Ukraine’s Antonov Company and the Aerospace Industry Corporation of China have agreed to a deal this week to recommence the production of the AN-225 Mriya.
Only one AN-225 was ever completed, and it entered service in 1988. A second Mriya airframe was partially completed before the fall of the Soviet Union.
This week’s Chinese-Ukrainian agreement calls for the completion of the second AN-225 by Antonov and its delivery to AICC.
The agreement also calls for the commencement of series production of the AN-225 in China under license from Antonov.
A relic of the Soviet space program, the AN-225 was designed as a platform to carry the Buran space shuttle. Following the cancellation of the Soviet space program, both the completed and the uncompleted AN-225s sat idle for a decade. In the early 2000s, the completed Mriya was refurbished and returned to service as a commercial heavy lifter.
- REUTERS/Robert Kolek
The AN-225 holds 240 world records including the record for the heaviest cargo ever carried by a plane – 253 tons. According to Antonov, the AN-225 can carry a 200-ton load nearly 2,500 miles.
The gargantuan heavy lifter is powered by six Ivchenko-Progress turbo-fan engines each producing more than 51,000 pounds of thrust.