Losses and Aviation Safety

Photo seems to Show that the Antonov An-225 Mriya, the largest plane ever built, has been Destroyed (Updated)

The Antonov An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest aircraft might have become a casualty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія, lit. ‘dream’ or ‘inspiration’; NATO reporting name: Cossack), the world’s largest aircraft might have become a casualty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Traveller reports.

A claim confirmed by our friends at Horizon.mt that along with the photos featured in this post write on their Facebook page;

‘As fighting continues between Ukrainian and Russian Military Forces, it seems that the life of the Antonov An-225 Mirya aircraft has come to a sad end when its hangar was hit a few minutes ago at Antonov/Gostomel/Hostomel Airport. The Antonov Company via Twitter confirmed on February 25th that the aircraft was parked at Gostomel Airport and was still intact on Friday.

‘The first picture [below], taken a few minutes after the event most likely from a drone, shows the hanger on fire after being hit by a rocket or missile.

‘While this day will be marked in history for the loss of this aircraft iconic aircraft, we cannot forget the pain, sadness and loss of life due to this conflict.’

According to Traveller, the airport has been targeted by Russian military and some reports say it is under their control, others that the aircraft was destroyed in the fighting, and still others reporting that the airbase has been recaptured by Ukrainian forces.

Gostomel/Hostomel is known as Antonov Airport as it was built by the aircraft manufacturer and is used as a test site.

Gostomel/Hostomel is also home of the world’s largest and heaviest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya. On Feb. 24, 2022 various media outlets and social media accounts reported that the massive cargo aircraft was destroyed when the hangar housing it caught fire.

But in the afternoon of the same day, Dmitry Antonov, chief pilot of Antonov Airlines, owner of the An-225, assured that the Mriya was intact with a post on his Facebook account.

Today instead Antonov wrote:

Friends! There is a full scale war going on. The Ukrainian people are fighting fiercely. Kyiv is repelling the attacks of subversive groups for the third day. Around Kyiv, regular troops of Russia, Chechen detachments. Flying ballistic and cruise missiles in residential buildings. Every night they land troops. Armed Smly Ukraine successfully crush this horde. Belarusian troops enter Ukraine. Hard. But we’ll manage. Victory will be ours. Glory to the Armed Forces. Glory to Ukraine. P.S. There are many rumors about Mriya’s condition. Until there is reliable information, we do not believe in anything.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft ever built. It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built. Its construction was halted in 1994 because of lack of funding and interest, but revived briefly in 2009, bringing it to 60–70% completion. On Aug. 30, 2016, Antonov agreed to complete the second airframe for Airspace Industry Corporation of China (not to be confused with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China) as a prelude to commencing series production.

The Antonov An-225 was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124 that was initially developed for transporting the Buran spaceplane. The only An-225 airplane was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,830 pounds), and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb). It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kg (545,000 lb) on a commercial flight.

Stay tuned for additional updates if further details on this story had to come to light!

Photo credit: @canada_osint via Twitter via Horizon.mt Facebook Page

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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