Tupolev Tu-22M Strategic Bomber Aircraft 4

Tupolev Tu-22M Strategic Bomber

The Tupolev Tu-22M (also known as Backfire) is a long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by Tupolev for the Soviet Air Force. The aircraft is currently in service with the Russian Air Force and Russian Naval Aviation.

The Tu-22M was based on the design of the Tu-22 aircraft. The first Tu-22M-0 prototype completed its maiden flight in August 1969. The Tu-22M-1 first flew in July 1971 and the Tu-22M was first deployed in combat missions in Afghanistan between 1987 and 1989. The Tu-22M3 was used by Russia for combat operations in Chechnya in 1995.

The aircraft is primarily used to conduct nuclear strike and conventional attack operations. It can also be deployed in anti-ship and maritime reconnaissance missions.

Tupolev Tu-22M variants

20.04.2015_image_2234.jpgImage @tupolev.ru

The earliest pre-production aircraft produced was the Tu-22M0. Its production was limited to small numbers due to inadequate performance. It was followed by the Tu-22M1 pilot-production aircraft for the Soviet Naval Aviation.

Production on the first major production version, Tu-22M2 began in 1972. It was equipped with extended wings and a redesigned fuselage, twin engines and a new undercarriage.

The Tu-22M3 was introduced with upgraded features to overcome the shortfalls of its predecessor. The aircraft completed its first flight in June 1977 and was inducted into the inventory in 1983. Some of the Tu-22Ms were also modified to Tu-22MR and Tu-22ME standard.

Tu-22M3M Backfire C (Tu-26)

Tu_22M3M_big.pngThe Tu-22M3M is a modernized version of the Tu-22M3. There’s only one prototype yet, which undertakes tests now, with frame number RF-94145, made last year (2012). Image @redstar.gr

It’s equipped with an advanced electronic system SVP-24-22 (similar to the one of Su-24 airplane), which was developed by the JSC “Gefest and T”. It provides automatic guidance to the target and if necessary recalculates the parameters of the attack during flight. It has also the capability to guide a group of planes to the target from various directions and can land the aircraft of its own, if the weather conditions are bad. This system has significantly improved the navigation and targeting from a long distance, without having to approach the target and once the rocket is fired, it is very difficult to be locked and destroyed.


Mutli-function LCD displays

The SNRS-24 is an advanced navigation system developed to provide better guidance to the crew especially in combat situations and is a part of the SVP-24-22 system.

Among others it provides:

Satellite navigation through GLONASS and GPS.

Coordination correction of the field during flight (KENS).

Data exchanging through SV-24/22.

It has the capability to reconfigure the flight parameters in case of any failure or change in the original flight plan, or the target engaging.

BFI – Graphical on monitor, data representation of the flight parameters. (Gathering of information through a multi-channel system for the SV-24 on-board computer and transforming them to symbolic and graphical representation on LCD monitors.)

UVV-MP-22 – Input/Output module UVV-MP-22 (UVV-S & UVV F)

TBN-K-2 – Data storage system TBN-K-2, for the collection and registration of information that are collected from the target-navigation system. Source @redstar.gr


Introducing the SVP-24

SVP stands for “специализированная вычислительная подсистема” or “special computing subsystem”.  What this system does is that it constantly compares the position of the aircraft and the target (using the GLONASS satellite navigation system), it measures the environmental parameters (pressure, humidity, windspeed, speed, angle of attack, etc.).  It can also receive additional information from datalinks from AWACs aircraft, ground stations, and other aircraft.  The SVP-24 then computes an “envelope” (speed, altitude, course) inside which the dumb bombs are automatically released exactly at the precise moment when their unguided flight will bring them right over the target (with a 3-5m accuracy).


In practical terms this means that every 30+ year old Russian “dumb” bomb can now be delivered by a 30+ year old Russian aircraft with the same precision as a brand new guided bomb delivered by a top of the line modern bomber.

Not only that, but the pilot does not even have to worry about targeting anything.  He just enters the target’s exact coordinates into his system, flies within a defined envelope and the bombs are automatically released for him.  He can place his full attention on detecting any hostiles (aircraft, missiles, AA guns).  And the best part of this all is that this system can be used in high altitude bombing runs, well over the 5000m altitude which MANPADs cannot reach.  Finally, clouds, smoke, weather conditions or time of the day play no role in this whatsoever.

Last, but not least, this is a very *cheap* solution.  Russian can now use the huge stores of ‘dumb’ bombs they have accumulated during the Cold War, they can bring an infinite supply of such bombs to Syria and every one of them will strike with phenomenal accuracy.  And since the SVP-24 is mounted on the aircraft and not the bomb, it can be reused as often as needed.

The SVP-24 has now been confirmed to be mounted on the Russian SU-24s, SU-25s, Tu-22M3 “Backfires” and the Kamov Ka-50 and Ka-52 helicopters, the venerable MiG-27 and even the L-39 trainer.  In other words, it can be deployed on practically *any* rotary or fixed wing aircraft, from big bombers to small trainers. I bet you the Mi-24s and Mi-35Ms deployed near Latakia also have them.

Here are what the various parts of the SVP-24 system look like (photo from the MAKS Air Show inZhukovsky):


The SVP-24 proves, yet again, the good engineering, especially good military engineering does not have to be expensive or flashy.  In practice the introduction of the SVP-24 in the RASF resulted in a net reduction in operating costs. Source @thesaker.is


Tupolev Tu-22M design

The Tupolev Tu-22M incorporates a long variable sweep wing fuselage design. The aircraft features a stepped cockpit and variable-geometry outer wing panels. The tail fin is swept-back and tapered with a square tip. The flats mounted on the centre of body are pointed with blunt tips and each wing includes a centre section and two outer panels. The outer wings are attached to the centre section through hinged joints.


Tu-22M3 has a length of 42.4m, maximum wing span of 34.2m, and a height of 11.05m. The empty weight and maximum takeoff weights of the aircraft are 53,500kg and 126,400kg respectively.


The semi-glass cockpit accommodates a crew of four on upward-firing ejection seats. It is equipped with dedicated panels for pilots, navigator-operator and commander, with entry provided through individual doors. The pressurised cockpit is equipped with climate control systems.

186771.jpgTu-22M3 cockpit – Image @airplane-pictures.net1786126Tu-22M3 rear cockpit – Image @airlines.net

Latest cockpit upgrade

image_5012fe6420671tu-22m3m siria 2016-8-14New upgraded cockpit rear cockpit – Image @charly015.blogspot.com


The aircraft is provided with hard points to carry Kh-22 stand-off missiles, Kh-15 nuclear or Kh-15P anti-radar missiles and FAB-250 or FAB-1500 free fall bombs. The wing and fuselage pylons and internal weapons bay are provided with a capacity to carry 24,000kg of weapons payload. The aircraft is also armed with a double-barrelled GSH-23 (23mm) gun in remotely controlled tail turret.


Double-barrelled GSH-23 (23mm) gun in remotely controlled tail turret


Caliber: 23×115 mm

Weight: 51 kilos. ( 52.5 GSh-23L, 60 GSh-23V water cooled variant)

Lenght : 1347 mm ( GSh-23 L 1537 mm)

Width: 169 mm

Height: 165 mm

Rate of fire: adjustable 2900 to 3400 rpm


The main armament of the Tu-22M3 is a combination of three X-22MA missiles (one under the fuselage and two under the wings). The missile is intended against naval or ground targets and the destruction of anti-air defense locations. It has a range of 140-150 km, weights 5.900 kg and travels at about 4 Mach. Besides the X-22MA missile, the aircraft can also carry the X-15 missiles for attacking naval targets with a millimeter wave length sensor for passive guidance against radars. Source @redstar.gr

Kh-22 Kitchen (AS-4 KITCHEN)

raduga-kh-22-kitchen.pngImage @the-blueprints.com

The “Kh-22” missile (NATO codename “AS-4 Kitchen)”, part of the “K-22” weapons system, was a supersonic rocket powered weapon. It had a pencil-shaped fuselage, with twin delta wings and a cruciform tail assembly; the bottom tailfin folded sideways to provide takeoff clearance. The rocket was liquid-fueled, using storable hydrazine and nitric acid propellants, and has two rocket chambers, one for boost and one for long-range cruise.


The Kh-22 was guided by a gyroscopic INS, with a Doppler radar altimeter. The guidance system was evaluated on modified MiG-19 fighters. There were three initial variants: the “Kh-22”, an anti-ship variant with an active radar terminal seeker and a conventional warhead; the “Kh-22P”, a “defense suppression” variant with a passive radar homing terminal seeker and a nuclear warhead, intended to crush adversary air-defense sites; and the “Kh-22N” version for strategic attacks. The missile performed a high-altitude pop-up attack to descend on the target at Mach 2.5. It followed a “semi-ballistic” trajectory, with either a relatively shallow pop-up to medium altitudes followed by a Mach 1.2 dive towards the target, or a stratospheric pop-up followed by a Mach 2.5 dive towards the target.

Tu_22M3M_Kh22Nz_eng.pngImage @redstar.gr

Raduga began work on the Kh-22 in 1958 and it was first deployed in the mid-1960s. A Bear bomber could carry one under the centerline; it also had a pylon mounted on each wing close to the wing root, allowing it to carry two Kh-22s. Pictures exist of Bears carrying three Kh-22s but this was apparently not a practical operational load. One can be carried under the belly by the “Tu-22 Blinder” or “Tu-22M Backfire” supersonic bombers, with another possibly carried under each wing.

In the 1970s, two improved variants were introduced: the “Kh-22M”, for anti-ship and precision land attack, with a new HI-LO attack profile; and the “Kh-22MA”, with a LO-LO attack profile. Both variants added improved counter-countermeasures and a datalink for course corrections. The Kh-22 was obsolescent by the late 1970s but has lingered on since that time. Source @craymond.no-ip.info

20151119_isporuka_bogu_ili_alahu_tu22m3Tu-22 with Kh-22 missiles
Type long-range tactical standoff missile
Wingspan 3.0 m
Length 11.3-11.65 m
Diameter 0.92 m
Launch weight 5780-6000 kg
Max. speed 4000 km/h
Ceiling 24000 m
Maximum range 460-500 km
Propulsion liquid propellant rocket motor
Guidance active radar or passive infra-red homing
Warhead high-explosive, 1000 kg, or
nuclear, 350 kT yield

Specification Source @fas.org



Even the fast KSR-5 left something to be desired. Storable rocket propellants are corrosive and highly toxic, making them difficult to handle, and the KSR-5’s range and capability were inadequate. In the 1970s, the US Navy developed the Grumman F-14 Tomcat interceptor, which featured long-range Phoenix air-to-air missiles. The Tomcat / Phoenix combination, backed up by the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye carrier-based radar early warning aircraft, presented a clear threat to Soviet bombers operating in the anti-ship role. The Hawkeye could provide long-range “eyes” for the Tomcat, which had long range and endurance, allowing it to fire a Phoenix at a Soviet bomber long before the Red aircraft got within range of a carrier group. If the bomber did manage to take a shot with a cruise missile, the Phoenix might well shoot the missile down.

The Tomcat / Phoenix / Hawkeye threat led the Soviets to develop the low-level launch versions of the Kh-22 and KSR-5 missiles, and also to work on a missile that was much harder to intercept. The Soviets were impressed enough by the Boeing SRAM that Raduga developed an equivalent, the “Kh-15 (AS-16 Kickback)”, which has almost the same external appearance as the SRAM. It was the first Soviet large ASM with solid-fuel rocket propulsion.


The Kh-15 is a simple spike of a missile with three tailfins. The resemblance to SRAM is so close that it is tempting to refer to the Kh-15 as “SRAMski”. Unlike SRAM, however, as with the other large Soviet ASMs, the Kh-15 was designed for both strategic and anti-ship attack. There are three versions: the standard Kh-15 nuclear-armed strategic variant, with inertial guidance only; a conventionally-armed anti-ship variant, the “Kh-15A”, with an active radar terminal seeker; and an antiradar variant, the “Kh-15P”, with a passive radar seeker. An export version of the Kh-15A, the “Kh-15S”, was also built. After launch, the missile climbs to the edge of space and then dives on the target steeply at Mach 5, making it very hard to hit.


Raduga began work on the Kh-15 in the late 1960s and it was accepted for service in the early 1980s. A Tu-22M Backfire bomber can carry six Kh-15s in a revolver launcher in the weapons bay, plus four more under the wings. It is also carried by the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack bomber. Source @craymond.no-ip.info

FAB-250 or FAB-1500 free fall bombs


The Russian term for general-purpose bomb is fugasnaya aviatsionnaya bomba (FAB) and followed by the bomb’s nominal weight in kilograms. Most Russian iron bombs have circular ring airfoils rather than the fins used by Western types.

In 1962 a new series of streamlined, low-drag bombs was introduced, designed for external carriage by fighter-bomber aircraft rather than in internal bays. They come in only two sizes, 250 kg (550 lb) and 500 kg (1,100 lb). Both bombs have a single nose fuze.



FAB-1500 free fall bombs


Both the 54 and 62 series designs remain in use. The most common of these are the FAB-100, FAB-250, FAB-500, FAB-750, and FAB-1500, roughly corresponding to the U.S. Mark 80 series. These have seen widespread service in Russia, Warsaw Pact nations, and various export countries.

Larger bombs with less streamlined shapes also remained in the Soviet arsenal, primarily for use by heavy bombers. In the Iran–Iraq War, FAB-5000 (5,000 kg/11,000 lb) and FAB-9000 (9,000 kg/20,000 lb) bombs were dropped by Iraqi Air Force Tupolev Tu-22 bombers, generally against large, fixed targets in Iran. In Afghanistan in the 1980s, Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 and Tupolev Tu-22M bombers used massive FAB-1500, FAB-3000 and FAB-9000 bombs to devastating effect during the Panjshir offensives. Source @wikipedia.org

TU-22M3 of 840 heavy bomber regiment at Novgorod_13Image @bemil.chosun.com

The modernized airplanes, according to available intelligence will be armed with the next generation X-32 (Kh-32) missile, which is under development now on the basis of X-22 (Kh-22), with many improvements like the increased range (up to 1000 klm) and speed (up to 5 Mach). This missile is expected to enter service in 2020. Source @redstar.gr

X-32 (Kh-32) missile


There is not much information on the Kh-32 but it is rumored to fly at Mach 7 and has a range of over 1,000 km.


The new weapon will be able to rise into the stratosphere to a height of up of 130,000 feet, with a nuclear or conventional 500-kilogram (1,102 lb) warhead and hit targets within a few yards.

Each long-range bomber can carry only two of these cruise missiles, each of which weighs about six tons.

Kh-32 specifications

The missile is equipped with an inertial navigation system (an autonomous system not affected by electronic warfare) and heat-seeking warheads with a radar homing head. This solution will greatly improve the accuracy of its guidance, making it independent of GPS/Glonass navigation satellite systems.

Unlike other missiles, the Kh-32 rises into the stratosphere to the height of aerospace probes, where there are no potential adversary fighters or missiles. Then it flies a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before swooping down on a target.

According to an RBTH source in the defense industry, no Russian or foreign missile defense system today is able to detect the Kh-32 approaching the target: neither the domestic S-400 Triumph system nor the American MIM-104 Patriot.

“The airspeed of the Kh-32 is five times higher than its predecessor, which has been deployed since the late 1960s,” the source said. “Air and missile defense systems today cannot detect a diving warhead, which moves down at a speed of over 5,400 km/h.”

Source @russia-insider.com

Tu-22-bomb-bay-video.jpgTu-22M3 bomb bay – Image @theaviationist.com

Now comes some data in detail: 1 Radio combat (round trip) of a bomber Tu-22M3 loaded with 24,000 kgs of bombs mission profile hi-hi-hi subsonic (cruising at high altitude throughout the profile flight) taking off from the Iranian air Force Base in Hamadan:

wml99yImage @charly015.blogspot.com

2nd Radio combat (round trip) of a bomber Tu-22M3 loaded with 12,000 kgs of bombs mission profile hi-hi-hi subsonic (cruising at high altitude throughout the flight profile) off from the Iranian airbase Hamadan:

tu-22m3 48 ofab 250Image @charly015.blogspot.com

One option would be a configuration 3rd internal load, for example, 27 pumps of 250 kgs. This does not harm the aerodynamics, as if it does load bombs on external-media and provide a radio hi-hi-hi subsonico above the 2nd option.

2a7ezckImage @charly015.blogspot.com

Translated from Spanish Source @charly015.blogspot.com

PLA-AF-Tu-22M-3-Weps-2D.pngImage @ausairpower.nettu-22-bomer-920-8.jpgImage @bemil.chosun.com

Sensors / radars

The aircraft is fitted with PN-A/PN-AD bombing-navigation radar system, Argon-2 radar fire-control system and a TV-based backup optical bomb sight. The countermeasures are provided by a radar warning receiver, radio-frequency jammers, and updated defensive countermeasures gear.

L-082 MAK-UL series infrared MAWS

IMG_2754-lj.jpgAir Power Australia WebsiteImage @ausairpower.net

L-082 Mak-UL – (BKO-2 Karpaty EW Suite) Infrared
MAWS, Missile Approach Warning System
Max Range: 9.3 km

Source @cmano-db.com

SPS-171/172 Sorbtsiya [L-005] ECM


SPS-171/172 Sorbtsiya [L-005] – (Tu-22M) ECM
DECM, Defensive ECM
Max Range: 0 km

Avtomat 2/3 – (Tu-22M-2/3) ESM

RWR, Radar Warning Receiver
Max Range: 222.2 km

Down Beat [PNA-D Rubin] – (Tu-22M-3) Radar

Radar, FCR, Air-to-Surface, Long-Range
Max Range: 444.5 km

Source @cmano-db.com

OBP-15T optical bombsight on Tu-22M3


The ventral OBP-15T remote TV bombsight is used to target dumb bombs. The fairing for this device is well placed to fit an infrared imaging laser targeting system (RuAF). Source @ausairpower.net

Bomb Sight [OPB-15T Groza] – (Tu-22M, Tu-160) Visual
Visual, Bomb Sight
Max Range: 3.7 km

Source @cmano-db.com

PRS-4KM fitted to Tu-22M3 tail radar

ГШ-23_в_корме_Ту-22PKS-4KM  rear radar – Image @wikimedia.org

Fan Tail [PRS-4KM Krypton-B] – Radar
TWR, Tail Warning Radar & Tail Gun Director
Max Range: 18.5 km

Source @cmano-db.com


Engines and landing gear

user_72_82Image @aviationspotters.net
“The aircraft is equipped with tricycle landing gear to support operations on unprepared runways.”

The Tu-22M3 is powered by two Kuznetsov NK-25 turbofan engines installed in the body with large air intakes and dual exhausts. Each engine produces a maximum thrust of 25,000kg and delivers an improved fuel economy.

Kuznetsov NK-25 turbofan engine



NK-6 NK-25 NK-254) NK-25 NK-25
Thrust – maximal kp   14500 3) 14800  
– Full afterburner kp   25000 25000 25000
– Supersonic cruise mode kp        
– Subsonic cruising mode kp        
– To overcome M = 1 adj. He slept. kp        
– idle kp        
SFC – maximum thrust kg.kp -1.h -1   0.76 0.58  
– Full afterburner kg.kp -1.h -1 1.95   2.1 2.08
– Supersonic cruise mode kg.kp -1.h -1        
– Subsonic cruising mode          
Airflow kg.s -1        
pass ratio   0.6     1.45
Compressibility blower          
The total compression of the compressor 14.75   14 25.9
Maximum temperature before turbine C 1087     1327
The total length of the engine mm   5200 7300  
The maximum diameter of the engine mm   1500 1770  
diameter blowers mm   1348    
Dry weight engine kg   2850 3575  
The full weight of the engine kg     4275  
Acceleration from idle to max. Draft with   9    
Acceleration from idle to full adj. He slept. with   18    
Source [Dvig]     [Dvig]

Engine Specification @leteckemotory.cz

The aircraft is equipped with tricycle landing gear to support operations on unprepared runways. The nose gear includes backward retractable twin wheels. Each main landing gear unit consists of six wheels in a 2×3 bogie arrangement. These are retracted straight in to the fuselage. The Tu-22M2 was equipped with twin brake slides and a runway arresting hook.

263042Image @airplane-pictures.net

Performance of the Tu-22M3

The Tu-22M3 can fly at a maximum altitude of 14,000m and the rate of climb of the aircraft is 15m/s. The aircraft has a cruise speed of 900km/h and maximum speed of 2,300km/h. The operational range of the aircraft is 7,000km.

The aircraft can be equipped with refuelling probes to allow in-flight refuelling for extended range.

TYPE Long range Bomber
POWER-PLANT Two bypass engine NK-22
Thrust, kg 2 x 22.000
Length, m 41,16
Height, m 11,15
Wing span, m
– minimum 20o 34,28
– maximum 65o 23,30
Wing area, m2
– minimum 20o 183,58
– maximum 65o 175,78
Maximum take-off, kg 126.000
Normal take-off 112.000
Maximum speed, (10.000 m), km/h 2.300
Cruising speed, (missile X-22M-Tu-22M, Tu-22M2), km/h 900
Service ceiling, m 13.000
ARMAMENT 1 x 23-mm cannon GSh-23

Warload-24.000 kg (maximum )

Tu-22M3M Specification @redstar.gr


Main material source @airforce-technology.com

Size comparison 

Tu-160-Comp-1Image @ausairpower.netTy-95MC-Side-CompImage @ausairpower.net

Tu-22M3 launching a Kh-32 cruise missile

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