First Sight Of Giant An-225 Cargo Jet Since Russian Invasion Shows Its Tail Intact

In an update to our ongoing coverage of the fate of the Antonov An-225 Mriya (“Dream”) one-of-a-kind cargo jet, the largest on Earth, we can now report that the first confirmed image of the aircraft since Russia invaded Ukraine shows that its tail is intact. While we do not know about the rest of the giant jet, this is at least some promising news as most reports assumed the aircraft was totally destroyed. Constant fighting over the last six days at the aircraft’s home airport has resulted in its shelter being penetrated by what was likely an artillery round. You can get up to date on the saga of the An-225 and the hotly contested Hostomel Airport where it is based, located just to the northwest of Kyiv, in this recent post of ours.

Reports of the aircraft being totally destroyed even came after its owner stated that it couldn’t be sure of the aircraft’s condition until it had a chance to inspect the plane despite satellite and drone images that indicated its shelter was struck by munitions. 

Of course, inspecting the jet has been made impossible because the airport has been among the hottest flashpoints in the war so far, with Russia throwing some of its top soldiers at the facility in order to set up and bridgehead near Kyiv. 

The exact status of the airport at this time is unknown, but there are claims that the Russians have once again reclaimed it as part of its absolutely massive advance emanating from Belarus that is ongoing at this time.

Image taken just house before the war kicked off on February 23rd, 2022. , Planet Labs
Image taken on February 28th, 2022. Also, note the helicopter and a large number of military vehicles surrounding the central building and hangar. , Planet Labs

The image below, supposedly taken from a drone on February 27th, that was claimed to be the An-225 on fire under its destroyed shelter, is likely false based on this latest satellite imagery:

Regardless, even though its shelter is tattered, at least there appears to be a glimmer of hope for the iconic aircraft, which serves as a major point of pride for the Ukrainian people. But even if it has survived so far, there is no telling what the future holds or even if there will be a sovereign Ukraine to get it back in the air once the war ends. But at least we know it hasn’t totally burned to the ground and there always is the other An-225 airframe which remains unfinished but could be completed, albeit at a significant cost. Even if the An-225 ends up being too damaged to fly again, it could serve as a critical parts donor for such an endeavor. 

We will continue to update you on the An-225 as we get more information.

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