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Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack)

Soviet Union (1989)
Picture of Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft
Picture of Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft Picture of Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft
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The mammoth Antonov An-225 Mriya is one of the largest aircraft ever built.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 8/16/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Antonov An-225 "Mriya" (Meaning "Dream") (NATO: "Cossack") is one of the largest and heaviest aircraft ever constructed, measuring up favorably against even the fabled Hughes H-4 Hercules ("Spruce Goose") of the 1940s. The An-225 is longer than an Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 while short by some 17.7 meters in wingspan when compared to the Hughes aircraft. The An-225 is based on Antonov's other heavy hauler in the An-124 (NATO: "Condor") and is categorized as a strategic cargo transport. Only one airframe has seen completion though two were initially ordered and in its early form it served the Soviet space shuttle program. Undoubtedly the Mriya is an engineering marvel by past and future aviation standards though, with a design this large, the An-225 fields its fair share of critics concerning its maintenance requirements and operational long-term costs that far exceed the notoriety. The An-225 recorded its first flight on December 21st, 1988 and entered service the following year.

Having been based on the An-124, the two aircraft share obvious outward design similarities. However, the An-225 was specifically designed to haul heavy items of note including the rocket boosters of the Soviet space shuttle - known as the "Buran" - a role once undertaken by the large Myasushchev VM-T transport of the 1980s. As such, the An-225 was given six large turbofan engines over that of the An-124's four. Each ZMKB Progress D-18 series engine was rated at 51,600lbs of thrust and provided the necessary lift and transport function required of the heavy-lift aircraft. Like other transports in this class, the An-225 was given a high-mounted flight deck overlooking a short nose cone assembly, a deep tubular fuselage and wide-spanning swept-back wings high-mounted on the fuselage sides. The wings sported noticeable anhedral when viewed in the forward profile and were designed with a high degree of flexibility which was a requirement of the long-spanning assemblies. The aircraft also featured a raised empennage with a unique long-span horizontal tailplane capped at each end by the requisite vertical tail planes. Each of the six engines was fitted to underslung nacelles, three to each wing. The high-mounted nature of the wings assured that clearance of ground activity was addressed. The undercarriage was made retractable in the conventional sense though the main legs consisted of seven double-wheeled heavily-reinforced struts to each fuselage side to manage the aircraft's displacement when at rest. Interestingly, there was no rear access ramp for loading/unloading cargo. Instead, the An-225 made use of a hinged nose-cone that opened upwards to reveal the hold inside.


Picture of the Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft
Picture of the Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft


The completed airframe was first showcased to the West at the Paris Air Show of 1989 and was witnessed in-flight during the Farnborough Air Show of 1990. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the aircraft was removed from operational activities and set in storage during 1994 to which its engines were reconstituted for awaiting An-124 airframes. Accordingly, the Buran shuttle program was retired by this time. The second ordered An-225, now having begun construction, was also retired for the interim. It was only later, when the aircraft fell to the Ukrainian government after the fall of the Soviet Union, that the initial An-225 example was refitted with engines and placed back into an operational status.

As a transport, the An-225 has not disappointed for its cargo hold holds a volume of 1,300m cubed, capable of carrying "super-heavy" loads of several hundred tons. The sheer hauling capability of the aircraft has netted the Antonov product world records and the type has already moved thousands of pallets worth of food and supplies, vehicles (including four main battle tanks and trucks), wind turbines and industrial sized generators to date with its future potential no yet written. The An-225 has seen steady operations with Western countries in support of humanitarian, civilian and military actions worldwide - a sight hardly dreamed of during the height of the Cold War. The sole An-225 in operation is managed by Antonov Airlines - a cargo market hauler with a fleet size of 22 aircraft (2012). The massive aircraft requires a standard crew of 6 to 7 personnel.

The second intended An-225 still remains in a state of construction though this is thought to be well beyond the mid-range point. Of course, cost has stricken the aircraft to a long and arduous road to completion which may or may not be met. Of note with the second example is its redesigned tail section will utilizes a single vertical tail fin and features a rear cargo hold loading ramp accessed powered doors.

September 2016 - It was announced that Antonov and China-based AVIC have partnered up to complete the second An-225 prototype. A first-flight is scheduled for 2019. The experience should bode well for future Chinese large aircraft aspirations - particularly transports and bombers.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (528mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
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LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
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  MOS
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  SYD
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: Soviet Union
Service Year: 1989
Classification Type: Heavy-Lift Strategic Long-Range Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Antonov Design Bureau - Soviet Union / Ukraine
Production Units: 1
Global Operators:
Ukraine; Soviet Union (former)
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Antonov An-225 Mriya (Cossack) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
6 or 7


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
275.59 ft


Meters
84 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
290.03 ft


Meters
88.4 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
59.71 ft


Meters
18.2 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
385,809 lb


Kilograms
175,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,322,774 lb


Kilograms
600,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
6 x ZMKB Progress (Lotarev) D-18T turbofan engines developing 51,587 lb of standard thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
528 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
850 kph


Knots
459 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,796 mi


Kilometers
4,500 km


Nautical Miles
2,430 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
36,089 ft


Meters
11,000 m


Miles
6.84 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• An-225 - Base Model Series Designation; single example completed, second example unfinished.