The current Russian military operation has destroyed different parts of Ukraine. Although both sides suffered losses to quite an extent in the operation that began on February 24 (2022), the amount of damage in Ukraine is much higher. Apart from human beings, many of Ukraine’s architectural properties and other assets have also been affected by Russian aggression. One of the most important among them is the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya. On February 26, a Russian missile attack destroyed Mriya. The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Ivanovych Kuleba, confirmed the news, saying that Kiev would rebuild this aircraft.
Mriya, which means dream or inspiration in Ukrainian language, was manufactured by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. However, this aircraft was not built for passenger transport, as it was a cargo aircraft. This aircraft was destroyed when a Russian missile hit the Hostomel Airport near Kiev on February 26 (2022).
The Antonov Aeronautical Design Bureau of Ukraine had designed the aircraft during the Soviet Era in 1980s. Viktor Tolmachev (August 11, 1934 – June 7, 2018), a Russian engineer and a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, was the Chief Designer of the An-225 Mriya. Although Antonov built the aircraft in 1985, it took off on December 21, 1988 for the first time. After serving the Soviet Army for three years, the aircraft remained unused for eight long years. Later, Ukraine decided to use the aeroplane for commercial purposes.
Apart from being the largest aircraft in the world, An-225 Mriya created a number of records. It was also the heaviest aircraft in the world, and its wingspan was the largest. This aircraft could fly with a weight of more than 705 tonnes. It had created a record of carrying a single cargo weighing 189,980kg. It had also set a unique record of flying with 253,820kg of cargo. Tourists used to visit Ukraine every year mainly to have a good look at An-225 Mriya.
It may be mentioned here that the erstwhile Soviet Union had used An-225 Mriya to move rocket boosters, and even other aircraft, from one place to another during various space research programmes.
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