Antonov An-225 Mriya

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An-225 Mriya
Antonov An-225 Beltyukov-1.jpg
The An-225 in current livery in 2012
Role Strategic airlifter
National origin Soviet Union / Ukraine
Design group Antonov
Built by Antonov Serial Production Plant
First flight 21 December 1988
Status In service
Primary user Antonov Airlines
Produced 1988
Number built 1
Developed from Antonov An-124

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія (Dream), NATO reporting name: "Cossack") is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Soviet Union's Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. The An-225's name, Mriya (Мрiя) means "Dream" (Inspiration) in Ukrainian. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes (710 short tons). It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe was partially built; its completion was halted because of lack of funding and interest.

The Antonov An-225, initially developed for the task of transporting the Buran spaceplane, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads.[1] The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,834 pounds),[2][3] and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,577 lb).[4][5] It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kilograms (545,000 pounds) on a commercial flight.[6]


The Antonov An-225 was designed to airlift the Energia rocket's boosters and the Buran space shuttle for the Soviet space program. It was developed as a replacement for the Myasishchev VM-T. The An-225's original mission and objectives are almost identical to that of the United States' Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.[7][8]

An-225 at Farnborough in 1990

The An-225 first flew on 21 December 1988 with a 74-minute flight from Kiev. The aircraft was on static display at the Paris Air Show in 1989 and it flew during the public days at the Farnborough air show in 1990. Two aircraft were ordered, but only one An-225 (registration CCCP-82060 later UR-82060[9]) was finished. It can carry ultra-heavy and oversize freight, up to 250,000 kg (550,000 lb) internally,[7] or 200,000 kg (440,000 lb) on the upper fuselage. Cargo on the upper fuselage can be 70 metres (230 ft) long.[10]

A second An-225 was partially built during the late 1980s for the Soviet space program. The second An-225 included a rear cargo door and a redesigned tail with a single vertical stabilizer. It was planned to be more effective for cargo transportation.[11] Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the cancellation of the Buran space program, the lone operational An-225 was placed in storage in 1994.[12] The six Ivchenko-Progress engines were removed for use on An-124s, and the second uncompleted An-225 airframe was also stored. The first An-225 was later re-engined and put into service.[5][13]

By 2000, the need for additional An-225 capacity had become apparent, so the decision was made in September 2006 to complete the second An-225. The second airframe was scheduled for completion around 2008,[14] then delayed. By August 2009, the aircraft had not been completed and work had been abandoned.[1][15] In May 2011, the Antonov CEO is reported to have said that the completion of a second An-225 Mriya transport aircraft with a carrying capacity of 250 tons requires at least $300 million, but if the financing is provided, its completion could be achieved in three years.[16] According to different sources, the second jet is 60–70% complete.[17]

In April 2013, the Russian government announced plans to revive Soviet-era air launch projects that would use a purpose-built modification to the An-225 as a midair launchpad.[18][needs update]


An-225 main landing gear

Based on Antonov's earlier An-124, the An-225 has fuselage barrel extensions added fore and aft of the wings. The wings also received root extensions to increase span. Two more Progress D-18T turbofan engines were added to the new wing roots, bringing the total to six. An increased-capacity landing gear system with 32 wheels was designed, some of which are steerable, enabling the aircraft to turn within a 60 m (200 ft) wide runway. Like its An-124 predecessor, the An-225 has nosegear designed to kneel so cargo can be more easily loaded and unloaded.[5] Unlike the An-124, which has a rear cargo door and ramp, the An-225 design left these off to save weight, and the empennage design was changed from a single vertical stabilizer to a twin tail with an oversized horizontal stabilizer. The twin tail was essential to enable the plane to carry large, heavy external loads that would disturb the airflow around a conventional tail. Unlike the An-124, the An-225 was not intended for tactical airlifting and is not designed for short-field operation.[7]

An-225 Ivchenko Progress D-18T turbofan engines

Initially the An-225 had a maximum gross weight of 600 t (660 short tons), but from 2000 to 2001 the aircraft underwent modifications at a cost of US$20M such as the addition of a reinforced floor, which increased the maximum gross weight to 640 t (710 short tons).[19][20][21]

Both the earlier and later takeoff weights establish the An-225 as the world's heaviest aircraft, being heavier than the double-deck Airbus A380. It is surpassed in other size-related categories, however: Airbus claims to have improved upon the An-225's maximum landing weight by landing an A380 at 591.7 tonnes (1,304,000 lb) during tests,[22] and the Hughes H-4 Hercules, known as the "Spruce Goose", has a greater wingspan and a greater overall height. But the Spruce Goose is 20% shorter and overall lighter, due to the materials used in its construction. It also flew only once, making the An-225 the largest aircraft in the world to fly multiple times.[5][23]

The An-225's pressurized cargo hold is 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft) in volume; 6.4 m (21 ft 0 in) wide, 4.4 m (14 ft) high, and 43.35 m (142 ft 3 in) long[5][24][25] — longer than the first flight of the Wright Flyer.[26][27][28]

Operational history

Antonov An-225 at Manchester Airport in 2006

During the last years of the Soviet space program, the An-225 was employed as the prime method of transporting the Buran space shuttle.[23]

Antonov commercialization

Taxiing during a refueling stop at Bangor International Airport.

In the late 1970s, the Soviet government was looking to generate revenue from its military assets. In 1989, the Antonov Design Bureau set up a holding company as a heavy airlift shipping corporation under the name "Antonov Airlines", based in Kiev, Ukraine and operating from London Luton Airport in partnership with the Air Foyle HeavyLift.[10][29]

The company began operations with a fleet of four An-124-100s and three Antonov An-12s, but a need for aircraft larger than the An-124 became apparent in the late 1990s. In response, the original An-225 was re-engined, modified for heavy cargo transport, and placed back in service under the management of Antonov Airlines.

Antonov An-225 at Gostomel Airport, Ukraine

On 23 May 2001, the An-225 received its type certificate from the Interstate Aviation Committee Aviation Register (IAC AR).[30] On 11 September 2001, carrying four main battle tanks[5] at a record load of 253.82 tonnes (279.79 short tons) of cargo,[4] the An-225 flew at an altitude of up to 10,750 m (35,270 ft)[31] over a closed circuit of 1,000 km (620 mi) at a speed of 763.2 km/h (474.2 mph).[32][33]

Regular commercial flights

The type's first flight in commercial service departed from Stuttgart, Germany on 3 January 2002, and flew to Thumrait, Oman with 216,000 prepared meals for American military personnel based in the region. This vast number of ready meals was transported on some 375 pallets and weighed 187.5 tons.[34]

The An-225 has since become the workhorse of the Antonov Airlines fleet, transporting objects once thought impossible to move by air, such as 150-tonne generators. It has become an asset to international relief organizations for its ability to quickly transport huge quantities of emergency supplies during disaster relief operations.[35]

The An-225 has been contracted by the Canadian and U.S. governments to transport military supplies to the Middle East in support of coalition forces.[35] An example of the cost of shipping cargo by An-225 was over 2 million DKK (approx. €266,000) for flying a chimney duct from Billund, Denmark to Kazakhstan in 2004.[36]

Antonov Airlines An-225 landing at Gostomel Airport, 2014

On 11 August 2009, the heaviest single cargo item ever sent via air freight was loaded onto the An-225. At 16.23 metres (53.2 ft) long and 4.27 metres (14.0 ft) wide, its consignment, a generator for a gas power plant in Armenia along with its loading frame, weighed in at a record 189 tonnes (417,000 lb).[2][3]

During 2009, the An-225 was painted in a new blue and yellow paint scheme,[37] after Antonov ceased cooperation with AirFoyle and partnered with Volga-Dnepr in 2006.[38]

On 11 June 2010, the An-225 carried the world's longest piece of air cargo, two 42-meter long test wind turbine blades from Tianjin, China to Skrydstrup, Denmark.[39][40][41]


 Soviet Union

Specifications (An-225 Mriya)

File:Giant planes comparison.svg
Comparison between four of the largest aircraft:
  Antonov An-225
Antonov An-225 Mriya taking off at Gostomel Airport

Data from Vectorsite,[7] Antonov's Heavy Transports,[42] and others[5][13][24][25]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 6
  • Length: 84 m (275 ft 7 in)
  • Wingspan: 88.4 m (290 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 18.1 m (59 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 905 m2 (9,740 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 8.6
  • Empty weight: 285,000 kg (628,317 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 640,000 kg (1,410,958 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 300,000 kg
  • Cargo hold – volume 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft), length 43.35m, width 6.4m, height 4.4m
  • Powerplant: 6 × ZMKB Progress D-18 turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) thrust each


  • Maximum speed: 850 km/h (528 mph; 459 kn)
  • Cruising speed: 800 km/h (497 mph; 432 kn)
  • Range: 15,400 km (9,569 mi; 8,315 nmi) with maximum fuel; range with 200 tonnes payload: 4,000 km (2,500 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,089 ft)
  • Wing loading: 662.9 kg/m2 (135.8 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.234

Notable appearances in media

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. 1.0 1.1 "World's largest aircraft, An-225, emerges to set new lift record". Flight International, 17 August 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cargo manifest picture Air Cargo News 13 November 2009. Retrieved: 30 May 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ukraine's An-225 aircraft sets new record for heaviest single cargo item transported by air, Eye for Transport, 18 August 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 An-225 (An-225-100) "Мрiя". Russian Aviation Museum, 20 October 2001. Retrieved: 31 October 2010.
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  12. Antonov An-225 Mriya.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport" Military Factory, 23 August 2012. Retrieved: 6 September 2012.
  14. Antonov An-225 Mriya Aircraft History, Facts and Pictures. Aviationexplorer
  15. The Mriya 2: Pictures.
  16. "$300m needed for completion of An-225 transport, says Antonov CEO."
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  19. Forward, David C: "Antonov's Dream Machine", p. 23. Airways magazine, June 2004
  20. Spaeth, Andreas: "When size matters", p. 29. Air International magazine, December 2009
  21. Gordon, Yefim; Dmitriy and Sergey Komissarov: "The Six-Engined Dream", page 76. Antonov's Heavy Transports: The An-22, An-124/225 and An-70. Midland, 2004. ISBN 1-85780-182-2.
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  23. 23.0 23.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "AN-225 Mriya" Retrieved: 6 September 2012.
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Antonov An 225" Air Charter Service. Retrieved: 6 September 2012.
  26. "Milestones of Flight – 1903 Wright Flyer"Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
  27. "100 Years Ago, the Dream of Icarus Became Reality." FAI NEWS, December 17, 2003. Retrieved: January 5, 2007.
  28. Lindberg, Mark. "Century of Flight." Wings of History Museum, 2003. Retrieved: August 27, 2011.
  29. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  30. Type Certificates for Aircraft at the Wayback Machine (archived April 30, 2008)
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  36. Steelcon News. Retrieved: 13 June 2010.
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  38. Ingram, Frederick C. Volga-Dnepr Group Retrieved: 24 July 2010.
  39. Record breaking journey Renewable Energy Sources, 11 June 2010. Pictures: 1 2. Video. Retrieved: 13 June 2010.
  40. "Ukraine's Mriya An-225 aircraft sets new record" Kyiv Post, 11 June 2010. Accessed: 2 October 2014.
  41. "Record-breaking air freight move"
  42. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links

External media
image icon An-225 image gallery
image icon Second Antonov An-225 (line no. 01-02) under construction, September 2004
image icon Second Antonov An-225 under construction, August 2008
image icon Second Antonov An-225 under construction, August 2008
video icon An-225 on YouTube The worlds biggest planes: Antonov An-225 in comparison with Airbus A380-800, Airbus A340-600 and Boeing 747-400
video icon An-225 on YouTube Landing In Crosswind