Ukraine is seeking foreign investors to complete the assembly of the second An-225 Mriya, the largest aircraft ever built in history. According to the Kyiv Post newspaper, director-general Yuriy Husyev of UkrOboronProm, a conglomerate of Ukrainian state-owned companies, said “is currently having active talks with several countries regarding the development of Ukrainian aircraft fleet.”
One of the countries that will be consulted is India, where the state company will participate in a defense exhibition in February in Bangalore. The claim, however, goes in the opposite direction to that stated by Oleksander Donets, CEO of Antonov, who considers the conclusion of the second Mriya impractical due to the costs, estimated at nearly $1 billion.
According to Donets, it would be necessary to redesign several parts of the six-engine aircraft to adapt it to current conditions. The An-225 was designed between 1984 and 1988 to serve as a transport plane for Buran, the Soviet space shuttle. After the end of communism in the country, the only completed aircraft ended up being adapted to carry out special cargo transport flights and remains active until today.
The second aircraft had its assembly suspended in 1994 and partially resumed in 2009, reaching about 70% of the works. Since then, the airframe has been parked outside Antonov’s main hangar in Kiev.
In 2016, Airspace Industry Corporation of China was pointed out as a possible partnership in the assembly of the massive plane, but it would have lost interest due to the high costs involved.
Able to carry more than 250 tons of cargo, the An-225 is a unique aircraft, but this is also reflected in operational restrictions – about 35% of airports in the world are unable to receive the Ukrainian giant due to runway limitations.