The world’s largest aircraft, destroyed in the battle of Russia and Ukraine

An-225 "Mriya" ruined.

It is the largest aircraft with the largest take-off weight in the world. It was produced in the Soviet era and can be called an engineering miracle in the history of mankind.

In the blink of an eye, they became victims of war.

On the 27th, the Ukrainian Defense Industry Corporation announced that the world's only An-225 was destroyed by the Russian army at the Gostomeli Antonov Airport near the city of Kiev on the 24th.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that the An-225 was destroyed in an air strike.

In the photo, under the arc hangar where the An-225 is located, the metal plate top has been blown through, the flames are burning in the hangar, and the outline of the fuselage can be vaguely seen.

At this time, Russia and Ukraine were still at war, with wars raging in many places, smoke of gunpowder everywhere, and people fleeing on a large scale in panic and sadness.

Directly hit the AN-225 bombing site

As soon as the news came out, there were voices of regret:

  • The only and last An-225 in the world is gone.
  • I've always wanted to see this big guy with my own eyes, but I didn't expect to see him again in the video.
  • It wasn't supposed to belong to Ukraine in the first place, it just wanted to go home.

For many people, especially aviation enthusiasts, the An-225 is a pilgrimage.

An-225 has also visited China many times. During the epidemic, it delivered 7 million masks and a large amount of anti-epidemic materials at Tianjin Airport in one trip, and also provided air assistance in various countries.

The Ukrainian Defense Industries Corporation said the plane was being repaired at Gostomel Airport on the day of the war and did not have enough time to leave.

One of the plane's engines was removed, and despite an attempt to issue a takeoff order that day, the plane was unable to take off.

The Ukrainian Defense Industries Corporation said it would repair the plane, but repairing the transport plane would cost more than $3 billion and would take at least five years.

They stated that they would do everything possible to get Russia to pay for it.

However, the company did not elaborate on the details of the bombing of the plane.

Now, the registration numbers of several Antonov transport aircraft, including the An-225, have been cancelled.

But Antonov, where the planes are located, has yet to officially confirm the results, tweeting that the current condition of the planes cannot be verified until they have been inspected by experts.

It didn't take long for things to turn around again online.

The famous Russian host Solovyov refuted the rumor that the image of the Russian army destroying the An-225 that was widely circulated on the Internet was false news.

Because earlier in the day, Ukrainian politician Mariana Bezuglaya showed a photo of the same airport fire on social media, which she said was the result of the Ukrainian military attack on Gostomeli Airport.

What they mean is that the Russian bombing is fake, and the Ukrainian bombing is real.

The Russian side claimed that the Ukrainian army was afraid that after the Russian army occupied Antonov Airport, it would use An-225 and An-124 to transport heavy equipment for support operations, so it instructed artillery to blow up these planes with rockets.

For a while, there were different opinions, and there was no conclusion about who blew up the An-225.

But what is basically certain is that the An-225 cannot escape the fate of being bombed.

NASA's Resource Management System Fire Information detected multiple fires at the airport, including the hangar where the plane was located.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies also show that the part of the hangar where the AN-225 is stored is severely damaged, and the An-225 has a high probability of being destroyed in the hangar.

▲ Image via: Satellite Image © 2022 Maxar Technologies

More facts about the An-225 are yet to be revealed, which, if confirmed by multiple parties, would mark the end of an aircraft that dates back to Soviet times and has been in service for more than 30 years.

Gone is the superpower that could build and repair her.

The unrepeatable miracle of human industry

Can the AN-225 be rebuilt?

This may be the question that haunts everyone.

The technology and engineering behind this Soviet-era aircraft in 1985 still looks amazing today.

It was developed by the Soviet Antonov Design Bureau based on An-124 , with a length of 84 meters, a wingspan of 88.4 meters and a height of 18.1 meters. It is powered by 6 engines and has a maximum load of 250 tons.

The aircraft cannot be made infinitely large, because the wings will deform due to the load in the air, and the AN-225 is already the ceiling of current human technology .

▲ Picture from: Feel's Minuet

In December 1988, the AN-225 completed its first test flight.

When seeing this giant machine made by us soaring at an altitude of 10,000 meters, everyone must sincerely sigh at the greatness of human creativity.

After that, no matter where it flew, as soon as this "star plane" in the aviation industry landed, there were always many famous people who went to see the scenery.

At present, only a few airports in China, such as Shijiazhuang Airport and Tianjin Binhai Airport, are authorized to take off and land. Tram, flying thousands of miles away in Turkey.

This is also the first time that my country's rail locomotives have been exported by air.

Whether it's a car, a truck, a van, or any other plane, it's a little too small in front of it.

In fact, the purpose of the Soviet Union's initial development of this aircraft was to "transport aircraft" – the "Blizzard" space shuttle, the product of the Cold War.

Putting the "Blizzard" on the back of An-225, without disassembly and complete transportation, can not only ensure quality, reduce cycle, but also save a lot of cost to reach the destination.

The An-225 is also used to transport other large aerospace equipment, as well as military strategic materials, including heavy tanks, artillery, missiles, and more.

In the cargo compartment of the aircraft, 16 large containers can also be loaded to transport large sets of equipment and components in the natural gas, oil, mining, energy and other industries.

It is not only huge, but also has a strong cargo capacity and a long range, up to 15,000 kilometers.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine took over the An-225, but also put the aircraft in a state of scrapping due to poor economic conditions.

It was not until the An-124 was opened for lease and became the only super-large cargo aircraft leased by the private sector that the An-225 was taken seriously again. Since 2001, it began to modify and strengthen the fuselage and put it into commercial use. More than 240 world records.

Now, the An-225 is also used to transport extra-large cargo as well as extra-large cargo.

It's just that this giant aircraft, which was born in a special era and meets special needs, does not have such a strong demand in the face of the new commercial market.

A giant aircraft like the An-225 has high requirements on runways and airports, and the cost of operating and maintaining it is also huge.

Moreover, another An-124 has more comprehensive capabilities than An-225 , and has better universality in civilian transportation and military operations.

Whether Ukraine will really repair the An-225, whether it has the technology and ability to repair the An-225, or whether other countries will rebuild the An-225 aircraft, is an unknown mystery.

It's just that An-225 would be a pity if it ended like this.

Hope to see it again one day and split the sky again.

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