World’s largest plane ‘Mriya’

On the fourth day of Russian invasion to Ukraine, Russia destroyed the largest plane in the world called “Ukraine’s Antonov-225 cargo plane”. The plane was destroyed outside Kyiv.

Key Points

  • According to weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom, restoring “AN-225 Mriya” would cost over USD 3 billion and could take over five years.
  • The aircraft was unique to the world. It was 84 meters long and could transport up to 250 tonnes of cargo at a speed of 850 kilometres per hour.
  • Missile has been named Mriya, which means “dream” in Ukrainian.

Where was it located amid Russia-Ukraine crisis?

The An-225 aircraft was located at Hostomel Airport when Russia launched an attack on Ukrainian airport on February 24, 2022. It was destroyed on February 27.

Background

Maria was initially built as part of Soviet aeronautical program. It made its first flight in 1988. Mriya has been operated by Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines for cargo flights. It was in high demand during Covid-19 pandemic.

Antonov An-225 Mriya

Antonov An-225 Mriya was a strategic airlift cargo aircraft. It was designed by ‘Antonov Design Bureau’ in Ukrainian SSR within Soviet Union during 1980s. The unique aircraft was developed, as an enlargement of Antonov An-124, initially to transport Buran-class orbiters.

Records of Antonov An-225 Mriya

As an oversized aircraft, it held multiple records including:

  1. Heaviest aircraft ever built.
  2. Largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.
  3. It has the capability to carry up to 640 tonnes.

Design of the aircraft

The aircraft was designed to airlift Energia rocket’s boosters and Buran-class orbiters for Soviet space program. It was developed to replace the Myasishchev VM-T. The original mission and objectives of An-225 are almost similar to that of United States’ Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The lead designer of the An-225 was Viktor Tolmachev.

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