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Tu-22M Backfire (Tupolev)

The Tu-22M Backfire is a long-range aircraft developed by the Tupolev design bureau for conventional attack, anti-ship, reconnaissance and nuclear strike missions.
The Tu-22 can be equipped with bombs air-to-surface missiles and was developed for attacks in Europe, Asia and intercontinental mission against the United States. The Tu-22M was developed from the Tu-22 bomber.
Cold War
This supersonic Soviet bomber was designated in 1971 in the Backfire and capable of aerial refueling from a tanker. It became one of the most important intelligence debates of the cold war if it was a bomber, periphal attack or intercontinental attack. The key variable was the maximum range of the aircraft.
Tupolev claimed a radius of action for the early backfires model. The United States Defense Intelligence Agency initially estimated that the backfire would have a unrefueled combat radius of some 5000Km. But according to the CIA, the backfire would have a radius between the 3360 and 3960 km. The American intelligence community estimated that the Tu-22M wouldn't be a threat for the US, but later the US Air Fore estimated that it could be used for a one way intercontinental attack on the United States.

The Tu-22M on the photo is a Tu-22M3 which features: the first test flight was on 20 June 1977 (Russian Air Force) and became operational in 1983. The range of the bomber was 6800km, with a maximum speed of 2300km/h and a payload twice as that of the Tu-22M2 which could be equipped with Kh-22 cruise missiles, Kh-15 (AS-16) short-range missiles and be able to carry nuclear bombs. T
he crew is 4.

When Ukraine became separate from the Soviet Union, it adapted about some 55 (former Soviet) Tu-22M2s and Tu-22M3s but they have all been scrapped between 2001 and 2006.

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Last updated: September 11, 2011