Tu-22M "Backfire" A.N.Tupolev


Tu-22M2 and Tu-22M3 brief description


Tu-22M3 is a cantilever full-metal low-wing monoplane of normal scheme with the wing with variable leading-edge swept angle, swept tail unit with large additional forward vertical tail unit, lateral regulated air intakes, two turbofan engines inside the fuselage aft and three-axle retractable landing gear with nose post. The fuselage (semi-monocoque type) consists from four blocks and is strengthened by longitudinal beams in bomb bay area. The nose block (until 13th former) contains main radar under folding radio- transparent radome, the crew hermetic compartment and air refuelling boom with its bubble. The forward block (13-33th formers) contains nose landing gear post bay, fuel tanks No.1 and No.2 and electronic equipment bays (between formers 13-14, 18-23, 31-33), divided from each other by nose landing gear post bay. For accessing into these bays the hatches are made. On upper starbourd of fuselage, between formers 14-16 the accident boat bay is located. The middle block (33-60th formers) contains fuel tank No.3 under centre wing and the bomb bay between formers 44-60. At both aides of fuselage middle block the air intakes' entrance channels spread, and fuel tank No.5a is located over the bomb bay. Below the starboard air intake entrance channel between formers 57-60 fuel tank No.5b is located. The bomb bay doors and console rotation units are connected to longitudinal beams, strengthening the fuselage in bomb bay area. The removal panels under the centre wing open the access into the fuselage below-wing groin part. The aft block (60-82th formers) contains engines, auxiliary power unit, regulated engine jet exhausts, the tail unit with drag chute box, fuel tanks No.5 (integral) and No.6, 7 and 8 (bag tanks). Aft the vertical tail unit the UKU-9A-502 cannon unit with two GSh-23 23 -mm cannons is located on Tu-22M2. As regards Tu-22M3, it's fitted by UKU-9A-502M cannon unit with one GSh-23 23-mm cannon.

The wing has variable leading-edge swept angle and consists of centre wing (with 56 degrees leading-edge swept angle) and 2 rotated consoles. The consoles are moved by helical motions, connected each other by shaft with cardan hinges, and their hydraulic motors are feeded from two independent contours (hydraulic systems) in order to increase reliability. If one of console rotation gears fails or is damaged, the console rotation velocity is reduced. Tu-22M2 wing has 4 fixed values of leading-edge swept angle value 20 degrees (take-off and landing), 30 for altitude increasing after take-off and for speed run at subsonic speed, 50 to breake through AAD (Anti-Aircraft Defence) at low altitudes with subsonic speed and 60 degrees for flight with maximum speed at high altitudes. Tu-22M3 has maximum leading-edge swept angle value equal to 65 degrees. The consoles' leading-edge swept angle value regulates automatically or manually by pilot. The centre wing is of two-spar type with thick covering panels, fuel tanks are located in centre wing and consoles. The wing mechanization includes double-slotted flaps and auxiliary wings on the consoles and the centre wing flaps. The ailerons are disused and the three-section spoilers on each console are used for transverse maneurability at low and middle angles of attack. The consoles' double-slotted flaps deflexion angles are 23 degrees at take-off and 40 at landing. If consoles' leading-edge swept angle value exceeds 20 degrees, than the deflexion of consoles' double- slotted flaps and auxiliary wings is blocked up.

The swept tail unit has classic design. The vertical tail unit consists of additional forward vertical tail unit, main vertical tail unit (with 56 degrees leading-edge swept angle) and rudder. The lower part of main vertical tail unit contains fuel tank No.9. The horizontal tail unit has 57 degrees leading-edge swept angle value and includes two consoles with 59 degrees leading-edge swept angle value. Consoles are used for providing of transverse maneurability at high angles of attack (they move aside in scissors-like way).

The landing gear is three-axle, retractable with nose post. The nose post with 2 steered wheels retract backwards into the fuselage forward block bay, the main landing gear retracts into the centre wing and partly into fuselage in direction of aircraft longitudinal axis. On early Tu-22M middle pair of wheels of 6-wheels main landing gear before landing mowed aside, increasing rut of main landing gear and also the aircraft's capability to roll at ground runways. Later the demand for heavy aircraft basing on ground runways was cancelled and from Block 34 6-wheels main landing gear were simplified, as the middle pair of wheels' position control system was disused. The wheels dimensions are: 1000*280 mm for nose post and 1030*350 mm for main landing gear wheels, equipped with hydraulically-powered disc brakes. The landing gear bays doors connect to the centre wing fuselage. The drag chute is retracted by electro-pneumatic drive and consists of two parts, by 52 square metres each.

The Tu-22M2 power plant consists of two NK-22 turbojets inside the fuselage aft (maximum thrust with alterburning 2*20 tons). The air intakes are lateral rectangular and regulated, with hydraulically controlled vertical wedge. Tu-22M3 has two NK-25 turbofan engines inside the fuselage aft (maximum thrust with alterburning 2*25 tons, nominal thrust 2*14.3 tons). The air intakes are lateral rectangular and regulated, with upper surface, moved forward and hydraulically controlled vertical wedge. In order to provide enough amount of air, coming through the engine while the aircraft sits on the runway or flies with low speed the additional folds were made in upper part of air intakes both for Tu-22M2 and Tu-22M3. The auxiliary power unit is used for main engines start and also for different aircraft systems power supplying. The fuel is located in 10 tanks in fuselage (bag tanks and also integral tanks), inside the center wing and consoles, and in forward additional vertical tail unit. If being shot through, the tanks are filled with carbon dioxide, the pilot can also pour off the fuel in emergency. The aircraft can be fed with fuel from ground unit and has the flight refuelling system (for Tu-22M2 this system's units are used from serial Tu-22K, Tu-22M3 has its oun flight refuelling system). The crew compartment is hermetic four-seated. All crew members' seats are under hatches opened in direction of aircraft longitudinal axis. The pilot's cabin front glass block has one silicate glass and all other glasses are organic. Because of increased range and flight duration than Tu-22, the crew in Tu-22M2 is increased to four: pilot, 2nd pilot (co-pilot), navigator and operator of offensive/defensive electronic equipment (they also do all armament controle operations). The crew members' amount and functions were keeped on Tu-22M3. Two pilots are located in forward cockpit, navigator and operator in the second cabin. The cockpit is more roomy than on Tu-22, and crew now operates in more comfortable conditions. All the crew members had ejection seats KT-1 created in Tupolev's design bureau, which eject upwards and let to leave aicraft at zero altitude and speed, exceeding 130 km/h. After aicraft commander's signal all crew members eject with minimum time delays. The crew has pressurized suits, and also waterproof suits, flameproof suits and hermetic helmets.

The flight control system is doubled, partly electric-remote. The spring loading units are installed for creating pilot's "control feeling". The limitations on fulfilling maneurs, dangerous for the aircraft's strength, are also introduced into the flight control system. The ABSU-145 automatic control system functions in automatic or manual regime.

Armament. Tu-22M2 and Tu-22M3 with maximum take-off weight can carry three X-22M air-to-surface missiles: one in bomb bay and two on the pylons under centre wing. This missile is used for destroying of large radar-contrast targets and also AAD (Anti-Aircraft Defence) radars and can be fitted with fragmentation/blast, cumulative or nuclear warhead. The missile length is 11.6 metres, wing span is 3 metres. mass 5800 kg, range up to 500 km, maximum speed 4000 km/h. Before missile engine starts the missile loses altitude relatively to the bomber. In 80s for enforcement of Tu-22M strike capabilities, new air-to-surface missiles X-15 were installed. These short-range missiles were located in the bomb bay (6 on rotary launcher) and 4 under centre wing. The nuclear and conventional bobbs of various types and mines can be located in bomb bay and under centre wing on the pylons via multy ejector racks. Maximum bomb load is 24 tons, several combinations of blast bombs are possible, for instance: 69*100-kg, 69*250-kg, 42*500-kg, 8*1500-kg, 2*3000-kg, and also 24*500-kg + 8*1500-kg or 24*500-kg + 1 X-22M missile. The bombs are dropped after signal from main radar or from optical bomb sight. The early Tu-22M were not fitted with guns, but under influence of Vietnam war experience it was acknowledged nesessary using og guns even on heavy aircraft for "dog fight". Last serial Tu-22M0 got tail unit UKU-9-502 with two GSh-23 cannons. All Tu-22M series keeped this armament inspite of mass increase almost at 4 tons. Pilots had doubts on cannon's useful effect, but they still were the important item of bomber's defensive complex. The special shells were developed for them - with anti-radar reflectors (false targets) for missiles with radar sight heads, and with "thermal traps" for missiles with infra-red heads. As regards Tu-22M3, it's fitted by UKU-9A-502M cannon unit with one GSh-23 23-mm cannon. For both Tu- 22M2 and Tu-22M3 the fire is controlled by radar or TV-sight.

Tu-22M history
Tu-22M in Air Force service
More Links:
  • Tu-22M "Backfire" at Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • Tu-22M at Watson's Mititary Page
  • Tu-26, Tupolev 'Backfire'
  • Tu-22M at Evgeni's Red Star Combat Aircraft Page;
  • Tu-26 at Yanko's Russian Weapons Catalog; (added 8/18/97)
  • Tu-22M3 close-up;
  • Tu-22M, Tupolev 'Backfire'
  • Collection of Tu-22M3 and other photos by Andrej Pechenkin

  • References:
  • Ye. Gordon "Tu-22/Tu-22m- soviet supersonic bombers",Warsaw, 1998.
  • Mosaeroshow-92
  • Technical data
    Type Tu-22M3
    Function bomber
    Crew 4
    Engines 2*245.3kN Kuznetsov NK-25
    Loaded weight 125t

    Cruise speed

    Speed max 2000km/h


    Ceiling 13300m
    Load 24000kg
    Guns 1*g23mm
    Rockets up to 3 supersonic "Kitchen" cruise missiles
    Created April 20, 1998

    modified August 21 1998
    by Alex V.Mryakin
    and Sergey V.Andreev;