ABOUT THIS AIRCRAFT
While the Antonov AN-225 might sound like the perfect giant aircraft for delivering masses of troops to the frontline or hauling enough food to avert a famine, the original designation of the AN-225 was as an airborne tow truck for the Soviet space shuttle program. The AN-225 took its maiden voyage in 1988, after only three and a half years of development.
The AN-225 was designed to carry twice as much as a Boeing 747 freighter, and with a wingspan that stretches as far as a football field from nose to tail and wingtip to wingtip, and a maximum take-off weight of up to 1.32 million pounds (about 598 tonnes), it dwarfs the 747 in size and lifting capability. The size and weight of the Antonov AN-225 freighter meant that it would need a serious amount of power to get it off the ground, so the Ukrainian engineers at Antonov fitted it with six – yes, six – engines each capable of pumping out a staggering 51,590 pounds of thrust.
The cargo hold on the AN-225 boasts an impressive total length of 142.1ft, a width of almost 21ft, and an interior height of about 14ft. That makes the cargo hold on this aircraft spacious enough to carry 50 cars!
The interior of the cargo hold is structured with a main cargo deck featuring a built-in crane capable of moving a 5-tonne load. The sides of the cargo bay feature a variety of bulky items and tools for servicing the aircraft including wheels, windows used to check the wings, and gauges connected to the landing gear. The cockpit is accessed by a retractable ladder and there is seating for up to four crew members in the engineering bay and seating enough for two in the cockpit.
The most noticeable, and probably most famous, technological feature of the AN-225 is the engines. Six ZMKB Progress Lotarev D-18T turbofan jet engines form the powerplant of this colossus, giving the AN-225 the ability to reach a maximum speed of 528mph at an altitude of 36,000ft. All this power means that, even with a full fuel tank, the AN-225 can fly distances of up to 9,569 miles.
Only one Antonov AN-225 was ever built to completion. A second AN-225 began production in the late 1980s, but in 2009 when the aircraft had still not yet been completed, production was abandoned.
However, in August of 2016, the AICC (Airspace Industry Corporation of China) expressed an interest in reviving the project and Antonov signed a deal with plans to have the first of these new, modern models in the air by 2019.
Antonov State Company, formerly the Antonov Design Bureau, was founded in 1946 at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association as a top-secret organization and was headed by a man named Oleg Antonov. The company specialized in the production of very large aircraft and aircraft that were able to use unprepared runways.
In July of 2017, Ukraine’s state-owned arms manufacturer, Ukroboronprom, announced the creation of the Ukrainian Aircraft Company, combining all aircraft manufacturing enterprises, including the assets of Antonov, into a single cluster.
- Only one AN-225 was ever built to completion. A second and more modern version of the aircraft began production in the 1980s and though the project was abandoned after over 20 years, Antonov now has a second AN-225 in their fleet.
- There are 20 steerable wheels in the 32-wheel landing gear. The nose gear houses 4 steerable wheels and the other 16 are in the rear of the 18-wheel main gear.
- The space shuttle that the AN-225 was originally tasked with transporting was the Buran spaceplane, and it made its international debut in absolute style by landing at the 1989 Paris Air Show with the shuttle on its back.
The Antonov AN-225, of which there are only two currently in operation in Antonov’s fleet, costs between $250 million and $300 million dollars which, although expensive, is most certainly worth it considering that this aircraft can transport items and cargo previously thought impossible.
Where to buy
Unless Antonov are looking to get rid of their ultimate freighting workhorse, it is unlikely that an AN-225 will be available for purchase any time soon – though you may be able to charter one if you have cargo that is impossible for any other standard freighter to transport.
Charter ratesThe cost of cargo charter in an Antonov AN-225 will vary based on several factors, such as the weight and type of cargo being transported and the length and route of the journey. One sample cost for one delivery from Denmark to Kazakhstan cost approximately $295,063.
If you need to move a massive amount of cargo and you feel that the AN-225 is the solution to your cargo charter needs, then contact us and we can get the process started for you.
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