Plans have been made for the AN-225 – the world’s largest plane – to be rebuilt, after it was destroyed at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine has a beautiful and diverse landscape. It’s known for being the largest country in Europe (not including Russia) and its national dish is borscht, a well known beet soup. But what you might not have known is that, up until Russia’s invasion at the beginning of 2022, Ukraine was also home to the world’s largest plane.
The destruction of this plane, for lovers of Big Metal Things, was heartbreaking – one of those images from the start of the invasion that was blasted all around the world. Before we go any further, you might like to know the name of this jet.
This was the world’s largest aircraft, AN-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream’ in Ukrainian). Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya’. But they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state. We shall prevail! pic.twitter.com/TdnBFlj3N8— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) February 27, 2022
It’s called the Antonov AN-225, and it was attacked at its base in Hostomel, near Kyiv in February. There are now plans to rebuild it, however, with the manufacturers now suggesting they are going to make good on their promise “the dream will never die” which they made when it was destroyed.
The manufacturers have now said that plans to rebuild the Antonov AN-225 have begun. So, how big was it exactly? The Antonov AN-225 was 84 metres long and had the longest wingspan of any operational plane. It was the heaviest aircraft ever built. Why so huge? The Antonov AN-225 was built in the 1980s to carry the Soviet space shuttle.
As CNN Travel reports, its later life was less ballroom but equally baller as it was the world’s largest cargo transporter, boasting double the hold capacity of a Boeing 747 (the large, long-range wide-body airliner designed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in the United States).
Though the company said it wasn’t able to confirm the condition of the Antonov AN-225 in February, in April, CNN reported that the nose looked to have taken “a direct artillery hit” and was “completely destroyed.”
The wings and engine had also reportedly been badly damaged, while the tail section has escaped major destruction.
This week, however, on November the 8th, the Antonov Company tweeted that the rebuild process is now underway, claiming to have 30% of the parts needed to build a new plane and saying “design work in this direction has begun.” The Antonov Company projected a bill of over €500 million (AUD $771 million) to get it fully operational again, promising more information “after the victory.”
The company told CNN via email that “the process of rebuilding ‘Mriya’ [the plane’s nickname] is considered as an international project, with the participation of aviation enterprises of different countries of the world.”
“The possibility of attracting funding from various sources is being considered and proposals from many organizations that are ready to join the project are being reviewed.”
There you have it. Good news for aviation geeks, that’s for sure.