The 46 Years of First Flight of Russia's Tu-22M3 Backfire-C Strategic Bomber

The 46 Years of First Flight of Russia's Tu-22M3 Backfire-C Strategic Bomber
The 46 Years of First Flight of Russia's Tu-22M3 Backfire-C Strategic Bomber

International Military - On June 20, 1977, 46 years ago, the first Tu-22M3 variant made its first successful flight. It is a modernized version of the strategic bomber family dubbed by NATO as the Backfire-C.

The Tu-22M3 variant was introduced into operation in 1983, but officially entered into service only in 1989. A fairly basic and striking change in the Tu-22M3 variant is the use of large and rigid intakes similar to the MiG-25 fighter jet design. The bomber also gets a new NK-25 engine with much more power than the previous generation Tu-22M2.

Other changes include a reshaped nose to accommodate the new Almaz PNA (Planeta Nositel, izdeliye 030A) and NK-45 navigation/attack radar, which provides much improved low-altitude flight.

Then aerodynamic changes increase its top speed to Mach 2.05 and its range is a third better than that of the Tu-22M2. The aircraft also has a wing with a greater maximum sweep.

The tail turret on the Tu-22M3 was also revised by carrying only one cannon and having an internal rotary launcher for the Raduga Kh-15 missile in its belly.

This variant of the Tu-22M3 was dubbed Troika (Trio) in Russian service, with 268 aircraft built until 1993. However, it is currently known that the Russian Air Force operates only 63 of these supersonic bombers designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau.

Some of them began to be upgraded by getting a new code as Tu-22M3M. The Russian Ministry of Defense itself intends to upgrade 30 Tu-22M3s to the advanced Tu-22M3M. This modernized version has 80 percent of its avionics replaced or upgraded, including SVP-24-22 bombsights, NV-45 phased array radar, GLONASS navigation system.

Then digital glass cockpit and the latest engine control, electronic warfare countermeasures, and the ability to use precision air-to-surface weapons. The Tu-22M3M variant can carry three Kh-32 or four Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles. The total weapons load, both external and internal, reaches 24 tons.

On 16 August 2018, the first modernized aircraft was unveiled ceremoniously from the Kazan factory facility. Furthermore, the aircraft successfully made its maiden flight on December 28, 2018. This upgraded version of the variable geometry wing bomber (swing wing) will extend its service life for the next 40–45 years.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post