The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The An-225 has over 250 tons of cargo capacity.
It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes (710 short tons). It also has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. The single example built has the Ukrainian civil registration UR-82060. A second airframe was partially built and that is the one that was sold to China.
The An-225 also has up to 15,400 kilometer range.
After serially producing the An-225 with its long 10,000 kilometer range with significant cargo, China could add cruise missile and drone launch racks to make it into a larger than B-52 style mother ship. China would likely develop the military portion of that project by themselves.
China will also use new An-225s for movement of rockets and large parts to their new island space launch pad, when weather does not allow shipping. China will also use it for faster alternative transport of tanks and other heavy gear to South China Sea islands or to Tibet or other locations as the needs arise.
Length: 84 m (275 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 88.4 m (290 ft 0 in)
Height: 18.1 m (59 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 905 m2 (9,740 sq ft)
Aspect ratio: 8.6
Empty weight: 285,000 kg (628,317 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 640,000 kg (1,410,958 lb)
Fuel capacity: 300,000 kg
Cargo hold – volume 1,300 m3 (46,000 cu ft), length 43.35m, width 6.4m, height 4.4m
Powerplant: 6 × ZMKB Progress D-18 turbofans, 229.5 kN (51,600 lbf) thrust each
Maximum speed: 850 km/h (528 mph; 459 kn)
Cruising speed: 800 km/h (497 mph; 432 kn)
Range: 15,400 km (9,569 mi; 8,315 nmi) with maximum fuel; range with 200 tonnes payload: 4,000 km (2,500 mi)
Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,089 ft)
Wing loading: 662.9 kg/m2 (135.8 lb/sq ft)
Here is unfinished An-225
Ukraine and China expect to complete the second airframe fly it in the first half of 2019. They will then begin serial production of the An-225.
China is happy with the performance of Y-20 60 ton capacity cargo plane and RD-120K rocket engine.
Last year, China had agreed to acquire 25 of the 20 ton capacity AN-178 cargo planes.
The only completed An-225 was originally built to carry the Soviet Buran shuttle. China’s new serially produced An-225 would not have the need for that mission. Any reinforcement or extra weight for carrying a shuttle could be saved.
China had held discussions with Antonov regarding the possible co-production of the 150-ton capacity An-124 Ruslan, which exceeds the 120-ton capacity of the US C-5 transport. However, there was no announcement on this.
China plans to build more than 1,000 heavy strategic transport aircraft.
In the past few days, China had announced a domestic $8 billion aircraft engine company and a 5 year project to develop a commercial jet engine. Ukraine is likely assisting with the aircraft engine program.
According to Zhu, China plans to build “300-tonne, 400-tonne and even 600-tonne aircraft.” The AN-225 is a 700 ton plane. The Y-20 is a 220 ton plane.
SOURCES – Wikipedia, LB.UA