The “Mriya,” the world’s biggest jet and a symbol of Ukraine, was destroyed as Russian soldiers bombed an airport near Kyiv in the continuing Russian invasion. The Antonov AN-225 Mriya (which means “dream” or “inspiration”) was a Soviet strategic airlift cargo aircraft that had the biggest wingspan and was the heaviest aircraft ever built when it was developed in the 1980s. It was seen as a symbol of independence in many areas of Ukraine, as well as attracted a considerable following among international aviation enthusiasts.
Reports of a big fire in the hangar presumed to contain the AN-225 began to circulate, prompting curiosity as to whether the monster plane was inside. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba tweeted yesterday to confirm the plane’s destruction, and state military corporation Ukroboronprom, which oversees Antonov, has now confirmed it.
The AN-225 will now be rebuilt at a cost of $3 billion USD, according to the corporation. “The invaders may have brought down the jet, but they will not be able to bring down our shared goal.” Mriya will undoubtedly be resurrected. The repair is expected to cost more than $3 billion and take more than five years. In a statement, Ukroboronprom stated, “Our duty is to guarantee that these expenditures be reimbursed by the Russian Federation, which has inflicted purposeful harm to Ukraine’s aviation and air freight industry.”
With a wingspan of 88.4 meters (290 feet) and a gross weight of 640 tons, the Mriya was an incredible achievement of engineering for its day. The Mriya, which is powered by six Progress D-18T turbofan engines, can reach a top speed of 530 miles per hour (850 kilometers per hour) and a maximum height of 9,000 meters (29,527 feet). It was meant to transport rockets and orbiters for the Soviet space program, as well as ultra-heavy freight up to 250,000 kilograms (550,000 pounds), and quickly became a cargo transportation powerhouse.
In the early 2020s, the AN-225 even took part in COVID-19 relief operations, providing crucial medical aid all around the world. The AN-225 was reported to be undergoing maintenance at Antonov Airport in Hostomel, Ukraine, in February 2022. One of the engines had been removed, preventing the plane from taking off.
During the Battle of Antonov Airport on February 24, Russian forces dispatched mass soldiers to the airport near Kyiv via helicopter in an effort to take the location and secure a crucial forward airfield. The airport “changed hands” many times in a conflict involving alleged Russian paratroopers and Ukrainian Armed Forces opposition, and the resistance to Russian control is still ongoing.
Russia claims sovereignty of the location; Ukraine rejects this, claiming that neither side has taken control, but that the airport is too heavily damaged to be usable in any case. The AN-225 was assumed to have been destroyed when the hangar sheltering it was set on fire during the invasion on February 24. The historic jet, according to Antonov, will be completely refurbished at the expense of Russian invaders.