Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tu-22M bombers in Poltava. Chronology of elimination.

The Tu-22M was developed from the earlier Tu-22 design, incorporating variable-geometry outer wing panels. It lacks sufficient range for truly strategic missions and is classified as a medium bomber. The first series production model was the Tu-22M-2 “Backfire”-B (211 built) for the Soviet Air Forces and the Naval Aviation Forces. The ultimate bomber/missile carrying variant is the Tu-22M-3 “Backfire” equipped with one 23-mm cannon in remotely-operated tail turret, AS-4 “Kitchen” stand-off missiles, 6 x AS-16 “Kickback” nuclear missiles, AS-17 “Krypton” and AS-20 “Kayak” air-to-surface missiles. It had the capacity to carry up to 3 tons of free-fall bombs.

1981: Eighteen Tu-22M3 were deployed in Poltava. This variant became operational with 185 Guard Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment at Poltava and also served in Afghanistan.
January 1996: Twenty Tu-22M3 bombers were deployed in Poltava. In January 1996 four Tu-22M3 bombers arrived in Poltava. The bombers were transferred to Ukraine as part of the process of dividing the Black Sea Fleet.
November, 2001: US to help Ukraine eliminate 47 Tu-22M bombers. UNIAN reported on 4 November 2001 that the director of the US SOAE (Strategic Offensive Arms Elimination) program in Ukraine, John Connell, announced that the US government will help Ukraine eliminate 47 Tu-22M bombers.
October 14th, 2002: Ukraine begins Tu-22, Tu-22M bomber elimination under a contract issued by the US company Raytheon and funded by the US government. Bombers were scrapped at Mykolayiv and Poltava air bases. The first bomber was eliminated on 12 November 2002. The last Backfire bomber was destroyed in 2004.

May 29th 2006: A Tu-22 M3 heavy bomber “Backfire” is seen with its fuselage cut in two pieces at a military airfield in the city of Poltava. Only a few pictures were taken by UNIAN news agency and published in the Internet later on. In framework of a U.S.-funded disarmament program, Ukraine is expected to dismantle 31 aircraft in more than two years. Ukraine inherited the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal with the 1991 Soviet Union's collapse, including hundreds of missiles and dozens of strategic bombers. In the former airbase in Poltava there is a monument deicated to 185 Guard Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment.

Learn more about Tu-22 M3 heavy bomber “Backfire” on Swedish language at
Watch video about Tu-22 M3 heavy bomber “Backfire” at