Two Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers carried out a planned flight in the airspace over neutral waters in the Black Sea.
The news outlet of the Russian Ministry of Defense Zvezda published a video showing the flight.
The two strategic bombers remained in the air for five hours in the air and covered a distance of 4,500 kilometers were overcome during the flight.
On the route, the long-range aircraft were escorted by fighter jets of the Southern Military District.
The main objective of the Tu-22M3 is the destruction of a wide range of ground and surface targets. The development of the Tu-22M was carried out in the 1960s, and the machine made its first flight in 1969. The start of operation of the TU-22M0 took place in 1969, the Tu-22M2 in 1976, and the Tu-22M3 in 1983.
The Tu-22M3, despite being relatively aged has received numerous upgrades in recent years.
These upgrades allow for greater bombing accuracy with conventional weapons, as well as the capability to fire new Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM). One of these upgrades may change how the Tu-22M3 is controlled under the New START treaty. It may finally be considered a strategic “heavy” bomber.
They are also being upraded to Tu-22M3M, according to available documentation.
The Tu-22M3M bombers will get advanced precision weapons while their radio-electronic devices and engines will be similar to the equipment aboard the latest Tu-160M2 aircraft, the source added.
“The development of the documentation for the Tu-22M3M has been completed and work is currently under way at the Kazan Aircraft Enterprise to prepare the production facilities for the repair and modernization of the bombers that are in service in the operational units of Russia’s Aerospace Force. The first heavy upgrade of these planes since the time of their development will begin from next year,” the source said.
“The Tu-22M3M will feature an absolutely new avionics system standardized with the Tu-160M2,” the source noted.
“This refers to the entire avionics, including the navigation and sighting complex,” the source said, adding that after its upgrade the Tu-22M3M would get a possibility to use “modern long-range precision weapons.”
According to the source, the Tu-22M3M will have a power unit identical to the motor system aboard the Tu-160M2.
30 Tu-22M3 are planned to be upgraded. They will feature a new SVP-24-22 radio-electronic system, a NV-45 radar, the cockpit’s improved ergonomics, new onboard systems and an extended service life of 35 years. The upgraded bomber will be able to carry precision conventional weapons, including Kh-32 cruise missiles with a range of up to 600 km.
The Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic missile-carrying bomber is a heavily upgraded version of the Tu-22M aircraft. The plane was developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the mid-1970s. It performed its debut flight on June 20, 1977 and went into service in 1989. It develops a maximum speed of 2,000 km/h, has a service ceiling of 13,300 meters and a combat load of up to 24 tonnes (Kh-22 and Kh-15 missiles, bombs, sea mines).
The strategic bombers will also reportedly be equipped with Russia’s Kinzhal hypersonic missile.
According to open source data, Russia has produced 268 such warplanes. According to the Military Balance magazine, the Russian Aerospace Force operates 62 Tu-22M3 bombers.
They are actively used in attacks on militant facilities in Syria.
It should be recalled that in the end of 2019, in December, there was an incident when a Tu-22M3 crashed in Murmansk.
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