World’s Largest Jet Cargo Aircraft Destroyed in Russian Attack on Ukraine

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія, lit. ”dream’ or ‘inspiration”; NATO reporting name: Cossack) was a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. Originally, this unique aircraft was developed as an enlargement of the Antonov An-124 to transport Buran-class orbiters. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and reintroduced into commercial operation with Antonov Airlines, carrying oversized payloads. While a second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built, construction was halted more than once due to a lack of funding and interest. This second aircraft was last brought up to 60–70% completion in 2009.

As an oversized aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya held multiple records which included; heaviest aircraft ever built, and largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. Other records held by the An-225 were cargo related in terms of weight and length as the Antonov An-225 has the capability to carry up to 640 tonnes (705 short tons). The An-225 attracted a high degree of public interest, so much that it managed to attain a global following due to its size and its uniqueness. People frequently visited airports to see its scheduled arrivals and departures.

The An-225 was at Hostomel Airport when Russian forces launched an attack on the airport on 24 February 2022, as part of the invasion of Ukraine. The aircraft was destroyed in the fighting.

An-225 carrying Buran (1.01) in 1989

Records
The airlifter holds the absolute world record for an airlifted single-item payload of 189,980 kg (418,830 lb), and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,580 lb). It also transported a payload of 247,000 kg (545,000 lb) on a commercial flight.

On 11 September 2001, carrying four main battle tanks[9] at a record load of 253.82 tonnes (279.79 short tons) of cargo, the An-225 flew at an altitude of up to 10,750 m (35,270 ft) over a closed circuit of 1,000 km (620 mi) at a speed of 763.2 km/h (474.2 mph). The hire cost can be US$30,000 (GB£23,220) per hour.

On 11 August 2009, the heaviest single cargo item ever sent by air freight was loaded onto the An-225. At 16.23 m (53 ft 3 in) long and 4.27 m (14 ft 0 in) wide, its consignment, a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia along with its loading frame, weighed in at a record 189 tonnes (417,000 lb).

General characteristics

Crew: 6
Capacity: 253,820 kilograms (559,580 lb)
Length: 84 m (275 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 88.4 m (290 ft 0 in)
Height: 18.1 m (59 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 905 m2 (9,740 sq ft)
Aspect ratio: 8.6
Empty weight: 285,000 kg (628,317 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 640,000 kg (1,410,958 lb)
Fuel capacity: more than 300,000 kg (661,000 lb)
Cargo hold: volume 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft), 43.35 m (142.2 ft) long × 6.4 m (21 ft) wide × 4.4 m (14 ft) tall
Powerplant: 6 × Progress D-18T turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) thrust each
Performance

Maximum speed: 850 km/h (530 mph, 460 kn)
Cruise speed: 800 km/h (500 mph, 430 kn)
Range: 15,400 km (9,600 mi, 8,300 nmi) with maximum fuel; range with 200 tonnes payload: 4,000 km (2,500 mi)
Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,000 ft)
Wing loading: 662.9 kg/m2 (135.8 lb/sq ft)
Thrust/weight: 0.234

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