The Antonov AN-225 Mriya, the world's largest aircraft, was destroyed by Russian forces, Ukraine confirmed in a Tweet Saturday morning. The aircraft was parked on an airfield near Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, when it was attacked by the Russians. According to Ukroboronprom, the state defense company that manages Antonov, "One of the engines was dismantled for repairs and the plane wasn’t able to take off that day, although the appropriate commands were given." Although the aircraft was confirmed to be damaged by the Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs, the extent of the damage is currently unknown. However, satellite imagery and what appears to be drone footage circulating Twitter suggest that the aircraft was on fire, but this has not been verified.
In a separate statement, Ukroboronprom confirmed that the Antonov AN-225 Mriya will be restored, but stated that it will cost over three billion dollars and take over five years. The company plans to "Ensure that these costs are covered by the Russian Federation, which has caused intentional damage to Ukraine’s aviation and the air cargo sector."
The incident shocked the aviation community, as the AN-225 was very popular with aviation photographers and enthusiasts worldwide. Whenever the aircraft flew to an airport, there would always be groups of people waiting to see it, particularly because of how unique and rare it was. Aviation photographers and enthusiasts everywhere expressed their dismay at the destruction of the aircraft.
The AN-225 is the only aircraft of its type, powered by six turbofan engines and boasting a weight of over 600,000 pounds, as well as a 32-wheel landing gear. The Antonov aircraft also broke multiple records in the aviation world.
The loss of the Mriya will certainly hurt the aviation and transport industry, as the aircraft was able to transport cargo for 30 years through the air that no other airplane could ever carry. It helped deliver aid for relief efforts in various crises and events, most recently delivering supplies for COVID-19 related aid.
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