Meet Russia’s Tu-22M3 Backfire, The Bomber That Could Sink a Navy Aircraft Carrier

June 6, 2018

The National Interest:

Russia’s much-feared Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire is getting a new upgrade and is adding a new long-range supersonic missile called the Kh-32. The upgrade will allow the massive jet to once again hit allied targets across the North Atlantic region just as the Backfire once did during the Cold War. The bomber and its new weapon will be delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces in October.

“According to the existing plan, the first Tu-22M3M with the most advanced Kh-32 long-range cruise missile will go on combat duty in long-range aviation in October this year,” a Russian defense industry source told the state-owned TASS news agency.

The addition of the powerful Kh-32—an advanced derivative of the Cold War-era Raduga Kh-22 or AS-4 Kitchen—gives the upgraded Tu-22M3 a formidable strike capability not just against ships, but against all manner of strategic targets in Europe. While the massive Kh-22 was designed to destroy American aircraft carriers, the new Kh-32 seems to be designed to hit a wider range of targets including bridges, military bases, electric power plants and other large installations at standoff distances.

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International Cooperation