Confirmed, AN-225 Mriya Destroyed in Ukraine Invasion

Earlier last week it was reported that the world’s largest plane, the Antonov 225 Mriya, was destroyed by Russian forces in Ukraine. The Mriya, the only one of its kind ever built, was the largest aircraft in the world. Since this news broke, new footage has come to light showing thick smoke pouring out of Mriya’s hanger, followed by footage showing severe damage to the aircraft.

Footage showing extensive fire damage to the hanger and aircraft
Extensive fire damage can be seen in footage circulated online | © Rita Armstrong via Twitter

Mriya – Destroyed in the Ukraine Invasion

Earlier this morning – Friday 4th March – Russian state TV visited the airport and footage from their report shows the inside of the hangar, with the plane and the hangar itself almost totally destroyed. The AN-225’s nose, wings and engines appear completely destroyed by the damage.

AN225 Destroyed
Footage appears to show large parts of the aircraft completely destroyed

The footage comes following a video circulating online yesterday – Thursday 3rd March – showing extensive fire damage to the aircraft and it’s hanger, at Hostomel Airport.

Early Thursday morning last week, Russia invaded Ukraine. The invasion began with missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure near major cities, followed by a land invasion from Ukraine’s Northern, Eastern and Southern Borders. One of the first sites of major conflict was the Antonov Airbase in Hostomel, which saw attacks from Russian helicopters and paratroopers on Thursday evening. Videos can be seen online of Russian Ka-52 and Mi8 helicopters flying towards the airport, which is situated in the northern outskirts of Kyiv.

Second AN225 Airframe
A second airframe is reportedly 60-70% complete | © Antonov

Can a new ‘Mriya’ Rise?

Whilst only one AN-225 was ever completed by Antonov, a second airframe remains intact and stored by the manufacturer near Kiev, Ukraine. The second An-225 was partially built during the late 1980s for the Soviet space program, however following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the cancellation of the Buran (Russian Space Shuttle) program, the airframe was never completed.

Since 2011, there have been several talks about completing the second example with the help of foreign investment. In 2011, China voiced its interest to develop the aircraft into a platform to launch commercial satellites into orbit with and the first phase of the project would have seen the completion of the second airframe that is still stored at Antonov’s facilities outside Kiev, Ukraine, while the second stage called for the recommencement of the An-225’s production in China – leading to potentially a third and fourth example being manufactured. However, high costs doomed these plans, and the project appears to have been quietly abandoned.
AN225 Shell
Then in 2021 it was announced that UkrOboronProm (the parent company of Antonov) was still looking for a foreign investor to help kickstart the project. Yuriy Husyev, the CEO of UkrOboronProm, stated that Ukraine ”is currently having active talks with several countries regarding the development of Ukrainian aircraft fleet”. It is no secret that one of the countries interested in the further development of a number of Ukrainian aircraft designs is Turkey, which has so far publicly showed interest in two Antonov products: The An-178 and An-188 military transport aircraft. The status of Turkey’s plan for potential involvement in the program is currently unknown.
A Birdseye view of the damage

What next for the AN-225?

At the time of writing, Antonov had not replied to a request for comment on the news, however parent company, Ukroboronprom, has issued a statement saying:

“Russians destroy An-225 «Mriya», it will be restored at the expense of the occupant.”
We will continue bringing you the latest news on the AN-225 as the story unfolds, including what may be next for the Mriya. In the meantime, we stand with Ukraine against this horrific invasion. #StopWar
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