Zelensky Pledges $800 Million An-225 Mriya Rebuild To Honor Ukrainian Pilots

During an online meeting with Ukrainian students on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced his intention to build another Mriya aircraft. The project would be a dedication to the memory of the pilots who unfortunately lost their lives in the war and, in particular, during the defense of Mariupol.

The idea of a second Mriya

When the world’s biggest aircraft was destroyed by Russian occupants on an airfield near Kyiv in late February, Zelensky had idealized building the An-225 again.

A second aircraft is still awaiting resumption on construction as the Antonov program initially planned to create two aircraft. Unfortunately, a lack of finance and eventual interest meant that the second Mriya’s construction was terminated in 1994. The idea was briefly revived again in 2009 but was again halted due to the massive sums of money necessary.

The second aircraft is approximately only 70% completed, except for avionics and other aerospace components needing to be installed. With an aircraft of that size, the cost of resuming the construction ranged from about $400 million in capital to about $800 million.

Thus, the Antonov team has been looking for a suitable investor to aid in the development of the incomplete Mriya aircraft. Turkey has been expressing its interest in completing the aircraft. However, getting the funds needed for the hefty price tag was still a significant hindrance, as highlighted by Zelensky:

“We wanted to build it, [and] we needed $800 million. I appealed to the President of Turkey with a proposal to build the 2nd Mriya, but we did not find the money.”

And thus, the idea of a second Mriya being built remained as such, an idea.

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China was also another potential investor in developing a second Mriya, but Antonov did not want to transfer over to a Chinese company for fear that China would abandon the plan due to the large budget required. Photo: Antonov Airlines via Twitter

The image of Ukraine

Perhaps, the idea might be becoming a reality soon as Zelensky wishes to think beyond the heavy price tag. Instead, he hopes to think of a second Mriya to be a dedication to the fallen Ukrainians whom he deemed as “heroic people,” as he emphasizes:

“But in this case, it’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of ambition. We were approached by Ukroboronprom, the Antonov team. This is a question of the image of our country and all the excellent professional pilots who died in this war.”

In particular, Zelensky wishes to continue the construction of the second aircraft to honor the memory of those who lost their lives defending Mariupol as he goes on:

“How much they have done, and today we can already say how many lives of people who remained in Mariupol, especially in Azovstal they saved. How many pilots gave their lives to bring everything there, from weapons to water. And how many wounded they took from there. A large number of these people died heroically. To build a MRIYA for the sake of the memory of heroes is the right state position.”

It is uncertain if the price tag will be funded directly from Zelensky himself or if Antonov has already found willing investors, given how well-loved the An-225 aircraft was. But if there is one thing for sure, a second Mriya is no longer just an idea.

Willing and potential investors may benefit from the eventual completion of the second Mriya project, as the giant aircraft could be helpful for defense and commercial purposes transportation to respective investors. Photo: Antonov Airlines

The future of another Mriya

Considering the second An-225 is in the final phase of completion, this means that if immediate resumption of the construction happened anytime soon, the aircraft might be finished soon. The advancements in technology after so many years would bring a new, improved life to the second Mriya, and the dedication to the fallen would undoubtedly give a brighter glory to the world’s largest aircraft.

Source: Airlive


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