The Russian invasion of Ukraine which started in early 2022 has caused many casualties and damage, to this day. According to some estimates thousands of people have been killed or wounded in this conflict. Along with this level of tragic loss, Antonov An-225 Mriya, which used to be the world’s heaviest aircraft, has been destroyed in the Battle of Antonov Airport. In this blog post we are going to take a look at this aircraft and learn about it in great detail, including its history, some of its features and how it was destroyed. As a very distinctive aircraft which sadly got destroyed, it can certainly be worth learning about.
The History of the Antonov An-225 Mriya
In the late 1980s, Antonov An-225 was built in order to carry heavy equipment used in the Soviet space program. The first flight of this aircraft was on the 21st of December 1988 and with the fall of the Soviet Union, An-225 wasn’t used for a while. From 1988 to 1991, it functioned as a cargo aircraft, mainly for large orbiters. However, as a large cargo aircraft was required in 2001, this aircraft was repaired. It then started being used to transport very large or heavy cargo again. For example, some of the cargo carried by this aircraft was large machinery such as generators and diesel locomotives. It also carried some military supplies and the aircraft was even used during the Covid-19 pandemic, carrying medical supplies. So throughout its history, Antonov An-225 was used for a variety of purposes. Also it is worth mentioning that this aircraft broke many world records.
Features of An-225 Mriya
Now that we have taken a quick look at the history of An-225 Mriya, we can now check out some of its features in order to learn what this aircraft was like. It was a quite large cargo aircraft which weighed 285,000 kg (628,317 lb) when empty and had a capacity of 253.820 tonnes (559,580 lb). The maximum takeoff weight of this aircraft was 640,000 kg (1,410,958 lb). Moreover, the length of this large cargo aircraft was 84 meters (275 ft 7 in), its height was 18.1 meters (59 ft 5 in) and with a 88.4 meters (290 ft 0 in) of wingspan, among operational aircraft it had the largest wingspan. In addition, the aircraft had six Progress D-18T turbofans, with each of them having 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) thrust. Lastly the cruise speed of the aircraft was 800 km/h (500 mph, 430 kn) and it could carry a crew of six personnel.
The Destruction of An-225 Mriya
As we have talked about in this post, An-225 was used during the Covid-19 pandemic for carrying medical supplies. It was used for such a purpose from the 2nd to the 5th of February 2022, going back to the Antonov Airport afterwards. While there had been plans to get the An-225 out of the airport, Russian forces attacked on the 24th of February 2022 and a battle took place at the Antonov Airport. A few days later, some reports have stated that Antonov An-225 Mriya was destroyed.
Anon. (n.d.), Antonov An-225 Mriya, Wikipedia, Retrieved 10 June 2022
Anon. (n.d.), 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Wikipedia, Retrieved 10 June 2022
Jack Guy, CNN (Updated 28 February 2022), World’s largest plane destroyed in Ukraine, Retrieved 10 June 2022