Ukraine’s state-run arms corporation UkrOboronProm is looking for foreign investors to complete the building of one more Antonov An-225 giant transport aircraft, which has been waiting for its moment for the last 35 years, according to the company’s director-general Yuriy Husyev.
As the official said on Jan. 24, the corporation “is currently having active talks with several countries regarding the development of Ukrainian aircraft fleet.”
“In early February, we are going to visit one of the biggest arms exhibitions in India’s Bangalore, offering suggestions… on cooperation in aircraft manufacturing, avionics, and joint projects,” as new agency Ukrinform quoted Husyev as saying.
The An-225 program was designed and commenced in 1984-1988 by Kyiv-based aircraft manufacturer Antonov.
Ukraine’s iconic Mriya aircraft takes off for new COVID-19 mission (PHOTOS)
The family’s first aircraft saw its maiden flight in 1989 as a superheavy transporter for space launch vehicles, particularly the Buran, the late-Soviet version of the space shuttle, which was carried on the plane’s back.
Nowadays, the Mriya remains the world’s heaviest, largest, and most powerful cargo aircraft ever built, with its terrific 88-meter wingspan.
It is capable of transporting nearly 200 tons of cargo to within 4,000 kilometers. It is now part of Antonov Company’s cargo transportation branch, the Antonov Airlines, carrying out various large commercial transportation contracts worldwide.
The iconic plane has set nearly 250 world records in civilian cargo transportation, including an unbeaten record for carrying 253.8 tons of cargo.
The program envisaged building two aircraft — but the second Mriya’s construction was halted by 1994 due to the lack of funding and interest. The program was briefly resumed in 2009, but later frozen again due to immense amounts of funding required.
Ever since then, the aircraft’s body completed by nearly 70% has been stored at the Antonov workshop in Kyiv.
Over years, the aircraft manufacturer pledged to complete the project in case of massive investments. In 2016, the Airspace Industry Corporation of China was allegedly ready to participate in the project, but later reportedly lost interest due to the extremely high cost.
According to former Antonov CEO Oleksandr Donets, as of 2012, construction costs were estimated at nearly $460 million.
However, given the fact that Ukraine would have to withdraw from using Russian-produced components and redesign the aircraft avionics, the price tag is very likely to skyrocket even further. According to Ukraine’s former Space Agency head Volodymyr Usov, completing one more Mriya for the country’s airborne space launch program might require nearly $1 billion.
According to Antonov’s former CEO, the immense costs make building the second Mriya for commercial use economically untenable, especially given the fact that nearly 35% of world airports are not capable of offering landing for Mriya due to its immense size.
In 2016, the Airspace Industry Corporation of China was allegedly ready to participate in the project, but later reportedly lost interest due to the extremely high cost.
Besides, in October, Ukraine’s Minister for Strategic Industries Oleh Uruskiy said Turkey was supposedly contemplating making an investment into the Mriya program.
Nonetheless, as of early 2021, none of the potential contributors confirmed their desire to invest.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter