Tuesday, May 4, 2010

TU-22M3 in Poltava Open Air Aircraft Museum

The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force. During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was operated by the VVS (Soviet Air Force) in a strategic bombing role, and by the Soviet Naval Aviation) in a long-range maritime anti-shipping role. The Tu-22M saw its first combat use in Afghanistan from 1987 to 1989. Its usage was similar to the United States Air Force deployment of B-52 Stratofortress bombers in Vietnam War, dropping large tonnages of conventional ordnance. The Russian Federation used the Tu-22M3 in combat in Chechen in 1995, carrying out strikes near Grozny. Production ended in 1993. The current strength was about 162 aircraft in 2008, with an additional 93 in reserve.

The Soviet Union did not export the Tu-22M, but the break-up of the USSR left some aircraft in the possession of former Soviet republics. Belarus has 52 (the serviceability of which is unclear). Ukraine had an additional 29, but since the Ukrainian government's renunciation of nuclear weapons, those aircraft have been destroyed in Poltava airbase, the last in 2004.

Guns: 1 × 23 mm GSh-23 cannon in remotely controlled tail turret
Hardpoints: wing and fuselage pylons and internal weapons bay with a capacity of 21,000 kg of
· From up to 3 × Raduga Kh-22 missiles in weapons bay and on wing pylons or
· The Tu-22M3 can carry six missiles on a MKU-6-1 rotary launcher in its bomb bay, plus four missiles on two underwing pylons for a total of ten missiles per aircraft or
· Various freefall bombs - 69 × FAB-250 or 8 × FAB-1500 might be typical.
On attached pictures you can see TU-22M3 that is preserving in Poltava Open Air Aircraft Museum headed by Colonel (ret) Valery Vereskul, former commander of the heavy bombers regiment deployed in Poltava.

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