Ukrainian Government: The An-225 Mriya, World’s Heaviest Aircraft, Has Been Destroyed

File photo of the An-225 (Image credit: Petr Beran/Wiki)

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has confirmed that the only An-225, the largest operational cargo aircraft, has been destroyed. Antonov has not confirmed it yet.

There’s yet another victim of the conflict underway in Ukraine: the only Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ (‘Dream” in Ukrainian). The Mriya (NATO reporting name: Cossack) was designed at the end of Cold War and its purpose was to carry the Soviet “Buran” space shuttle and parts of the “Energia” rocket on its back. It operated as the primary method of transporting the Buran-class orbiters from 1988 to 1991. After remaining unused for some years, it was put back in service by Antonov Airlines, a Ukrainian cargo airline, a division of the Antonov aviation company, operating international charter services in the oversized-cargo market with a fleet that included also An-124 Ruslan cargos.

Since then, the An-225 has been used for heavy airlift supporting also international disaster-relief operations transporting huge quantities of emergency supplies as happened during Covid-19 pandemic.

A photo of the An-225 in 2012. (Image credit: Mark Steven/Wiki)

The Antonov An-225 Mriya held multiple records which included being the heaviest aircraft ever built, the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service and the largest cargo in operational service.

The faith of the gigantic aircraft had been already under focus in the early stages of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As we have reported, posts on social media claimed the lone operational An-225 Mriya had been “damaged” during a battle for Antonov Airport, also called “Hostomel” or “Gostomel” Airport.

Then tweets and posts appeared suggesting the aircraft had survived the initial Battle of Antonov Airport. “The only thing that is absolutely certain about the An-225 as of this hour, is that nothing is certain,” we wrote.

As of Feb. 24, 2022, the aircraft was still intact.

However, images coming from the airport on Sunday Feb. 27, showed the very same hangar used to host the Mriya in fire, suggesting the aircraft had been destroyed.

After a few hours, the first official confirmations have arrived.

Still, Antonov has not confirmed the reports yet.

We will update the post as new details/confirmations emerge.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.