Russia's expense -- a cost it put at $3 billion.

"The restoration is estimated to take over 3 billion USD and over five years

 

largest cargo plane in the world

With a wingspan of 290 ft and a length of 275 ft (88 by 84 mt), the Antonov An-225 is a true monster of the skies. This giant plane weighs around 285 tonnes when empty, and is officially the world's biggest cargo plane. 

Nicknamed the "Mriya" or Мрія in Ukrainian (meaning dream), this enormous plane has been in commercial service since 2001. 

When debuted in 1988, the An-225 was around 50% bigger than any airliner that had been seen before.

 

 

The "Mriya" is powered by six huge Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofan engines, each capable of pumping out over 51,600 lbs (23 tonnes) of thrust on takeoff. 

The aircraft's landing gear consists of no less than 32 wheels in 16 pairs. This enables the Antonov An-225 to be able to actually turn within a 200 ft wide (61 mt) runway.

But despite its size, the "Mriya" is not the biggest cargo plane ever built. For example, the Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose" had a larger wingspan of 320 ft (97.5 mt), although it was shorter, at 220 ft (67 mt).

But, while the "Spruce Goose" is now only a museum exhibit, the Antonov An-225 is the largest cargo plane in operation.

The Antonov An-225 is also dwarfed by the much larger Stratolaunch with its wingspan of 383 ft and a length of 240 ft (117 by 73 mt). The Stratolaunch first flew in 2019, although it has yet to be used in regular flights or for its original purpose of carrying air-launch-to-orbit rockets and satellites.

 

How many Antonov 225s are there?

The Antonov An-225 is one-of-a-kind. Only one airframe was ever completed during the Soviet-era. A second airframe was also commissioned but was never completed.


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