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Tue, Mar 01, 2022

Confirmed: World's Largest Plane Destroyed

Super Heavy Airlifter Destroyed In Ukraine During Airport Battle

The sole remaining An-225 Mriya, the only aircraft of its type, has met its end during fighting at the Antonov Airport in Hostomel, Ukraine.

The fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces resulted in the aircraft, then stuck in its hangar undergoing maintenance, catching fire and likely burning up without mitigation. Initial reports vacillated on the condition of the plane, as many hoped it had somehow escaped damage until satellite photos showing large smoke plumes and visible fire were released detailing the expected extent of the damage. 

The operating agency, UkrOboronProm, has said it will make Russia pay for the rebuild or replacement, releasing a statement. They estimate the restoration will be time consuming and cost somewhere in the range of $3 billion, promising that "Mriya will definitely be reborn" over a span of 5 years. 

It remains to be seen whether they actually intend to repair the damaged aircraft, or, if they hope to complete construction on the older, sister plane to the first. Their inheritance of the former soviet program also included an unfinished, second airframe that has seen various efforts to complete the plane in fits and starts. That plane should be far cheaper to bring into airworthy condition, but it would lack the series of strengthening modifications and modernization achieved by the An-225. 

In their statement promising to resurrect the aircraft, Yuriy Husyev, general director of the operator, said (in its as-issued text) "Russia has destroyed our "Mriya", but the dream of Ukraine to get free from the occupier cannot be destroyed. We will fight for our land and our home until we win. And after the victory, we will definitely finish our new "Mriya", which has been waiting for this in a safe place for many years. Everything will be Ukraine!”

FMI: www.ukroboronprom.com

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