Antonov has announced that design work has started on rebuilding the world’s biggest aircraft the AN-225.
About 30 per cent of the one damaged by the Russian invasion is usable and preliminary estimates put the price tag of completing a second An-225 at €500 million.
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Earlier this year the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced his intention to build another AN-225 MRIYA aircraft, dedicating this project to the memory of pilots who died in the war and, in particular, during the defence of Mariupol.
“But in this case, it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of ambition. Ukroboronprom, the Antonov team, approached us. This is a question of the image of our country and all the excellent professional pilots who died in this war,” Mr Zelensky said.
“How much they have done, and today we can already say how many lives of people who remained in Mariupol, especially in Azovstal they saved … How many pilots gave their lives to bring everything there, from weapons to water. And how many wounded they took from there. A large number of these people died heroically,” the President said.
The world’s largest transport aircraft, the AN-225 MRIYA was destroyed during the battles for the airport Gostomel at the end of February 2022.
AN-225 MRIYA holds a series of world records for the transportation of commercial cargo.
There is a second unfinished MRIYA with the fuselage almost complete along with the critical wing box to which the wings are attached.
The wings, tail and engines of the MRIYA, severely damaged in February, are relatively intact and may be able to be repaired and used for the second aircraft.
In an earlier post, the Antonov, which operates the AN-225 and the smaller AN-124 said that “the destruction of the legendary, unique An-225 plane by the Russians became a heavy blow not only for the “ANTONOV” company but also for the entire world community. Therefore, for us, the restoration of “Dreams” is an important task!”
With its maiden flight in late 1988, the Mriya became the world’s heaviest aircraft with the largest wingspan (88.4 meters).
Throughout its 30 years in service, it set over 200 world records, including for the heaviest cargo load (253.8 tons) ever lifted by an aircraft.