Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Tu-22M  Backfire
C L I C K     T O     E N L A R G E

The Tu-22M is not a modified Tu-22 Blinder but a separately designed aircraft from the older Tu-22 of the 1950s.  The two most noticeable differences are that the Tu-22M has variable geometry wings and its engines are within the fuselage as opposed to being grouped above it by the tail.  The newer Tu-22M became operational in 1976 and remains to this day Russia's premiere bomber.
Picture:  1000 x 709 - Ramapo College

Crew:                    3 - Pilot, Navigator, Radio Operator/Gunner

Power:                  2 - KKBM Kuznetsov 25,051 kg / 55,137 lb thrust 
                                    NK-2512MV turbofans

Max. Speed:       2000 kph / 1242 mph
Ceiling:                13,226 m / 43,394 ft
Radius:                4000 km / 2485 miles
Climb:                  Not Available

Weight -
Empty:                54,000 kg / 118,854 lb
Max. Take Off:   124,000 kg / 272,924 lb

Size -
Wingspan:          34.28 m / 112 ft 6 in, spread
                             23.3 m / 76 ft 6 in, swept
Wing Area:         175.8 sq m / 1892.4 sq ft
Length:                42.46 m / 139 ft 4 in
Height:                11.05 m / 36 ft

                            1 - 23 mm / 0.9 in cannon in tail
                            24,000 kg / 52,824 lb conventional munitions in bomb bay or
                            3 - Kh-22 missiles or 
                            10 - Kh-15 missiles

The Tu-22M is a medium range bomber having one of two primary missions during the Cold War - strike strategic targets on the European and Asian continents and the maritime version targeting NATO carrier battle groups with anti-ship missiles.  An important ongoing role of the Tu-22M is reconnaissance.  The Backfire found limited use over Afghanistan and later Chechnya in 1995.   
Picture:  1024 x 768 - Mi 9

Every weapon system advance begins work on an appropriate response which then becomes the basis for designing an effective counter-measure.  The stakes are continually raised and the strategic arms race of the Cold War became one of attempting to stay even.  Jet interceptors begat high altitude supersonic bombers begat surface to air missiles begat stand-off missiles begat long range over the horizon air to air missiles and so on.  
Picture:  1024 x 768 - Flash Screen

The engineers of the early jet age were finding their way and the pilots of the time took the risk.  Like the American B-47 the Tu-22 Blinder was a difficult plane to fly and inexperience dealing with quirky handling could have lethal consequences.  Tupolev's experience with the Tu-22 led to development of the vastly improved Tu-22M3.  Still, large high performance intermediate bombers are increasingly viewed as expensive relics.
Picture:  2400 x 1800 at 180 dpi - CGI Dimension

As a strategic weapon the Tu-22M is primarily a platform for air launched cruise missiles such as the Kh-22 as well as short range attack missiles like the Kh-15.  The Backfire continues to do the heavy lifting for the combat wing of Russian aviation as well as provide reconnaissance and electronic counter measure capability.
Picture:  1280 x 719 at 100 dpi - Reddit  

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