Ukraine to launch serial production of world’s biggest aircraft together with China

Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov and China’s Aerospace Industry Corporation have signed a deal which will facilitate the serial production of the world’s largest aircraft, the AN-225 Mriya (‘Dream’), in China.

Negotiations between the two enterprises have been held since May 2016 and the deal was signed on August 30 in Beijing.

“On August 30, Antonov [Company] and Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC) signed an agreement on cooperation on the AN-225 project,” Antonov’s press service said in a statement, UNIAN news agency reported. The company added that cooperation between the two companies include the projected construction of the second aircraft of its kind in Ukraine and its handover to China at the first stage of the project, as well as the creation of an aircraft production line under a Ukrainian license in China at the second stage.

Representatives of Antonov Company told UNIAN that each stage of the project will be implemented under a separate contract. The two companies did not reveal any further details about the agreement and said nothing about the project deadlines or the planned numbers of the AN-225 aircraft set to be built in China.

Earlier, China’s CCTV Channel said on its Facebook page that Antonov Company sold all manufacturing rights and technological documents for the super-heavy air freighter AN-225 Mriya to the China Aerospace company. It added that the first AN-225 could be produced in China as early as in 2019.

Antonov’s press service dismissed these reports as untrue.

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The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія (dream or inspiration), NATO reporting name: “Cossack“) is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. 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; its completion was halted because of lack of funding and interest.

The Antonov An-225, initially developed for the task of transporting the Buran spaceplane, was an enlargement of the successful Antonov An-124. The first and only An-225 was completed in 1988. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and re-introduced, and is in commercial operation with Antonov Airlines carrying oversized payloads. The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kilograms (418,834 pounds), and an airlifted total payload of 253,820 kg (559,577 lb). It has also transported a payload of 247,000 kilograms (545,000 pounds) on a commercial flight.


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