Aug 312016

China and Ukraine agree to restart An-225 production

China will be building them based on the Ukrainian design, presumably with Chinese engines and equipment. The question is: why? What ginormous payloads do the Chinese think they’ll need modernized Mriyas for? The An-225 was designed to carry the Soviet “Buran” space shuttle orbiter on its back… *perhaps* the Chinese are thinking of doing the same thing. Feel free to speculate.

The article suggests the Chinese believe that the first of an unspecified number of new AN-225’s will fly in 2019… only three years away. That’ll be a neat trick, unless the Chinese have been working away at this for a while, or are going to work themselves to death to get it done, or are going to half-ass certain aspects of the process. I wouldn’t bet against any of those.

 Posted by at 3:45 pm
  • Jjak

    Flight Global reports the agreement includes completing An-225 airframe 2, which was partially complete but abandoned during the Soviet breakup. The 2019 date is probably for completion of airframe 2.

    This is an 8yr old post but it shows the state of An-225 #2; doubt it is much different today.

  • sferrin

    Status, pure and simple.

    • MzUnGu

      There is a lot of wind turbine development in China now days, lot of it is build there and shipped around China and to the world, I suspect they need the length to fit some of these longer and longer blades…

      Since a lot of their old school defence industry were built inland in the 50’s to avoid the B-52s, Moving their Rocket to launch site in Hainan, could actually use it too. Joint wide-body airliner manufacturing with the Russians can use it as well…. as well as bunch of civilian uses.

      • sferrin

        People have been shipping all of that around the world for decades and did just fine without an AN-225 analog. It’s more about status- even if they have to buy it. If I see them shipping turbine blades around the world with them I’ll happily change my mind. I’m guessing they’ll get a red star on the side and be military transports though.

        • MzUnGu

          They did, it’s just the length of the new ones now exceed most cargo planes. Think I read they hired the AN-225 to move a set of the new one to Germany just for testing a few months back, maybe they are planning for production.

      • publiusr

        I heard some scuttlebutt that China actually bought the crushed Buran herself. You heard anything?

        • MzUnGu

          Have no clue. I’ll rather buy the drawing set and the tech doc… Watch how $$ to operate the Shuttle on the US side, doubt the Chinese would want it.

  • se jones

    AP1000 & ACC1000 light water reactor and eventually HTR-PM (HTR) fast reactor modular cores.

    The proposed United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) and Comac Russo-Chinese widebody airliner. I can visulize the AN-225 flying wing sets and fuselage sections to common assembly facilities.

    All sorts of outsized hydroelectric and wind turbine parts.

    (and yes, UAC/Comac grafted 787 engines onto a A350 airframe for this illustration…no shame)

  • se jones

    Speaking of big ass airplanes, rest in peace Joe Sutter:

    Legendary 747 designer Sutter dies age 95

    Joe Sutter, who was dubbed “Father of the 747” by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, has died at age 95. As the former chief engineer of Boeing’s 747, Sutter is credited with leading the birth of the first widebody airliner, which ushered in the globe-shrinking age of mass air travel.

    Born on March 21, 1921, Sutter was the son of a first generation Slovenian immigrant working in the Seattle meat packing industry. Fascinated by aviation as a boy, Sutter worked on a paper route and as a part-time production line employee at Boeing to pay for his first semester studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Washington.

    Following post-war studies at the US Navy’s aviation engineering school, Sutter accepted an engineering job with Boeing.

    Among other aircraft, Sutter was closely associated with the 727, Boeing’s first short-haul jet, and in particular the aircraft’s sophisticated flap design. Working with legendary Boeing designer Jack Steiner on the configuration of the 737, Sutter also made the pivotal decision to place the engines beneath the wing “where they belonged” rather than at the tail. Sutter and Steiner each received the then-standard $50 payment for the patent on the “baby Boeing”—Sutter for the engine placement and Steiner for the decision to make the cabin wide enough for six abreast.

    Sutter will be best remembered, however, for leading the design of the 747 from 1965 onward. It was Sutter who led the design away from the initial concepts of full-length double decker to the very wide single deck with twin aisles—the first widebody. The cross-section, which was large enough to seat 10-across with two aisles, was drawn around the space required to accommodate two freight pallets on the main deck. The decision to make the new aircraft capable of carrying cargo also led to the positioning of the flight deck above the main deck, creating the 747’s famous humped upper deck.

    In later years with Boeing, first as vice president of operations and product development, and later as executive vice president for engineering and product development, Sutter was closely involved in development of both the successful and pivotal 757 and 767 models. In 1985 Sutter received the US National Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan and in 1986 he retired from full-time work at Boeing after a career spanning four decades.

    Sutter also served on the presidential commission which investigated the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, and continued to work as a consultant to Boeing right up until 2016. He was closely involved with further developments of the 747 such as the 747-400 and 747-8, and for many years continued to visit airlines and discuss their future requirements, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    • publiusr

      And 747 itself for passengers may well follow him. Yeah-those twin-jets are fine over the Pacific…trust us

      • se jones

        “Yeah-those twin-jets are fine over the Pacific…”

        They are. 777s with GE90s are statistically more reliable than any four or three engine a/c ever made. The GE90 (adjusted for specific power density) is the most reliable machine ever made by man, one runs out of superlatives to describe this engine.
        The newer 110 and NX versions have finally overcome the awful “buzzsaw” racket during takeoff caused by the fan tips going supersonic. Business class seats in the older 777s needed a placard warning passengers not to shit their pants from that noise during climbout.

  • Rick

    just to haul all the stuff back that the West has to pawn in order to pay off debts? 😛

  • CaptainNed

    How else do you drop an entire infantry division over Taiwan in one fell swoop?

  • Rodrigo

    Just remember the Great Wall. It just shows what millions of slaves can accomplish if the Emperor really puts his mind to it.

  • thingytest 3

    Well, the Chinese government is thinking about working on infrastructural projects in Central Asia (as part of the One Belt One Road Initiative), where road transport is difficult and you need to lift in heavy industrial machinery (think back to the old Soviet Halos helicopters).
    Plus, any country worth its salt has strategic airlift capability – heck, Australia has a nifty fleet of 8 C-17s and it only has 35 million people! It’s not unreasonable for a country with 40 times that many people to have strategic airlift, a sizable navy, etc, etc.
    Why build a prosperous country if you can’t defend it (or the government itself, but meh…)?