The Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov Company confirmed that the design work to complete the second An-225 Mriya, the world’s largest aircraft, had already begun.
“Currently, design works in this direction have begun,” the company said in a Facebook post. “According to available expert estimates, currently there are about 30% of components that can be used for the second model of the aircraft. The cost of building the aircraft is estimated at least 500 million euros. However, it is too early to talk about the specific amount.”
The statement follows information revealed by Antonov General Director Eugene Gavrilov in the German newspaper Bild. During an interview at the company’s new base in Leipzig, Germany, Gavrilov said that the “work on the new aircraft is underway at a secret location,” and that some components salvaged from the wreckage of the original aircraft would be used.
The beloved giant of the aviation industry
The An-225 Mriya (which means ‘Dream’ in Ukrainian) was developed as part of the Soviet space program to transport the space shuttle Buran as well as large rocket components. It flew for the first time in 1988. With six engines and 42 tires, it could transport up to 640 tons, making it the most powerful aircraft ever created, and the largest operating.
The aircraft was stored at Hostomel Airport, where Antonov Company is headquartered, when the Russian invasion started on February 24, 2022. Located in the vicinity of Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, the airport was attacked on the first day of the invasion. The alleged goal of Russian paratroopers sent onto the site was to establish a bridgehead for more troops to be flown in. During the battle for Hostomel’s control, Mriya was critically damaged.
A second unfinished airframe of the An-225, initially intended for ground testing, was stored at Hostomel. Its current location is unconfirmed.