New images show how Russia destroyed world's biggest plane in Ukraine

New images show how Russian soldiers completely obliterated the world’s biggest plane – and a symbol of Ukrainian pride – during early days of their invasion

  • New pictures show the scale of the wreckage of the Ukrainian-made Antonov-225 Mriya at Hostomel airport
  • The world’s largest plane was destroyed during a Russian attack in the early days of the invasion
  • Ukraine has now recaptured the airport, revealing the extent of destruction on the bullet-ridden plane  

New images have emerged showing the scale of devastation wrought upon the world’s largest plane after it was burnt during a Russian attack on a Ukrainian airfield.

The Antonov-225 Mriya, meaning the Dream, was obliterated at the Hostomel airport near Kyiv in February.

Ukraine recaptured the airport but the extent of destruction to the plane, which had been a major source of national pride, had not been revealed until now.

The cargo plane has six engines and weighs 314 tonnes and it was considered a significant blow for Russia in the early weeks of the invasion.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said: ‘Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya, but they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state. We shall prevail!’

State arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom had suggested it could cost more than $3billion (£2.24billion) to repair, the plane, which they would try to get Russia to pay.  

New images have emerged showing the scale of devastation wrought upon the world’s largest plane after it was burnt during a Russian attack on a Ukrainian airfield

The Antonov-225 Mriya, meaning the Dream, was obliterated at the Hostomel airport near Kyiv in February

A Ukrainian service member walks in a front of an Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo plane, the world’s biggest aircraft, destroyed by Russian troops

Ukraine recaptured the airport but the extent of destruction to the plane, which had been a major source of national pride, had not been revealed until now

The wreckage of a cargo airplane is seen amid the destruction at the military airport in the town of Hostomel, on the outskirts of Kyiv

The plane has a vast history, and was used in 1991 to bring two children, then aged 10 and 11, who were victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster to the US for treatment

The cargo plane (pictured in its heyday), which has six engines and weighs 314 tonnes, could cost more than $3billion (£2.24billion) to repair, a sum Ukraine’s state arms manufacturer Ukroboronprom said it would try to get Russia to front up

The ‘legendary’ plane was originally designed by the Soviet Union when it controlled Ukraine as a Socialist republic. 

The Antonov An-225 Mriya was designed and built in Ukraine in the 1980s by the Antonov Corporation. The massive craft measures 275 feet (84 meters) long, with a 288-foot (88 meters) wingspan – almost twice the width of a traditional football field.

And it is capable of carrying a payload equivalent to ten battle tanks or some 418,000 pounds (189,601 kg).    

In a statement retweeted by the Ukrainian President’s office, the country said after it was destroyed: ‘We will rebuild the plane. 

‘We will fulfill our dream of a strong, free, and democratic Ukraine.’

The cargo plane has six engines and weighs 314 tonnes and it was considered a significant blow for Russia in the early weeks of the invasion

The wreckage of the world’s largest cargo plane Antonov An-225, which was severely damaged and rendered unusable due to Russian bombardments

The cargo plane is covered in bullet holes more than a month after it was subjected to intense shelling by Russian forces

The ‘legendary’ plane was originally designed by the Soviet Union when it controlled Ukraine as a Socialist republic

The Antonov An-225 Mriya was designed and built in Ukraine in the 1980s by the Antonov Corporation

The massive craft measures 275 feet (84 meters) long, with a 288-foot (88 meters) wingspan – almost twice the width of a traditional football field

It is capable of carrying a payload equivalent to ten battle tanks or some 418,000 pounds (189,601 kg)


Since the attack on the plane, images and footage have emerged showing the severely burnt plane, with black smoke billowing from the wreckage

A satellite image collected over Antonov Airfield shows the destroyed former hangar of the Antonov An-225 Mriya sitting north of military vehicles clustered around main hangars and a static aircraft to south, as well as nearby warehouse engulfed in flames on February 28

A history of the world’s largest plane 

The Antonov An-225 Mriya was designed and built in Ukraine in the 1980s by the Antonov Corporation. 

The massive craft measures 275 feet (84 meters) long, with a 288-foot (88 meters) wingspan – almost twice the width of a traditional football field. 

The massive craft measures 275 feet (84 meters) long, with a 288-foot (88 meters) wingspan – almost twice the width of a traditional football field. 

It was originally designed by the Soviet Union when it controlled Ukraine as a Socialist republic. 

The plane has a vast history, and was used in 1991 to bring two children, then aged 10 and 11, who were victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster to the US for treatment.

The An-225 was once was used to transport a Soviet space shuttle on its roof. 

The plane also picked up an enormous 117 tonne power generator from the Czech Republic in 2017 and delivered to an aluminium-ore mining company in western Australia, where it will be used to power large drills and excavating machinery.

Without a load, the colossal Antonov An-225 Mriya can fly for up to 18 hours without stopping to refuel.

The unloading phase of the generator on board could take up to 10 hours.

The plane carried the world’s longest piece of air cargo in 2010, two 42.1m test turbine blades from Tianjin, China to Skrydstrup, Denmark, according to stuff.

And in 2011 the plane transported the heaviest single cargo item sent by air freight.

It was a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia which weighed 189 tonnes.

In May 2016 more than 15,000 spectators came to Perth Airport in western Australia to witness Mriya arrive.

In 2018 the aircraft paid a flying visit to the UK to deliver cargo to RAF Brize Norton before flying off to Greece.

The aircraft’s operator opened a new base at Stansted Airport, but the jet is a frequent visitor to the UK as well as around the world.

In 2020 the plane was used to carry medical supplies to Poland during the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe.

The An-124-Ruslan, a smaller version of the aircraft, made an appearance in Auckland in 2020 as it was delivering new engines for Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner fleet.

In 2021, Ukrainian strongmen athletes attempted a world record for pulling the plane at an airfield in the settlement of Hostomel outside Kyviv, Ukraine.

The eight strongmen beat the previous record, pulling the plane by 4 metres 30cm in 1 minute and 13 seconds.

 

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as Soviet Ukraine, was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union.

At the time of the invasion the plane was unable to fly to safety as it was undergoing repairs at the airport. 

NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System detected multiple fires at the airport, including at the hangar where the plane is stored, CNN reports. 

A fire broke out at the hangar where the plane is kept and was detected at 11.13am local time on February 27, according to the NASA data. 

The plane has a vast history, and was used in 1991 to bring two children, then aged 10 and 11, who were victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster to the US for treatment.

The An-225 was once was used to transport a Soviet space shuttle on its roof. 

Ukroboronprom boss Yuri Gusev, 42, said: ‘The Russians destroyed An-225 ‘Dream’, it will be restored at the expense of the occupant.

‘Russian invaders destroyed the flagman of Ukrainian aviation – the legendary An-225 ‘Dream’. 

‘This happened at Antonov Airport in Gostomel near Kiev, where the plane was. 

‘Its restoration will cost more than $3billion and will take a long time. Ukraine will put all its efforts to make these work paid by the state-aggressor.

‘The invaders destroyed the plane but they can’t destroy our common dream. She will surely be reborn.’

It said estimations put the cost of restoring the plane at more than $3billion in a timeframe of more than five years. 

He added: ‘Our task is to make these costs covered by the Russian Federation, which caused deliberate damage to Ukrainian aviation and freight aviation sector.

‘Russia destroyed our ‘Dream’, but the dream of free from occupant Ukraine is impossible to destroy. 

‘We will fight for our land and our home to a victorious end.’ 

The maker of the plane, the Antonov Company, said: ‘Currently, until the AN-225 has been inspected by experts, we cannot report on the technical condition of the aircraft.’ 

The plane was designed and built in Ukraine in the 1980s and is used to move heavy cargoes. An enormous 117 tonne power generator was picked up from the Czech Republic in 2017 and delivered to an aluminium-ore mining company in western Australia, where it will be used to power large drills and excavating machinery.

Without a load, the colossal Antonov An-225 Mriya can fly for up to 18 hours without stopping to refuel.

The unloading phase of the generator on board could take up to 10 hours.

The plane carried the world’s longest piece of air cargo in 2010, two 42.1m test turbine blades from Tianjin, China to Skrydstrup, Denmark, according to stuff.

And in 2011 the plane transported the heaviest single cargo item sent by air freight.

It was a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia which weighed 189 tonnes.

In May 2016 more than 15,000 spectators came to Perth Airport in western Australia to witness Mriya arrive.

A fire broke out at the hangar where the plane is kept and was detected at 11.13am local time on February 27, according to the NASA data

Without a load, the colossal Antonov An-225 Mriya could fly for up to 18 hours without stopping to refuel

Ukrainian servicemen inspect a damaged hangar including the largest Ukrainian transport plane Antonov An-225 Mriya ‘Dream’, at the Gostomel airfield yesterday

Some cities and villages surrounding the capital have recently been recaptured by the Ukrainian army from Russian forces

In 2020 the plane was used to carry medical supplies to Poland during the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe

The plane was designed and built in Ukraine in the 1980s and is used to move heavy cargoes

The massive craft measured 275 feet (84 meters) long, with a 288-foot (88 meters) wingspan – almost twice the width of a traditional football field

In 2018 the aircraft paid a flying visit to the UK to deliver cargo to RAF Brize Norton before flying off to Greece.

The aircraft’s operator opened a new base at Stansted Airport, but the jet is a frequent visitor to the UK as well as around the world.

In 2020 the plane was used to carry medical supplies to Poland during the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe.

The An-124-Ruslan, a smaller version of the aircraft, made an appearance in Auckland in 2020 as it was delivering new engines for Air New Zealand’s Dreamliner fleet.

In 2021, Ukrainian strongmen athletes attempted a world record for pulling the plane at an airfield in the settlement of Hostomel outside Kyviv, Ukraine.

The eight strongmen beat the previous record, pulling the plane by 4 metres 30cm in 1 minute and 13 seconds.

The Antonov AN-225 Mriya

The AN-225 had a huge wingspan of nearly 290 feet wide and six engines and 32 wheels. 

The AN-225 was the heaviest aircraft ever built and could carry up to 250 tonnes of cargo.

The unit price of the Antonov AN-225 Mriya before its alleged damage today was between US$200million and US$250million. 

The AN-225 Mriya could fly at a maximum speed of 850km/h.

It had a wingspan of 88 metres (289ft) and a length of 84 metres (276ft) , making it the longest aircraft in existence.

Its cargo hold, at 43 metres long (141ft), was longer than the distance of the world’s first powered plane flight, completed by the Wright Brothers in 1903, at 37 metres (121ft).

It required at least six crew: a pilot, co-pilot, two flight engineers, navigator, and radio operator. It was designed as a strategic airlift cargo aircraft.

It had a passenger capacity of 70 and was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union during the 1980s.

The Ukrainian plane that was damaged on February 27 in a Russian shell attack was the only one remaining in operation. 

Source: GH Aviation 

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