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AN-225: Plans to rebuild world’s largest aircraft confirmed

(CNN) — For avgeeks, the destruction of the world’s largest industrial aircraft was one of many key photos in the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In February, the Antonov AN-225 was attacked at its base in Hostomel, close to Kyiv.

Now it appears to be like like they’ve stayed true to their phrase, with the corporate saying that plans to rebuild it are already underway.

Nicknamed “Mriya” — Ukrainian for “dream” — the large aircraft was constructed within the Eighties to hold the Soviet house shuttle.

Its later life, whereas barely much less glamorous, was equally iconic — it was the world’s largest cargo transporter, with round twice the maintain capability as a Boeing 747, successful cult standing amongst self-styled avgeeks. It stretched to 84 meters, or 275 toes, with the longest wingspan of any absolutely operational airplane. To date, it’s the heaviest plane ever constructed.

The aircraft’s nostril took a direct hit, in response to CNN journalist Vasco Cotivio, who noticed it in April.

Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Its destruction was introduced on February 27 2022, with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeting that “Russia may have destroyed our ‘Mriya’… but they will never be able to destroy our dream of a strong, free and democratic European state.”

The Antonov Company mentioned on the time that it was unable to confirm the situation of the aircraft, whereas CNN journalist Vasco Cotovio famous that the nostril had apparently taken “a direct artillery hit” and was “completely destroyed” when he noticed it on an April go to.

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“There was extensive damage to the wings and some of the engines. The tail end section was spared from any large impacts and has a few holes caused by either shrapnel or bullets,” he mentioned on the time, predicting {that a} restore can be unlikely.

On Monday, nevertheless, the Antonov Company introduced in a tweet that the rebuild venture had already begun, with “design work” already within the offing. While it had estimated restore prices, the corporate predicted a invoice of over €500 million ($502 million) to get it again within the air, promising extra data “after the victory.”

Already the corporate has round 30% of the elements wanted to construct a brand new one, it introduced.

Originally, Ukrainian state protection firm Ukroboronprom, which manages Antonov, had issued a press release estimating the restoration at over $3 billion — which it vowed to make Russia pay. The rebuild would take at the very least 5 years, it mentioned on the time.

It will cost more than $502 million to rebuild, said the company.

It will price greater than $502 million to rebuild, mentioned the corporate.

Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Antonov subsequently confirmed to CNN that it was engaged on the venture.

“The process of rebuilding ‘Mriya’ is considered as an international project, with the participation of aviation enterprises of different countries of the world,” it mentioned by way of electronic mail.

“The possibility of attracting funding from various sources is being considered and proposals from many organizations that are ready to join the project are being reviewed.”

The firm mentioned it will coordinate the analysis, design and meeting, and confirmed that there are nonetheless major airframe models for a brand new aircraft that haven’t been destroyed.

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“The program is developing in the direction of carrying out an expert assessment of these units, for subsequent calculations and design works,” it wrote, including that the construct would happen “immediately after the victory of Ukraine.”

The announcement coincides with the launch of an exhibition devoted to the aircraft at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany, which is house to 5 different Antonov plane. “Light and shadow: The Antonov story” exhibits pictures of the plane earlier than and after its destruction, specializing in the engineering prowess that was misplaced when it was attacked. It might be on show till the top of December.

At the opening, Oleksiy Makeiev, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, introduced that though he’d flown on “almost all AN aircraft, the Mriya remained a dream for me,” in a press release launched by the corporate.

“We hope that it will be restored and we will see this mighty bird in the sky again,” he added.

In the meantime, should you’re lacking Mriya, you may construct your personal — or, at the very least, your personal mannequin. Ukrainian startup Metal Time is promoting working mechanical design kits of the AN-225. Each price $99, and earnings go straight to Antonov to fund the Mriya rebuild, in addition to the rehousing of Antonov staff whose houses have been destroyed by the Russian invasion, and coaching for brand new Ukrainian pilots and aviation engineers.

Jacopo Prisco and Jack Guy contributed to this report



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