June 5, 2023

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AN-225: The largest aircraft in the world destroyed in Ukraine

AN-225: The largest aircraft in the world destroyed in Ukraine

(CNN) – The largest plane in the world Antonov AN-225It was destroyed during the Russian invasion of Ukraineaccording to Ukrainian officials, is causing panic and sadness among the aviation world in which it occupies a semi-cult status.
The giant plane, called “Mriya” or “Dream” in Ukrainian, was parked at an airport near Kiev when it was attacked by Ukrainian “Russian occupiers”. the authorities Adding that they will rebuild the plane.
Russia may have destroyed our Maria. But they will not be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state. We will win! ” Wrote Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter.
There was no independent confirmation of the plane’s destruction. a tweet From the company Antonov said that it could not verify the “technical condition” of the aircraft until it was examined by experts.
Ukraine’s state defense company Ukroboronprom, which operates Antonov aircraft, issued on Sunday statment They say the plane was destroyed but will be rebuilt at Russia’s expense – an estimated cost of $3 billion.

“It is estimated that the restoration work will take more than $3 billion and more than five years,” the statement said. “Our task is to ensure that these costs are covered by the Russian Federation, which has caused deliberate damage to Ukrainian aviation and the air cargo sector.

Later statmentThe company said the plane was on the ground near Kiev on February 24 and is undergoing maintenance.

“According to the director of Antonov Airlines, one of the engines was dismantled for repair and the plane was not able to take off that day, despite proper orders,” it added.

Russian forces claimed to have captured Hostomel Airport, where the AN-225 was, on Friday. A CNN team on the ground saw Russian airborne forces take up their positions.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies show significant damage to part of the hangar where the AN-225 is stored.

Meanwhile, NASA’s Resource Management Fire Information System detected multiple fires at the airport, including in the hangar where the aircraft is located. The fire was detected in the hangar at 11:13 a.m. Sunday, according to NASA data, obtained from a number of NOAA and NASA satellites.

It is not clear whether these fires at the airport were the result of actual fires or explosions from military strikes.

If confirmed, the attack would mark a horrific end to an aircraft that saw more than 30 years of service dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.

The AN-225 was sometimes formulated to help airlift aid during crises in other countries. In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, it delivered relief supplies to the neighboring Dominican Republic. During the early days of the Covid epidemic, it was used to transport medical supplies to affected areas.

Its popularity in the world of aviation meant that it often attracted large crowds wherever it went, particularly when it starred at air shows.

Some of her fans took to social media on Sunday to express their dissatisfaction with the allegations that the plane was destroyed. “Mriya – you will always remember!” Aviation blogger Sam Chui wrote in Twitter.

To this day, the Mriya remains the heaviest aircraft ever built. It is powered by six turbine engines, and has a maximum payload of 250 tons, which can be carried inside or on its back. It has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service.

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Only one An-225 was built by Kiev-based Antonov, which came up with the design. The flight first took place in 1988 and has been in service ever since.

He started building a second plane but it was never finished.

The story of the An-225 began in the 1960s and 1970s, when the Soviet Union was in a race with the United States into space.

By the end of the 1970s, the need arose to transport large and heavy loads from their assembled places to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a sprawling spaceport in the Kazakhstan desert that was the starting point for Yuri Gagarin’s pioneering space flight in 1961.

The cargo in question was the Buran spacecraft, the Soviet Union’s response to NASA’s space shuttle. Since there were no aircraft at that time capable of carrying it, the Antonov Corporation was ordered to develop one.

CNN’s Barry Nield contributed to this story