Antonov An-225 with Buran atop at the Paris Air Show, photo by Ralf Manteufel, licensed under GFDL 1.2
Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) acquired the rights to build Antonov An-225 Mriya (‘Dream‘) and all corresponding technical documentation, according to CCTV-Russia (Central China Television-Russia) channel, Ukrainian media informed on August 31st.
“The construction of the first Chinese AN-225 is planned to be finished already in the first half of 2019,” Ukrainian media informed.
The parties negotiated the agreement since May 2016. However, it is not clear whether the Chinese party would be the only licensee manufacturer of An-225 or Ukraine could also build these aircrafts if it chose so.
The aircraft An-225 Mriya was designed and built by Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union (Project Team Leader – Tolmachev V. I.) in 1984-1988. The aircraft was originally designed to airlift the Buran space shuttle. It is the largest aircraft in the world. With a length of 84 m, a wingspan of 88.4 m, it can carry almost 250 tonnes of cargo at a distance up to 4000 km. Two aircrafts were ordered, but only one An-225 was actually built. $100-120 million are required to finish the second one.
The first flight of An-225 took place on December 21, 1988. In 1989, An-225 transported Buran space shuttle to the Paris Air Show, by which it admired the public. The aircraft holds 240 world records, including transportation of the heaviest cargo (253 tonnes), the heaviest single piece of cargo (188 tonnes) and the longest piece of cargo transported.