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300px-Antonov An-225 with Buran at Le Bourget 1989 Manteufel

An AN-225 carrying the Russian shuttle Buran.

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія, Dream, NATO reporting name: 'Cossack') was a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. It was the world's heaviest aircraft. The design, built in order to transport the Buran orbiter, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124. The An-225's name, Mriya (Мрiя) means "Dream" (Inspiration) in Ukrainian.

The first An-225 was completed in 1988 and a second An-225 has been partially completed.

The Antonov An-225 was commercially available for flying any over-sized payload due to the unique size of its cargo deck.

The An-225 was destroyed inside its hangar in 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[1]


The An-225 was designed for the Soviet space program as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. Able to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle, its mission and objectives are almost identical to that of the AirbusBeluga and the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.[2]

The An-225 first flew on 21 December 1988. The aircraft was on static display at the Paris Air Show in 1989. Two aircraft were ordered, but only one An-225 (tail number UR-82060[3]) was ever operational. It was commercially available for carrying ultra-heavy and oversize freight, up to 250,000 kg (550,000 lb) internally[2] or 200,000 kg (440,000 lb) on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage could be 70m long.[4] A second An-225 was partially built during the late 1980s for use by the Soviet space program. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the cancellation of the Buran space program, the lone operational An-225 was placed in storage. The six Lotarev engines were removed for use on An-124s, and the second An-225 airframe (nearing completion and awaiting engines) was also mothballed.


An-225 3d drawing

A multiview of the An-225.

The An-225 was an extension of Antonov's earlier An-124. To meet the needs of its new role, fuselage barrel extensions were added fore and aft of the wings, which received root extensions.[2] Two more Lotarev D-18 turbofan engines were added to the new wing roots, bringing the total to six, and an increased-capacity landing gear system with 32 wheels was designed. The An-124’s rear cargo door and ramp were removed to save weight, and the empennage was changed from a single vertical stabilizer to a twin tail with an oversized horizontal stabilizer. The twin tail was made necessary by the requirement to carry very large and heavy external loads, which would disturb the aerodynamics of a conventional tail. Unlike the An-124, the An-225 was not intended for tactical airlifting,and was not designed for short-field operation.[2]


A profile of the 225

With a maximum gross weight of 640 tonnes (1,411,000 lb), the An-225 was the world's heaviest and largest aircraft. The Hughes H-4 Hercules, known to most as the "Spruce Goose," had a greater wingspan and a greater overall height, but was considerably shorter, and due to the materials used in its construction, also lighter. In addition, the Hercules only flew once and never climbed above 21.3 m (70 ft), making the An-225 the largest aircraft in the world to take off multiple times.[5] The An-225 was also larger than the Airbus A380 airliner, and considerably bigger than the Antonov An-124, Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter, and Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, the nearest equivalent heavy airlifters.

In September 2001, carrying a record load of 253.82 tonnes of cargo, the An-225 flew at an altitude of two kilometers (1.243 miles) over a closed circuit of 1000 km at a speed of 763.2 km/h (474.23 mph).[6]

In November 2004, FAI placed the An-225 in the Guinness Book of Records for its 240 records.

Operational Service[]

Diffirant paint job an225

The many paint jobs it has had!

In the late 1980s, efforts were begun by the Soviet government to generate revenue from its military assets. In 1989, a holding company was set up by the Antonov Design Bureau as a heavy airlift shipping corporation under the name "Antonov Airlines", based in Kiev, Ukraine and operating from London Luton Airport in partnership with Air Foyle HeavyLift.[4][7].

The company initiated operations with a fleet of four An-124-100s and three Antonov An-12s, but by the late 1990s a need for aircraft larger than the An-124 became apparent. In response, the original An-225 was re-engined, modified for heavy cargo transport, and placed back in service under the management of Antonov Airlines.

On May 23 2001, the An-225 received its type certificate from the Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (IAC AR).[8] The type's first flight in commercial service departed from Stuttgart, Germany on January 3, 2002, and flew to Thumrait, Oman with 216,000 prepared meals for American military personnel based in the region. This vast amount of ready meals was transported on some 375 pallets and weighed 187.5 tons.[9]

18 o 1 b1

Another profile.

Since then, the An-225 had become the major workhorse of the Antonov Airlines fleet, transporting objects once thought impossible to move by air, such as locomotives and 150-ton generators, and had become a valuable asset to international relief organizations for its ability to quickly transport huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations.[10]

By 2000, it had become apparent that the demand for the An-225 had exceeded the airline's booking capacity, and in September 2006 the decision was made to finish the second An-225. As of March 2022, this has not been completed.

Beginning in June 2003, the An-225, along with An-124s, delivered over 800 tons of equipment to aid humanitarian efforts in Iraq.[11]

The An-225 had also been contracted by the Canadian and U.S. governments to transport military supplies to the Middle East in support of Coalition forces.[10]

In late February 2022, a conflict started suddenly between Ukraine and Russia. At the time, the An-225 was undergoing heavy maintenance and so couldn't be moved from its hangar at Gostomel Airport in Ukraine to a safer location.[12] Satellite and aerial images during the first week of the conflict showed damage to the aircraft's hangar, but the exact status of the plane itself was unknown.[13] In early March 2022, a news report showed the wreckage of the An-225, confirming its total loss.[14]

The status of the unfinished second An-225, and whether or not another An-225 will be built, currently remain undetermined.


Specifications (An-225)[]

See also[]

Related development:

Similar aircraft


External links[]