Kyiv-based state-run Antonov enterprise and Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) have signed an agreement on cooperation under the An-225 Mriya aircraft program, the Ukrainian company’s press service has said.
“The parties have expressed their intention to cooperate in the long-term outlook, which foresees the construction of the second sample of the modernized An-225 Mriya aircraft at the Antonov enterprise and its delivery to AICC at the first stage and the establishment of the joint batch manufacture of An-225 in China under Antonov’s license at the second stage”, the company said in a statement. Both stages will be implemented on conditions of separate contracts.
The agreement was signed in Beijing, China, on August 30.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is the longest and heaviest aircraft ever built. It is 84 meters long and weighs 175 tons without fuel. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tons, including crew, and its wingspan is an astonishing 88.4 meters.
The An-225 was built in the 1980s to transport the Soviet space shuttle, the Buran, and it made its maiden test flight in 1988. The single sample built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. In spring 2001, it was retrofitted and its commercial operation was launched by Antonov Airlines.
The construction of the second sample began in 1987, but only fuselage and a wing were built when the Soviet Union broke up and the aircraft construction was frozen.
At different stages, Ukraine’s foreign partners showed interest in the completion of the second plane, but the plans did not get practical implementation. (Interfax/Business World Magazine)