World's largest plane destroyed
GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)
The largest plane in the world -- Ukraine's Antonov-225 cargo plane -- was destroyed by Russian strikes outside Kyiv on the fourth day of Moscow's invasion, Ukraine's state-owned Ukroboronprom group said. Russian invaders destroyed the flagship of Ukrainian aviation, the AN-225 at the Antonov airport in Gostomel near Kyiv.
- The aircraft was unique to the world, at 84 meters long (276 feet) it could transport up to 250 tonnes (551,000 pounds) of cargo at a speed of up to 850 kilometres per hour (528 mph). It had been named "Mriya", which means "dream" in Ukrainian.
- This was the world's largest aircraft, AN-225 'Mriya' Ukraine' Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
- Weapons manufacturer Ukroboronprom estimated that restoring the "Mriya" would cost over $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) and could take over five years.
- Initially built as part of the Soviet aeronautical program, the An-225 made its first flight in 1988.
- After years of not flying after the fall of the Soviet Union, the only existing copy made a test flight in 2001 in Gostomel, about 20 kilometres from Kyiv.
- It has been operated by Ukraine's Antonov Airlines for cargo flights and was in high demand during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.