The official government account of Ukraine has confirmed that the sole An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest operational aircraft, has been destroyed. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also confirmed that as a result of attack and capture of Ukrainian civil Kyiv-Antonov airport (Gostomel, GML) by Russian troops, the largest aircraft in the world AN-225 Mriya was damaged and burned down.
Antonov, which owns and flies the unique 250-tonne payload AN-225 Mriya (meaning dream or inspiration) in its tweet noted that “until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.”
Update on the information of #AN225 "Mriya" aircraft: Currently, until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.
— ANTONOV Company 🇺🇦 (@AntonovCompany) February 27, 2022
“The aircraft was at the home base in Ukraine for maintenance. The loss of this unique aircraft, which was the real piece of technical art, is a great loss not only for Antonov Company and Ukraine but for the entire aviation world…”
The An-225 was developed as part of the Soviet space program to transport the space shuttle Buran as well as large rocket components. It flew for the first time in 1988. With six engines and 42 tires, it could transport up to 640 tons, making it the most powerful aircraft ever created, and the largest operating.
The program initially planned on building two aircraft, but only one was completed before the fall of the Soviet Union. The incomplete airframe of the second giant is resting in another hangar at Antonov Airport. Its current condition is unknown.
The aircraft which had clocked more than 30 years in operations was instrumental in the transportation of Covid-19 supplies to Namibia last July after receiving further refurbishment and was expected to carry out special missions for more than another decade.
Mriya holds multiple records including the heaviest aircraft ever built and the absolute world record for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kg and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg. It also transported a payload of 247,000 kg on a commercial flight.