This is an extraordinary project: aircraft models of the AN-225 Mriya are to finance the construction of a real successor to the legendary freighter - a new Mriya. The initiator is Ukrainian company, Metal-Time Inc, which is pushing ahead with the plans together with local technology company, Awery Aviation Software (Awery). The iconic original was destroyed by Russian attackers at Kyiv Hostomel airport on 27FEB22.
The project was officially launched on Wednesday (24AUG22), that is, on Ukraine’s Independence Day. It is a date with a lot of symbolism. Not least because Russia's invasion of the country began exactly half a year earlier, on 24FEB22. Although the intent to construct a modernized AN-225 was made public only now, the plan is already quite advanced.
It is a two-pronged approach starting with the construction of hundreds if not thousands of faithful replicas of the AN-225, aimed at raising as many funds as possible, explains Alex Skyrkoff,
CEO of Metal-Time Inc. They will be marketed in three versions: large, medium, and small. The prices are not yet carved in stone, but the larger version, offering a wingspan of 35 cm, is believed
to cost about 100 USD, the manager estimates.
Without state aid – no Mriya II
This phase will be followed by the manufacture of a new, real Mriya with modernized avionic and turbines that meet the latest environmental demands. However, prior to physically building an AN-225 successor, “the Russian troops must have left our country, so that we no longer need to defend our territorial integrity and state existence,” Mr. Skyrkoff reminds. He adds to this that, prior to the bombing of Mriya number one, “its capacity was fully booked for half a year.” The message is: a successor model should operate profitably. Yet, there is another important consideration: without financial backing of the Ukrainian government, the money generated by the model aircraft will not suffice to manufacture a second Mriya, even if thousands of replicas are sold.
Broad cost range
That said, the fund-raising campaign is not only intended to finance an AN-225 successor, but also to educate and train new aviation engineers and pilots for Ukraine, and rehouse Antonov employees whose homes were destroyed by Russia.
“Awery cannot stand by when Ukrainian cargo aviation is destroyed economically and physically, and so it was an easy decision for us to help promote the initiative by communicating this great project as much as we can,” says Vitaly Smillianets, Chief Executive Officer, Awery.
There are different statements about the costs of building a new Mriya. They range from USD 450 million to well over a billion USD. At least there is an intact fuselage, which is stored securely within the Antonov factory. It could form the basis for a second Mriya, says Mr. Smilianets.
Unclear fate of turbine producer Motor Sich
On the other hand, the avionics, which were originally developed in the 1980s, would have to be completely redesigned. The same applies to the engines, which would have to be more fuel-efficient, quieter, and, above all, meet current environmental standards. The turbines of the destroyed AN-225 came from Ukrainian manufacturer, Motor Sich. However, its facilities are located in the contested zone between the Russians and Ukrainians, near the Russian border. And whether the production facilities are still intact, probably only the Russian occupiers will know.
Final appeal by Vitaly Smilianets: “Please help us support this initiative by purchasing your model as soon as you can.” Building a new Mriya would also be an immensely important factor psychologically for the embattled nation.
Details of the fundraising initiative and how to obtain an AN-225 replica can be found here.
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