Russia’s Tu-22M supersonic, long-range, strategic bombers have reportedly began to carry out precision strikes on high-value military targets in Ukraine.
On May 11, Russian sources shared a video showing a Tu-22M, most likely a modernized Tu-M3, launching two Kh-22-type precision-guided missiles at targets in Odessa oblast. According to the sources, the missile strike took place very recently.
The Kh-22 is a large, long-range anti-ship missile with land-attack capability that was developed by MKB Raduga in the Soviet Union.
The older versions of the Kh-22 had a range of 600 kilometers only. However, the missile’s newest version, dubbed Kh-32, features serious upgrades on all levels.
The Kh-32 was designed to climb to 40 kilometers, to the stratosphere, after launch, transition to level flight, then perform a steep dive to the target. The cruise missile version is also designed to target enemy ships, as well as radars, and radio-contrast targets like bridges, military bases, electric power plants and others.
The missile has an inertial navigation system and radar homing head, making it independent of GPS/GLONASS navigation satellites. Presumably, it has a range of 1,000 kilometers and a speed of at least 5,000 kilometers per hour. The missile is armed with a 1,000 kg warhead. A nuclear-armed version was also developed.
Russia employed its Tu-22M bombers in Ukraine before, but only to bomb heavily fortified positions of Kiev forces in the Azovstal steel plant next to the city of Mariupol.
When armed with the Kh-22\32, the Tu-22M provides Russia with the ability to strike high-value military targets of Kiev forces deep in Ukraine.