Tu-22 bomber

Tu-22 Supersonic Bomber

The first TU-22 prototype "105" flew in 1958. Entered production in 1960 at Kazan aviation plant, over 300 Tu-22 were built by 1969. Was used in Afghanistan War, in Iraq-Iran War, during the conflicts in Sudan and Chad. During 1970s, modified Tu-22 variation, Tu-22M made a few simulated attack runs against US navy carrier battle group. The bomber also made attempts to test Japan air defense boundary in several occasions. However unlike Tu-22 bomber, Tu-22M bombers were not exported to middle-east countries that posted threat to US military in the region.

Crew: 3, engine: 2 x VD-7M, 156.9 kN, wingspan: 23.8m, length: 40.5m, height: 10.7m, wing area: 162.0m2, start mass: 84000-92000kg, max speed: 1610kph, ceiling: 14700m, range w/max.fuel: 5650km, range w/max.payload: 4900km, armament: 1 x 23mm remote-controlled cannon, 12000kg of bombs or missiles.

  Related Aircraft:
Chinese J15, Chinese J20,
F-35 JSF, F/A-18E/F, F-22

With performance roughly similar to that of the American B-58 Hustler, the BLINDER was capable of supersonic dash and cruises at high subsonic speeds, At least three major variants of the BLINDER entered operational service in the Soviet Air Forces ¡ª a free-fall bomber, an ASM carrier, and a photo/electronic reconnaissance variant.

Development of the supersonic TU-22 bomber began after the start of production of the TU-16. During preliminary studies, OKB Tupolev considered three versions: a supersonic attack bomber "98", a long range supersonic bomber "105" and an intercontinental supersonic bomber "108".

The first two required swept-wings while the "108" bomber had triangular wings. In the end, the "105" design served as the basis for the TU-22 while the design of the "98" was applied to the long range fighterplane TU-128. The "108" design was completely dropped. The original design drew heavily on the TU-16 and provided for four BD-5 or BD-7 turbojet engines. The angle of the swept-back wings was increased up to 45 degrees. The project was finally approved by the Soviet government in August 1954, despite numerous objections within the Communist Party leadership.

This supersonic medium-range bomber is a swept-wing aircraft with two engines positioned as the base of the tailfin. The low-mounted swept-back wings are tapered with square tips and a wide wing root. The landing gear pods extend beyond wings¡¯ trailing edges. Two turbojets engines are low-mounted on the tail fin, with round air intakes. This eliminated the need for a complicated boundary layer separation system in the intakes, but added a 15% weight penalty, and made engine maintenance much more difficult because of how high they were off the ground. The fuselage is tube-shaped with a solid pointed nose and a stepped cockpit. Tail flats are low-mounted on the fuselage, swept-back, and tapered with square tips. The fin is swept-back, and tapered with square tip.

The prototype of the "105" aircraft with BD-7M engines made its' first flight on 21 June 1958, but was subsequently extensively modified and upgraded. The Russians apparently had engine development problems early in the BLINDER program, and BLINDER prototypes were fitted with interim engines. In April 1958, even before the first flight, the decision was made to equip the aircraft with more powerful HK-6 engines and to build a second prototype with BD-7M engines. As development of the HK-6 engines was delayed, only the second prototype was actually built, which carried out its' first flight in September 1959. During testing, numerous problems arose, and a number of crewman were lost in crashes. Series production of this aircraft -- designated the TU-22 -- started at the plant Nr.22 in Kazan in 1959, where more than 300 TU-22 bombers were built through 1969. It entered operational service in 1962 and by 1970 there were 180 BLINDER aircraft in LRA service.

Tu-22 bomber

From 1965 on, all Blinder aircraft were equipped with an air refueling system, consisting of a refueling probe which folds into the fuselage when not in use. And beginning in 1965 the TU-22 fleet was re-equipped with more powerful RD-7M2 engines which allowed an increase in the maximum speed up to 1,600 km/h.

The TU-22 bombers was intended to replace the TU-16, but due to its' poor performance it was deemed unsatisfactory. Carrying a similar payload to only a slightly greater range, the Tu-22 offered no real increase in capability. Its limited range was its main disadvantage, though the TU-22K only carried one missile whereas the TU-16 carried up to three. Unreliable and prone to accidents, the Blinder was not built in sufficient numbers to replace the aging Tu-16 Badgers, which remained in service well into the 1970s. Subseqeuntly, KB Tupolev sought to upgrade the TU-22 in the form of a new design [designated "106"] that was supposed to have a range of 6700km, a speed of 2,000km/h and new HK-6 engines. This effort eventually led to the development of the Tu-22M BACKFIRE.

The Tu-22 was used by the Soviet Union in the Afghanistan War, and served the Soviet Air Force, and Navy into the late 1980¡¯s. Iraq received about 12 Blinders in 1973, while Libya received their 12 to 18 from 1977 to 1983. They were used by Iraq during in Iraq-Iran War, and by Libya during the conflicts in Sudan and Chad. A number of Blinders from each nation were lost to SAM¡¯s of opposing nations. As of 2000, Ukraine remains the sole operator of the type, with the Libyan, and Iraqi aircraft thought to be unserviceable.

Tu-22 bomber

The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO 'Backfire') is a supersonic medium bomber which was designed to replace the subsonic Tu-16 and the troublesome Tu-22 missile carriers. Although its designation may suggest that the 'Tu-22M' Backfire is basically a modified Tu-22 'Blinder' it is a completely different and new design with only a few small Tu-22 features maintained. The Tu-22M design features a variable geometry wing which is also found on contemporary tactical fighters and the American B-1B bomber. The two turbofan afterburning engines are unlike almost every other bomber located in its fuselage body, with large shoulder mounted intakes, resembling the configuration of tactical fighters as the Su-24 and Tornado.

Tu-22 bomberThe aircraft can be equipped with up to three Kh-22 air-to-surface missiles, with one under each wing and a third under its belly, semi-recessed into the bomb bay. The second ASM option is the Kh-15 (NATO AS-16 'Kickback') on a six-round launcher carried in the bomb bay. Up to four external bomb racks can be equipped, each rack capable of carrying nine conventional 250kg general purpose bombs. Also the 500, 1500 and 3000 kg conventional bombs can be equipped. The Tu-22M is equipped with a Leninets PN-A attack radar in the nose and a OPB-15T television sight for optical bomb aiming located below the fuselage just in front of the nose gear.

The Tu-22M has a crew of four: commander (left front), co-pilot (right front), communications officer (left rear) and navigator (right rear). All crew is sitting on KT-1 ejection seats which fire up, a much improvement after the downward firing seats in the Tu-22 Blinder. The rear crew have no forward visibility, but have a large side window each.

The first production variant was the Tu-22M2. The variant was capable of being refuelled in flight. However after the SALT treaty the probe was removed, remaining the probe housing. Later the probe housing was also removed, but the aircraft keeps the bulge-like shape of the nose.

Tu-22 bomberThe latest version, the Tu-22M3 or 'Backfire-C', has two NK-25 engines replacing the original NK-22s. The new engines coupled with redesigned engine intakes boosted performance. Also the maximum wing sweep was increased back to 65 degrees. The Tu-22M3 is capable of Mach 1 at low level and has a max speed of Mach 2.05. The Tu-22M3 was also armed with a new weapon, the Raduga Kh-15 which was better suited against enemy air defenses than the obsolete Kh-22. Probably because of the large available inventory of Kh-22 missile, the Kh-22 was improved (Kh-22M and Kh-22MA) and remained in service on the Tu-22M.

Although satellites took over the role of the Tu-22R for the larger part, a small number of Tu-22M3s were modified for the recconnaissance role. The designation for this variant is Tu-22M3(R) or Tu-22MR. The variant has a large sensor package (equivalent to that of the Tu-22RDM) built into the bomb bay.

The ECM package of the Tu-22M2 and despite improvements the Tu-22M3 was not considered adequate and an escort jamming aircraft was needed. The old Tu-16P was too slow for the job and two alternatives were considered. One being the Tu-22MP, a Tu-22M3 fitted with the Miass electronic warfare system. Three prototypes were built by 1992 but the type did not enter service. The other option was the Il-76PP, a converted Il-76 transport. It was equipped with the Dandish system which could not be equipped to the Tu-22M3 because it required too much power. One prototype was tested, but none were produced.

No Tu-22M Backfires were exported, altough China and Iran showed serious interest in the 1990s. Lately there have been reports that the Tu-22M3 is offered to India for the maritime attack role, probably armed with the conventional anti-ship Kh-15A (export designation Kh-15S) missile. Russia remains the biggest operator of the type, which will probably remain in service for the foreseeable future because a replacement (T-60S program) will prove too expensive. In 1997 a study for the upgrade of the Tu-22M3 was started under the name of project 245 or Tu-245. Ukraine is the only other operator, it inherited a large number of Tu-22M3 from the Soviet Union. Some of these remain in service as 'strategic deterrence'.

The Tupolev Tu-22M3, Backfire-C NATO-codename, is a swing-wing, medium range bomber designed to strike targets in Western Europe and Asia using both nuclear and conventional weapons. It has been designed to penetrate enemy air defense at low altitude and supersonic speed making him more survivable than previous strike aircraft. In addition to the strike role, the Tu-22M3 can carry out reconnaissance and maritime patrol missions. Tu-22M3 has an improved thrust-weight ratio up to 0.4, maximum speed increases from M1.65 to M2.05, combat range from 5100km to 6800km.

The nuclear-capable Tu-22M3 bomber features in-flight refueling capability for extended range missions which has been assumed as a capability for long range strikes against the United States. The total number of Tu22Ms owned by Russia is less than 300 aircraft due to treaties between the former Soviet Union and the United States.

The Tu-22M3 entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983. It is the last derivative of the proven Tu-22M medium range bomber. Compared to its predecessors it has an enhanced aerodynamic design and improved overall performance.

Recent Tu-160 News:

April 26, 2012: Starting on April 16th Russia began conducting training exercises with 40 of its hundred heavy bombers. All this was done near the maritime border with Japan, apparently to show the Japanese that Russia is determined to hold onto the disputed Kuril Islands. Ten Tu-22Ms and 30 Tu-95MSs practiced bombing, aerial refueling, and launching cruise missiles.

The Tu-95 aircraft (called "the Bear" in the West) entered service over half a century ago and is expected to remain in service, along with the Tu-142 variant, for another three decades. Over 500 Tu-95s were built and it is the largest and fastest turboprop aircraft in service. Russia still maintains a force of 50 Tu-95MSs (a missile carrying version from the 1980s) and fifteen Tu-142s (for maritime reconnaissance). There are dozens of Tu-95s in storage, which can be restored to service as either a bomber or a Tu-142. The 188 ton aircraft has a flight crew (for the Tu-95 version) consisting of a pilot, copilot, engineer, and radioman and an unrefueled range of 15,000 kilometers. Max speed is 925 kilometers an hour, while cruising speed is 440 kilometers an hour. Originally designed as a nuclear bomber, the Tu-142 version still can carry up to ten tons of weapons (torpedoes, mines, depth charges, anti-ship missiles, sonobuoys) and a lot more sensors (naval search radar and electronic monitoring gear). There are two 23mm autocannons mounted in the rear of the aircraft. The Tu-95MS is designed to carry up to sixteen large cruise missiles each.

The Tu-22 is a 1970s design. It's a 126 ton, twin-engine, swing wing aircraft with a crew of four (two pilots, a bombardier, and defensive systems operator). Originally it had a 23mm cannon mounted in a tail turret. It normally carries 12 tons of bombs and missiles (including up to four cruise missiles) but can carry 24 tons over shorter distances. Max speed is 2,300 kilometers an hour and combat radius is 2,400 kilometers. Originally equipped for aerial refueling this capability was removed in the early 1980s to comply with the SALT treaty (which reduced U.S. and Russian nuclear capabilities). The Tu-22M was roughly equivalent to the 45 ton FB-111. Russia hopes to have a new bomber design in service by 2030, to replace the aging Tu-22M3Ms.

Russia is upgrading 30 of its Tu-22M3 bombers to the Tu-22M3M standard. The first of the M3M models recently entered service. This new version has improved electronics, is able to deliver smart bombs, and has in-flight refueling capabilities restored. Other components of upgraded aircraft were refurbished as needed. This is expected to keep these 30 Tu-22M3Ms in service for another decade or more. All 30 upgrades will not be completed until the end of the decade.

A decade ago Russia had over a hundred Tu-22M3 "Backfire" bombers in service. Or so it was claimed, as these aircraft didn't fly much. When the Cold War ended in 1991, over 300 were still in service. About 500 were produced between 1969 and 1993. The Tu-22M saw combat in Afghanistan, where it carpet bombed areas thought to contain Afghan rebels. Some were also used in the 2008, war with Georgia. Efforts to find export customers failed.

Russia still has some Cold War era Kh-55 (AS-15) cruise missiles available for use by these heavy bombers. Five years ago an upgrade, the Kh-555, appeared. This missile is six meters (19.8 feet), weighs 1.6 tons, and has a range of 3,000 kilometers. The 364 kg (800 pound) conventional warhead appears to be a cluster bomb type (carrying bomblets). The missile uses inertial and satellite supplied guidance and can hit within six meters of its aiming point. Russia says it will use these missiles to attack terrorist bases in foreign countries. There was also a nuclear version but this does not appear to be in regular service.

Currently, Tu-160 and Tu-95MS heavy bombers normally carry a dozen Kh-555 missiles each. The Tu-22M can carry four of them. Thus the recent Russian air exercises off northern Japan put 400 cruise missiles, aimed south and able to hit anywhere in the Japanese islands.

Ceiling 14,000 m 45,932-ft
Crew 4
Cruise Speed 1,008 kph Mach .84
Length 42.5 m 139-ft
Max Range 6,800 km 3,672 nm
Max Speed 2,628 kph Mach 2.2
Max Weight 126,000 kg 277,1000-lb
Number of Engines 2
Payload 24,000 kg 52,910-lb
Span 34 m 112-ft
Thrust 488.4 kN 110,000-lb

Tu-22 bomber

Tu-22 bomber

Tu-22 bomber

Tu-22 bomber

Tu-22 bomber

Tu-22 bomber


Tu-22 bomber


Tu-22 bomber

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J-20 J-15 J-10B J-31 J-11 WZ-10 Xianglong UAV

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