UKRAINE- Nearly a year and a half ago, the global aviation community was deeply impacted by the unfortunate event of losing the sole Antonov An-225 Mriya, a historic aircraft hailed as the largest ever constructed in the world.
Antonov’s colossal freighter, powered by six engines, was undergoing maintenance at the company’s Gostomel facility near Kyiv. However, this was disrupted by Russian forces’ invasion of Ukrainian territory in February 2022.
An-225 Mriya Condition
On February 27th, during an airport battle, the An-225 aircraft with the registration UR-82060 experienced significant damage. A subsequent portion of it is subjected to destruction.
The aircraft had been situated beneath a hangar awaiting the reinstallation of one of its D-18T engines. Photographic evidence confirming the extent of the damage emerged a few days after the incident.
The images caused a stir, as they revealed that the nearly 300-ton aircraft had suffered a substantial loss to its forward fuselage due to a fire, alongside other areas of damage.
Nearly eighteen months after the unfortunate incident, new photographs have emerged showcasing the altered state of the Mriya (Dream) aircraft.
Igor Lesiv, a journalist from the Aerovokzal website, visited Antonov’s facilities and captured images of the remaining portions of the aircraft.
President Zelensky Remark
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed his inclination towards the completion of the second An-225, although the projected cost of $800 million casts uncertainty over the feasibility of this aspiration.
The question lingers on whether this ambition will materialize into a substantial achievement or merely serve as a symbolic undertaking.
The estimated price tag of $800 million is notably lower than the initial $3 billion estimate quoted by the Ukrainian defense firm, Ukroboronprom, for the restoration of Mriya when its viability was still under consideration.
Second Antonov in Making?
The An-225’s fuselage remains situated within the same hangar, now exposed to the elements. The frontal section has been excised up to the wing edges, leaving the fuselage charred on both sides as a visible reminder of the incident.
Furthermore, the massive landing gear continues to bear the aircraft’s weight, aided by hydraulic jacks. However, most of the wheels lack tires, which has been destroyed in the attack, flags Air Data News.
Interestingly, the appearance of the rear segment of the fuselage gives an impression of preservation. This perception is further heightened by the fact that Antonov has removed the double empennage. This is rumored to contribute to the construction of a second An-225 potentially.
Antonov reports that three out of the six turbofans were salvaged and repurposed in An-124 Ruslan aircraft, the ‘younger sibling’ of the Mriya.
While the prospect of Antonov recreating the An-225 remains uncertain, the hopes of enthusiasts for the revival of this Ukrainian giant remain intact. Further, the possibility of witnessing its return to the skies remains a source of optimism.
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