The image of the Antonov AN-225 “pack horse” plane – Photo: CNN
The giant plane, called “Mriya” or “Dream” in Ukrainian, was parked at an airport near Kiev when it was destroyed by artillery fire during the military fighting between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainian side accused Russia of attacking and destroying the Mriya.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter: “Russia destroyed the ‘Mriya’ but they will not be able to destroy our dream of becoming a powerful, free and democratic European country. will surpass”.
According to CNN, the information was given by the Ukrainian side and could not be independently verified that the plane was destroyed. Antonov said it could not verify the “technical condition” of the plane until its experts could check it.
On February 27, Ukroboronprom – Ukraine’s defense company, which manages the Antonov – said the plane was destroyed but will be repaired with Russian money, estimated at about 3 billion USD.
“Renovation is estimated to cost more than $3 billion over five years. It is our duty to ensure that this cost is covered by the Russian Federation. They have caused intentional damage to our aviation. Ukraine and the air freight sector,” Ukroboronprom said in a statement.
The company also added that the plane had been parked near Kiev since February 24 and was under maintenance.
“According to the director of Antonov Airlines, one of its engines was removed for repair and the plane could not take off that day despite the appropriate orders being given,” the company said.
On February 25, Russian forces announced that they had captured Hostomel Airport, where the AN-225 was parked. A group of CNN reporters watched Russian paratroopers move into positions.
Satellite images by Maxar Technologies show that part of the hangar of the AN-225 aircraft was significantly damaged. NASA satellite fire information and resource management system (US Aeronautics and Space Administration) Also discovered many fires at the airport Hostomelincluding at the hangar where the AN-225 is stored.
According to NASA data, the fire at the hangar was discovered at 11:13 am on February 27. It is not clear whether the fires at the airport were caused by an air strike or by a fire.
In any case, if the destruction of the AN-225 is true, this will be a sad end for the “pack horse” who has served more than 30 years in Ukraine.
The AN-225 is very useful during large airlifts. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, it shipped relief supplies to the neighboring Dominican Republic. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was used to transport medical supplies to affected areas.
To this day, the Mriya remains the heaviest aircraft ever built. It is powered by six turbofan engines and can carry up to 250 tons, inside or on the back of the aircraft. It has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in service.
Only one AN-225 has ever been built by the Kiev-based Antonov Company, where the plane was designed. It first flew in 1988 and has been in use ever since. Ukraine built a second plane, but never finished it.
The story of the AN-225 begins in the 1960s and 1970s when the Soviet Union was racing into space with the US.
In the late 1970s, there was a need to transport large and heavy equipment from their assembly sites to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan’s desert spaceport and launch pad for space travel. Yuri Gagarin in 1961, Antonov Company was asked to build this aircraft.