New video purportedly documenting the smoldering debris of the iconic Antonov An-225 Mriya emerged Thursday, days after Ukrainian officials confirmed the world’s largest cargo airplane was destroyed during fighting with Russian forces.
“Confirmation the An-225 was destroyed in battles at the Gostomel airport north of Kyiv, along with a lot of military equipment,” U.K.-based ELINT News said in a social media post of the video.
Confirmation the AN-225 was destroyed in battles at the Gostomel airport north of Kyiv, along with a lot of military equipment pic.twitter.com/GGX0bZQ2YT— ELINT News (@ELINTNews) March 3, 2022
The video clip alone is not enough to determine the massive, twin-tail, six-engine jet’s condition, according to Ukraine-based Antonov.
“Currently, until the #AN225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft,” Antonov said Thursday via Twitter. “Please wait for the official announcements about the condition of the aircraft.”
😨 NO NO NO NO…— ANTONOV Company 🇺🇦 (@AntonovCompany) March 3, 2022
Currently, until the #AN225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.
Please wait for the official announcements about the condition of the aircraft#StopRussia #Ukraine https://t.co/pEXDanePTw
‘We Will Rebuild the Plane’
Sunday, officials in Ukraine confirmed the aircraft’s damage.
“The biggest plane in the world ‘Mriya’ [The Dream] was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv,” Ukraine said on social media. “We will rebuild the plane. We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine.”
Questions regarding the fate of the Soviet-era strategic airlift cargo airplane with the 290-foot wingspan immediately began circulating last week following fighting at Antonov International, a cargo airport owned by aircraft manufacturer Antonov.
Ukrainian forces launched an artillery strike and shot down three of 34 Russian attack helicopters that were also accompanied by attack aircraft and fighter jets, according to a statement released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Following the attack, initial reports circulated that the Antonov An-225 Mriya—the only operational copy of the world’s largest cargo airplane—was destroyed amid fighting. The claim, however, was reportedly refuted by an Antonov Airlines captain, who said on social media that while Russian Forces held the airport, the aircraft remained whole, Airlive Media reported.
The jet—and the historic Antonov Design Bureau that designed and built it in the 1980s—has come to symbolize Ukrainian industrial prowess.
During the 20th century, Antonov built several important airplanes for the Soviet Union—including a smaller, four-engine, cargo jet dubbed the An-124 and in the massive, four-turboprop An-22 heavy military transport.
The An-225 was so big it was given the name Mriya, which means “Dream” in Ukrainian. Initially, its mission was to transport the Soviet space shuttle, Buran. In fact, Mriya, with Buran mounted on top, was one of the stars of the 1989 Paris Air Show.
When the Soviet Union ended its shuttle program, the An-225 found a new mission: flying massive equipment such as steam generators and power transformers around the world. Its registration number: UR-82060.
Mriya was designed with a wingspan shorter than Stratolaunch’s carrier aircraft dubbed Roc, which is currently involved in a flight test campaign in California. However, the An-225’s wingspan and length made it the world’s largest commercial airplane.