|A Russian Air Force Tu-22M3|
|Role||Strategic bomber, maritime strike|
|First flight||30 August 1969|
|Primary users||Soviet Air Forces (historical)
Russian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
|Developed from||Tupolev Tu-22|
The Tupolev Tu-22M (Russian: Туполев Ту-22М; NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force, and as of 2014 more than 100 Tu-22M are in use.
As in the case of its contemporaries, the MiG-23 and Su-17 projects, the advantages of variable-sweep wing (or "swing wing") seemed attractive, allowing a combination of short take-off performance, efficient cruising, and good high-speed, low-level ride. The result was a new swing wing aircraft named Samolyot 145 (English: Aeroplane 145), derived from the Tupolev Tu-22, with some features borrowed from the abortive Tu-98. The Tu-22M was based on the Tu-22's weapon system and used its Kh-22 missile. The Tu-22M designation was used to help get approval for the bomber within the Soviet military and government system.
The Tu-22M designation was used by the Soviet Union during the SALT II arms control negotiations, creating the impression that it was a modification of the Tu-22. Some suggested that the designation was deliberately deceptive, and intended to hide the Tu-22M's performance. Other sources suggest the "deception" was internal to make it easier to get budgets approved. According to some sources, the Backfire-B/C production variants were believed to be designated Tu-26 by Russia, although this is disputed by many others. The US State and Defense Departments have used the Tu-22M designation for the Backfire.
Production of all Tu-22M variants totalled 497 including pre-production aircraft.
During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was operated by the VVS (Soviet Air Force) in a strategic bombing role, and by the AVMF (Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskogo Flota, Soviet Naval Aviation) in a long-range maritime anti-shipping role. During the 1970s, Tu-22M made a few simulated attack runs against U.S. Navy carrier battle groups. The bomber also made attempts to test Japan's air defense boundary on several occasions. On Good Friday night, 29 March 2013, two Tu-22M3 bombers made simulated attacks on Sweden. The Swedish air defense failed to respond. Two TU-22M flew supersonic over the Baltic Sea on 24 March 2015.
The Tu-22M was first used in combat in Afghanistan from 1987 to 1989. Its usage was similar to the United States Air Force deployment of B-52 Stratofortress bombers in the Vietnam War, dropping large tonnages of conventional ordnance. The Russian Federation used the Tu-22M3 in combat in Chechnya during 1995, performing strikes near Grozny.
The Russian military acknowledged the loss of a Tu-22MR recon aircraft to Georgian air defences early in the 2008 South Ossetia war. One of its crew members was captured (Major Vyacheslav Malkov), two others were killed and the crew commander was missing in action as of August 2009.
The Tupolev company has sought export customers for the Tu-22M since 1992, with possible customers including Iran, India and the People's Republic of China, but no sales have apparently been made. Unlike the Tu-22 bomber, Tu-22M bombers were not exported to Middle East countries that posed a threat to US military presence in the region. During 2001, four Tu-22M aircraft were leased to India for maritime reconnaissance and strike purposes.
In January 2013, reports emerged that China had signed a purchase agreement for the production and delivery of 36 Tu-22M3, under the Chinese designiation of H-10; many components are to be manufactured domestically in China under a technology transfer agreement with Russia and Tupolev. Sales of the Russian-built Raduga Kh-22 long-range anti-ship missile and the fleet's intended use as a maritime strike platform have also been speculated upon. Rosoboronexport has reportedly denied any sales or negotiations with China regarding the Tu-22M.
Only nine of the earliest Tu-22M0 pre-production aircraft were produced, followed by nine more Tu-22M1 pilot-production craft in 1971 and 1972. Its NATO reporting name was Backfire-A.
The first major production version, entering production in 1972, was the Tu-22M2 (NATO: Backfire-B), with longer wings and an extensively redesigned, area ruled fuselage (raising the crew complement to four), twin NK-22 engines (215 kN thrust each) with F-4 Phantom II-style intake ramps, and new undercarriage with the main landing gear in the wing glove rather than in large pods. These were armed most commonly with long-range cruise missiles/anti-ship missiles, typically one or two Raduga Kh-22 anti-shipping missiles. Some Tu-22M2s were later reequipped with more powerful NK-23 engines and redesignated Tu-22M2Ye.
The later Tu-22M3 (NATO: Backfire C), which first flew in 1976 and entered service in 1983, had new NK-25 engines with substantially more power, wedge-shaped intake ramps similar to the MiG-25, wings with greater maximum sweep, and a recontoured nose housing a new Leninets PN-AD radar and NK-45 nav/attack system, which provides much-improved low-altitude flight (although not true nap-of-the-earth flying). It had a revised tail turret with a single cannon, and provision for an internal rotary launcher for the Raduga Kh-15 missile, similar to the American AGM-69 SRAM. It was nicknamed Troika ('Trio' or third) in Russian service.
As built the Tu-22M included the provision for a retractable probe in the upper part of the nose for aerial refueling. The probe was reportedly removed as a result of the SALT negotiations, because with aerial refueling it was considered an intercontinental range strategic bomber. The probe can be reinstated if needed.
Tu-22M3M: Tu-22M3 for RuAF with upgraded avionics and the ability to use precision air-to-surface weapons. Prior to 2020 it is planned to upgrade 30 Tu-22M3, setting them on a new hardware component base and adapted to the extended range weapons. Some aircraft are in service.
- Russian Air Force – 93 in service as of December 2010.
- Russian Naval Aviation – 58 in use as of December 2010.
- Crew: 4 (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, weapon systems operator)
- Length: 42.4 m (139 ft 4 in)
- Spread (20° sweep): 34.28 m (112 ft 6 in)
- Swept (65° sweep): 23.30 m (76 ft 6 in)
- Height: 11.05 m (36 ft 3 in)
- Wing area:
- Spread: 183.6 m² (1,976 ft²)
- Swept: 175.8 m² (1,892 ft²)
- Empty weight: 58,000 kg (128,000 lb)
- Loaded weight: 112,000 kg (246,000 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 124,000 kg (273,000 lb) ; 126,400 kg (278,700 lb) for rocket assisted TO
- Powerplant: 2 × Kuznetsov NK-25 turbofans, 247.9 kN (55,100 lbf) each
- Fuel capacity: 54,000 kg (118,800 lb) internally
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.88 (2,303.08 km/h; 1,243.565 kn; 1,431.07 mph) (2,000 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.6; 1,100 kn; 1,200 mph)) ; at altitude
- Range: 6,800 km (4,200 mi, 3,700 nmi)
- Combat radius: 2,410 km (1,500 mi, 1,300 nmi) with typical weapons load
- Service ceiling: 13,300 m (43,600 ft)
- Rate of climb: 15 m/s (2,950 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 688 kg/m² (147 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.45
- Guns: 1 × 23-mm GSh-23 cannon in remotely controlled tail turret
- Hardpoints: wing and fuselage pylons and internal weapons bay with a capacity of 24,000 kg (53,000 lb) of
- Up to 3 × Raduga Kh-22 missiles in weapons bay and on wing pylons or
- Up to 6 × Raduga Kh-15 missiles on a MKU-6-1 rotary launcher in its bomb bay, plus 4 × Raduga Kh-15 missiles on two underwing pylons for a total of 10 missiles per aircraft.
- Various freefall bombs – 69 × FAB-250 or 8 × FAB-1500 might be typical.
Notable appearances in media
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Hoyle, Craig (26 September 2014), "Kings of the swingers: Top 13 swing-wing aircraft", Flightglobal (Reed Business Information), archived from the original on 27 September 2014, retrieved 27 September 2014
- Eden, Paul, ed. Tupolev Tu-22/22M". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. London: Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1-904687-84-9.
- TU-22M FAS.org
- Goebel, Greg. "The Tupolev Tu-22 "Blinder" & Tu-22M 'Backfire'". vectorsite.net.[self-published source?]
- "Danish F-16s confronted Russian fighter jets approaching Sweden". The Copenhagen Post. April 23, 2013. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014.
- "Ryskt flyg övade anfall mot Sverige". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 22 April 2013.
- Cenciotti, David. "Russian Tu-22 bomber scares NATO air defenses flying at supersonic speed over the Baltic Sea for the first time" The Aviationist, 24 March 2015.
- TU-22M Backfire | Russian Arms, Military Technology, Analysis of Russia's Military Forces
- "Генштаб признал потерю двух самолетов в Южной Осетии". Lenta.ru. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- "Russia Resurgent: An Initial Look at Russian Military Performance in Georgia". 13 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- Маленькая бедоносная война (in Russian). Moskovskij Komsomolets. August 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- "Tu-22M simulated attack on U.S. aircraft carriers during cold war". Sep 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Wirtz, James (2004). Balance of Power. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-5017-2.
- Chopra, VD (2008). Significance of Indo-Russian Relations in 21st Century. Gyan Publishing. p. 130. ISBN 978-0-8047-5017-2.
- "China buys Russian bombers." SpaceDaily.com, 23 January 2013.
- Cenciotti, David and Richard Clements. "China's Buying A Fleet Of Russian Bombers Perfect For Taking On The US Navy." Business Insider, 20 January 2013.
- "Никаких переговоров с Китаем о поставке бомбардировщиков Ту-22М3 не велось и не ведётся – "Рособоронэкспорт." ITAR-TASS News Agency, 24 January 2013.
- Taylor 1980, p. 212.
- "Directory: World Air Forces". Flight International, 14–20 December 2010.
- Frawley, Gerald. "Tupolev Tu-22M". The International Directory of Military Aircraft, 2002/2003, p. 163. Aerospace Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-875671-55-2.
- Donald, David, ed. "Tupolev Tu-22M". The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, p. 883. Barnes & Noble Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.
- Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2000. p. 138. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.
- "Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent/Kh-555/RKV-500/Kh-65)". Jane's Strategic Weapon Systems. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2009-02-06.[dead link]
- Taylor, J.W.R. (ed.) Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1980–81. London: Jane's Publishing, 1980. ISBN 0-7106-0705-9.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tupolev Tu-22M.|
- Tu-22M3 page on airwar.ru (Russian)
- Tu-22M entry at Globalsecurity.org
- Tu-22M photos at Airliners.net
- "How to spot a Russian bomber" on BBC site