Three days from now, on August 24th, Ukraine will celebrate its Independence Day, with celebratory events taking place between August 22nd and 24th. One of the highlights will take place on the 24th with a parade of the country’s armed forces, including a low-altitude flyover of military aircraft. While not technically part of Ukraine’s armed forces, the An-225 Mriya will also be flying over Kyiv for the festivities.
“During the 30 years of independence, Ukraine has overcome many challenges. But we withstood, we are standing and we will definitely win! Therefore, this year our country must loudly declare itself to the world.” – Office of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The An-225 over Kyiv
According to the Kyiv Post, the An-225 Mriya will be participating in the military parade to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. The website representing Ukraine’s defense industry (Ukroboronprom) states the following:
“‘Mriya’ will fly over Khreshchatyk, the main street of Kyiv, and seal the air column of military helicopters, fighter jets, attack aircraft, bombers, and military transport aircrafts, namely Mi-8, Mi-14, Mi-24, Su-27, MiG-29, IL-76, and the AN family: An-70, An-26, An-72, An-32P.”
Data from RadarBox.com shows the Mriya participating in rehearsal flyovers in advance of the big day. So far, we can see that the aircraft has flown over Kyiv on both August 18th and August 19th at an altitude of around 2,000 feet. Its lowest recorded altitude was 1,750 feet.
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The An-225’s significance in Ukraine’s history
As Ukroboronprom notes, the Ukrainian-built Antonov An-225 ‘Mriya’ was originally developed to transport the Buran reusable spacecraft and parts of the Energia super-heavy lift launch vehicle.
The Antonov Company was founded on May 31st, 1946, and has since flourished to have multiple divisions, including its design bureau, production facilities, maintenance and repair, and of course, its air transport subdivision.
The An-225 was initially planned that the massive aircraft would become a reusable aerospace transport system, comprising the first stage of launching the Soviet space shuttle. With the fall of the Soviet Union and Ukraine’s independence, this plan would be discontinued, with the An-225 remaining a Ukrainian asset.
On March 22nd, 1989, the An-225 carried a cargo load of 156.3 tons off the ground. In doing so, Ukroboronprom states that it set 110 world records for speed, altitude, and load capacity within 110 hours and 45 minutes in flight. The agency goes on to say that on September 11th, 2001, the aircraft set 124 world and 214 national records. Some additional detail about the records set can be found in a June 2021 article by Simple Flying.
With the work and accomplishments of Antonov, as well as the records achieved by the An-225, we can clearly see why this massive six-engined aircraft belongs in a parade celebrating the country’s independence.
Have you seen the aircraft for yourself? Is Tuesday’s event something you wish you could be at? Let us know in the comments.