NATO Codename "Backfire"
|Entered service in||1976|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||23.3 - 32.3 m|
|Weight (normal)||125 t|
|Engines||2 x NK-25 turbojet engines|
|Traction||2 x 25 000 kgs|
|Altitude||15 000 m|
|Maximum speed||2 450 km/h|
|Flying range||7 000 km|
|Aviation cannon||GSh-23M 23-mm aviation cannon|
|Missiles||3 x Kh-22 Air-to-Surface missiles, 6 x Kh-15 guided missiles|
In 1969 the newest supersonic
bomber in the Soviet Union made it's first flight. It was developed by the
A.N.Tupolev Aviation Design Bureau. In 1976 this bomber entered service
with the Soviet Air Force as the TU-22M.
It was a deep modernization of the TU-22 "Blinder" Medium Range Bomber. The new aircraft design idea was made referring on a number of sufficient disadvantages on it's predecessor.
In the year 1978 appeared it's new modification - the TU-22M2 which had slightly modified air intakes and dual GSh-25 twin barrel aviation gun placed in the rear part of the fuselage.
Another modification of the TU-22M "Backfire" - the TU-22M3 entered service in 1981. It was fitted with new air intakes, which had much in common with the MIG-25 Fighter ones, new board electronic equipment and modified defense artillery (GSh-23M twin barrel placed in a vertical position instead of dual GSh-25. It has a rate of fire in 4 000 rpm.).
The TU-22M3 was intended to defeat ground and sea targets with supersonic missiles and aviation bombs at a day/night time and at any meteorological conditions. For these purposes the aircraft is fitted with powerful board electronics that includes high capability radiolocation station which allows to notify ground and sea targets by OPB-15 optical-electronic bomber's sight It also includes inertial navigation system, active and passive radio electronic counteraction devices. The TU-22M3 is equipped with two R-832M ultra short band radio stations and one R-846 scrambler short band radio station.
Depending from the mission the TU-22M3 "Backfire" can use mixed various bombs and missiles (5 tones of bombs in a bomb compartment and one Kh-22 Air-to-Surface missile on the external slung).
The aircraft was fitted with the TA-6 additional engine which started the main engines and provided electricity supply for board equipment independently from the airdrome electricity sources. The "Backfire" is equipped with a KT-1 catapult seats. The crew ejection may be constrained for all crew members or they are able to leave the aircraft one by one on their own.
The TU-22M3 features good take off - landing and speed-up characteristics. The aircraft has a three bearing chassis. The main rear chassis has a three pares of wheels each, while the frontal only single.
Referring to the international strategic armament agreement made between the Soviet Union and the United States of America the TU-22M aircrafts lost their air refueling systems in fact that the USA agreed to consider the TU-22M as a medium range bomber class in stead of the strategic.
The TU-22M2 and TU-22M3 took action in 1987-1988 year during some operations of Afghanistan war. In the year 1988 the TU-22M5 aircrafts covered derivation of the Soviet Army from the Afghanistan where it widely used FAB-1500, FAB-3000 heavy aviation bombs.
In 1992 the TU-22M3 was presented at the Farnboro international aviation fair (United Kingdom) where it has got a highest evaluation of the specialists. No other country except Russia has aircrafts of such type. In 1992 Russian and Ukraine Air Forces had 380 TU-22M2 and TU-22M3 aircrafts. Since 1992 the TU-22M3 "Backfire" with a full armament is offered on the international military markets. At the moment the TU-22M3 is the main medium range bomber of the Russian Air Force.