Antonov AN-225 Mriya destroyed in Russian Attack

The world's one and only Antonov An-225 Mriya transport aircraft has been destroyed during the 27-Feb Russian attack on Hostomel Airport...

The world's one and only Antonov An-225 Mriya transport aircraft has been destroyed during the 27-Feb Russian attack on Hostomel Airport near Kyiv in Ukraine 

The destruction was visually confirmed after Russian TV Channel One aired footages showing the burnt aircraft in its hangar.

According to Antonov, the aircraft was undergoing maintenance, with one of the engines removed for repairs hence the plane wasn’t able to take off on the attack day to fly to safety.

The aircraft fuselage forward to the wing trailing edge has been completely destroyed, while the rear fuselage seems to be intact. Status of the three port side engines are not clearly visible, while the 3 starboard engines are not damaged.

Antonov has vowed to re-store the aircraft at a cost of USD 3 billion over a period of 5 years with the costs recovered from Russia.

Entering commercial service in 2001, the An-225 has been flying worldwide charter flights, transporting outsized cargoes such as electrical transformers, mobile power generators, satellites and any outsized cargoes inside its 43.3 m long x 6.4 wide x 4.4 m high cabin, with an incredible 250-tonne payload capacity.

Originally developed to transport the Soviet era Energiya carrier-rocket and Buran space shuttle between space facilities in the former Soviet Union, the AN-225 entered commercial service in 2001, operated by Antonov Airlines, a subsidiary of Ukraine's Antonov Aircraft Company.

A second AN-225 airframe was also built but was not completed due to lack of funds. In 2016, China signed a agreement with Ukraine to complete the second airframe.

First flown in 1988, the AN-225 was a stretched and modified version of the AN-124 Ruslan, which first flew in 1982. Major modifications included the extended fuselage which resulted in a 9 m increase in cargo bay length, six turbofan engines, and the redesigned empennage.

The aircraft had undergone a service life upgrade refit to remain operational until at least 2033. With a maximum take off weight of 640 tonnes, the Mriya is powered by six Progress D-18T turbofan engines.

It is capable of cruising at speeds of 800 km/h with an operational ceiling of 9000 m and flight range of 15,400 km.

The An-225 also uses the AN-124-100’s nose gear, which allows it to ‘kneel’ so that cargo can be easily loaded and unloaded. However, unlike the AN-124-100, which has a rear cargo door and ramp, the AN-225’s empennage design was changed from a single vertical stabilizer, to a twin tail with an oversized, swept-back horizontal stabilizer.

AN-225 carrying the Soviet Buran Space Shuttle

This twin tail enabled the aircraft to carry large, heavy external loads, which would normally disturb the airflow around a conventional tail.

The AN-225’s cargo compartment can be pressurized, extending the aircraft’s transport capabilities. Its onboard cargo handling equipment, plus the design of the forward cargo door and its integral ramp, also ensure quick and easy loading/unloading operations.