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Current Affairs

World’s largest plane destroyed

Date: 02 March 2022 Tags: Military

Issue

The world’s largest cargo aircraft known as ‘Mriya’ has been destroyed by invading Russian forces in Ukraine.

 

Background

Mriya, the Antonov AN-225, was damaged when Russian troops entered a Ukrainian air base in Hostomel.

 

Details

  • The unique Antanov was designed in 1980s in USSR.  The plane is nicknamed ‘Mriya’ or ‘dream’ in Ukrainian.

  • The plane has a wingspan of 290 ft and is extremely popular among aviation lovers, attracting crowds during air shows.

  • The plane was initially designed for USSR’s space programme, where it was conceptualized to carry the Buran.

  • The Buran was the Soviet version of US’ Space Shuttle and was capable of taking astronauts to space.

  • The Soviet Space Programme was cancelled after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991. The plane is now used for transport of massive cargo.

 

Construction

  • The Mriya or Antonov AN-225 was built by Kyiv-based Antonov Company. Only a single AN-225 was ever built after modifying the four-engine An-124 ‘Condor’.

  • Since its first flight in 1988, the plane has been used for transportation of relief materials during calamities in neighbouring nations.

  • It was capable of transporting up to 250 tonnes (551,000 pounds) of cargo at a speed of up to 850 kilometres per hour (528 mph). 

 

Extent of damages

  • Various government agencies have claimed that the plane has suffered serious damages and it will take billions to completely repair.

  • The satellite images of the Hostomel airfield show large-scale damages to the hangar in which the aircraft was parked for repairs.

 

Future actions

  • Ukrainian state-owned Ukroboronprom Company, which manages the Antonov, has said that the aircraft will be completely restored at the cost of $3 billion.

  • The aircraft will take five years to be completely restored to normal and the cost has to be borne by Russia.