AN-225: the giant of the skies destroyed by bombing
Added on Wed April 20th, 2022
The AN-225, the biggest airplane in the world, was destroyed by bombing of the war. The AN-225 was designed in the 1980s by Antonov company to build a large cargo capable of carrying the Buran spacecraft. Its double-drift tail was designed to allow it to carry cargo above the fuselage – as was the case with the Ok-Gli (a kind of space shuttle).
The airplane AN-225 was equipped with six engines, could reach a top speed of 850 km/h, a length of 84 metres, a wingspan of 88.74 metres and a maximum take-off weight of 640 tonnes. It was the flagship of the Antonov, the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing company, which – before independence from Russia – was one of the main Soviet manufacturers of some of the largest cargo planes ever built. Its enormous mass (285 tonnes empty) was supported by 32 wheels, a true Ukrainian dream: the name Mriya means precisely “dream”, while its NATO code name was Cossack.
Temporarily decommissioned after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the Antonov airplane was re-powered in 2001, when it began to fly over the skies for “exceptional” transports. It entered the Guinness Book of Records with some 240 records, including:
- the transport of equipment for an oil pipeline of 247 tonnes from Prague to Tashkent on 16 June 2004;
- in 2009, a generator of 190 tonnes for a gas plant from Frankfurt to Armenia, the largest piece ever transported by an aircraft.
Now, this piece of history has been destroyed and it will cost $3 billion to refurbish it.
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