(PatriotWise.com)- The only functioning Antonov-225 Cossack was destroyed last week in fighting at the Antonov/Gostomel airport in Kyiv, Ukrainian officials confirmed on Sunday.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed the destruction of the iconic sextuple-engined An-225 named “Mriya” (“Dream” in Ukrainian) which was, until last week, the largest working aircraft in the world.
The An-225 Cossack was a transport craft built by Antonov in 1988 in the Soviet Union. The aircraft was so mammoth, it could airlift 250 tons. Originally built for the Soviet space program, the An-225 was designed to carry the Energia rocket and the Puran spacecraft. It was unveiled at the 1989 Paris Air Show.
The An-225 was more recently used to transport large military equipment, including helicopters during the Afghanistan withdrawal. During the COVID pandemic, the An-225 also airlifted a gigantic consignment of masks from China to Germany.
On Sunday, the Ukrainian defense industry association Ukroboronprom said that during the invasion, the An-225 couldn’t be flown away from the fighting because it was undergoing repairs at the time.
Ukraine’s government has vowed to rebuild the An-225. While this aircraft was the only working model, a second airframe was under construction at the time the Soviet Union fell. This second incomplete An-225 is located in Kyiv. Over the years, there has been periodic work done on the incomplete model. In 2016 there was even an appeal for funding to get the aircraft completed.
Because the original use of the mammoth plane was to assist in space-flight operations, in the past, China expressed interest in using the An-225 to help launch satellites. And the UK explored the possibility of using the aircraft to launch a British space shuttle in the 1990s.
According to the German outlet Bild, repairing the An-225 could cost as much as $3 billion. To simply complete the second An-225 airframe is estimated to cost $450 million.
Watch the video of the “Mriya” landing in England HERE.