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Medium Range Bomber

TU - 22

NATO Codename "Blinder"

The TU-22RDM Long Range Reconnaissance Aircraft

Crew 3
Entered service in 1962
Dimensions and weight 
Length 41.6 m
Wing span 23.6 m
Height  10 m
Weight (normal) 92 t
Engines 2 x RD-7M2 turbojet engines.
Traction 2 x 17 000 kgs
Altitude 13 500 m
Maximum speed 1 640 km/h
Flying range 5 550 km
Aviation gun NR-23, 23-mm aviation gun
Missiles 1 x Kh-22 Air-to-Surface (TU-22K)
Bombs 13 tons
   In 1962 the first soviet medium range turbojet bomber the TU-22 entered service with the Soviet Union Air force. The TU-22 "Blinder" became the first mass production turbojet bomber of it's class. It waScheme of the TU-22 Medium Range Bombers developed by A.N.Tupolev Design Bureau and was intended to replace it's predecessor the TU-16. "Blinder" was intended to strike against stationary and limited movement targets mostly sea targets with Air-to-Surface missiles and bombs. 

   The TU-22 "Blinder" had an "Samoliot 105A" indexation before it entered service. It was first publicly presented in Domodedovo (Moscow region) aerodrome on Aviation Day in 1961. Initially it was known in NATO force as "Bullshot", a bit later "Beauty", and at least "Blinder". In the Soviet Air force the TU-22 had an unofficial name "Shilo" [bodkin] of it's sharp nose.

   VD-7M Engines developed by V.A.Dobrinin Separated Design Bureau featured slightly adjustable thrust vector. In 1965 year the TU-22 models were fitted with RD-7M2 engines designed by Rybinsk city Engine Design Bureau. The last mentioned had a traction on over boost regime in 17 000 kgs instead of 16 000 kgs with the earlier ones.

   The TU-22 had a maximum speed of 1.5M in high altitude. Each crew had to make not less than two supersonic flights a year including maneuvers and combat firing. During one of the similar flights the TU-22R got in uncommon atmosphere conditions that took it's supersonic wave from 11 000 altitude to the ground. This supersonic wave has broken all windows in the center of Suma city.

   Bomber chassis consists from one front and two rear bearings. The aircraft was fitted with the landing break two cupola parachutes placed in container under the rear aviation gun turret.

   The TU-22 was fitted with modern for that time board electronic equipment including powerful radiolocation station, rear aviation gun fire control radiolocation station, radio altitude rangefinder, radio electronic countermeasure system, infrared trap system with dipole reflectors. Aircraft was equipped with a 0-0 class catapult seats.

   Modifications of the TU-22:

   - TU-22B Medium Range Bomber;
   - TU-22R Reconnaissance Aircraft. It is also known as the "Blinder-C";
   - TU-22K Missile Carrier;
   - TU-22P Radio Electronic Warfare Aircraft;
   - TU-22U Training Aircraft.

   Initially the Soviet Union plannThe TU-22RD Long Range Reconnaissance Aircraft ed to produce the TU-22 in two variants - Bomber Tu-22B and Reconnaissance Aircraft TU-22R. In 1961 there was planned to build 12 TU-22B and 30 TU-22R aircrafts unfortunately this plan was decreased to 7 and 5 aircrafts consequently. Finally there were built 15 bombers TU-22B in that year.

   Mass production of the TU-22B Bomber was quiet complicated at the beginning. First serial aircrafts were used for training purposes. They entered service in 1962 and were deployed near Riazani city. After a year of training they were redeployed to heavy bombers aviation regiment of the 46-th Air Army.

   Bomb lift differed depending on the mission. It could consist from 24 FAB-500 (weight - 500 kg) or one FAB-9000 (weight - 9 000 kg). However the TU-22B was not intended for a FAB-9000 bomb and it was only used as a substitute for a nuclear bomb during the design stage. Together with the main bomb compartment the aircraft had some more small compartments in wing gondolas - main chassis streamlines for lifting a small size bombs. 

   In the TU-22K Missile Carrier variant aircraft is capable to carry one Kh-22 supersonic Air-to-Surface missile or up to 13 tones of various bombs in it's bomb compartment.

   This aircraft was intended to strike against US and NATO Navy Fleets and especially against the aircraft carriers. A group of a regimenThe TU-22 "Blinder" Medium Range Bombert that is 24 - 30 TU-22K Missile Carriers supported by 4 - 8 TU-22P Electronic Warfare Aircrafts should strike before entering Navy anti-aircraft defense zone theoretically in 550 km range from 14 000 m altitude or in 400 km from 10 000 m consequently. Unfortunately usual strike was made in 250 - 270 km distance as the Kh-22 had to be guided from board radar. For a long range strikes missile's autopilot was programmed to fly in 22 500 m altitude with sudden dive over the target on 1 400 - 1 720 km/h speed with usage of active radiolocation guidance warhead on the final trajectory stage. Usage of nuclear warhead made unnecessary usage of guided one. 

   At the time when the TU-22K regiment prepared to launch missiles the TU-22P aircrafts were intended to mask the strike with various electronic warfare methods. This counteraction was intended against Navy radars to prevent "Standard" missiles launch against the TU-22 regiment, and also counteract against Navy aviation.  

   Success of this strategy was doubted at the beginning of 70-ties when US Navy Fleet ordered F-14 Naval Fighters. Such fighter was directly developed to fight against Soviet anti-ship missiles launched from bombers. The F-14 patrolling in a great distance from the aircraft carrier forced missile carriers to enter it's "Phoenix" Long Range Missiles reach zone. The USA began to use E-2C "Hawkeye" Long Range Radiolocation Aircrafts based on the same aircraft carriers to notify the TU-22R Reconnaissance Aircrafts and to direct the F-14 Fighters on them. This should prevent notifying of the aircraft carrier itself and stop the strike before it had to begin. If the strike notwithstanding on all measures had been made the F-14 should intercept missile carriers and the missiles itself. The "Phoenix" missile was developed to intercept targets in 18 000 m range. This made able to intercept the Kh-22 in it's initial or final trajectory stage. Unfortunately Kh-22 main trajectory went out of the "Phoenix" reach limits. 

   The TU-22K was also in service with Libyan (24 aircrafts) and Iraq (12 aircrafts) Air Force. Overall there were built 311 TU-22 aircrafts of all "B" and "K" modifications and the Navy Fleet disposed 80 of them.     

   The first TU-22R Reconnaissance Aircrafts built in 1962 were deployed in Ukraine and Kaliningrad region. In 1965 tThe TU-22 "Blinder" Medium Range Bomberhere were build additional TU-22R aircrafts for two air regiments deployed near Kiev and near the Black sea (Ukraine). In the Navy aviation regiments the TU-22R replaced IL-28R. As a result these aircrafts were divided equally between the Navy Fleet and Air Force. 

   The TU-22R can be used for radio technical, radiolocation, and visual reconnaissance. It was quiet identical with the TU-22B Bomber except photo equipment placed in the nose part bomb compartments. It is said that this project was supported by KGB (National Security Committee) for strategic reconnaissance purposes over Europe and Asia unfortunately in the beginning of 60-ties appearance of satellite forced TU-22R to make only usual reconnaissance especially for the Navy Fleet.

   This aircraft also saved bomber ability to carry bomb load and had an optical bomb sight and a weapon control system. The TU-22R aero cameras differs depending on the mission and includes AFA-40, AFA-41/20, AFA-42/20, AFA-42/75, AFA-42/100, or NAFA MK-75. Such aircraft main feature is to make topographical and other pictures with an aero camera in a middle range distances in 1 600 km/h speed. Additionally to photo equipment it was fitted with an ordinary "Rubin-1A" terrain overview radiolocation station and a "Romb" electronic reconnaissance system. 

   Aircraft was fitted with KDS-16 infrared trap device placed in the rear part of the chassis gondola. Furthermore aircraft can be used to set radio electronic strays if the reconnaissance equipment is replaced to the APP-22 electronic warfare station.

   The years 1969-1970 were the most successful for the reconnaissance "Blinder's" as two Navy Aviation regiments had overall 62 TU-22R aircrafts. Later this number slightly decreased till the middle of 80-ties when they were started to be replaced with the SU-24MR aircrafts. Overall there were built 127 aircraft of this type.

   The TU-22R became the first modification of the TU-22 with air refueling system. After this experiment with the TU-22R after 1965 all other TU-22 aircrafts were fitted with this system. Aircrafts with this equipment got additional indexation "D" - as "long range" to their indexes (TU-22RD, TU-22KD). Such aircrafts featured fixed fuel receiver placed on the nose part of the fuselage. To ensure the TU-22 refueling an old-dated TU-16A Bombers were rebuilt to refueling aircrafts - the TU-16N by fitting them with the air refueling system.

   In November 1988 the TU-22RD were planned to make a photo reconnaissance over the Afghanistan unfortunately these plans weren't realized.

   Radio Electronic Warfare Aircraft - the TU-22P was intended to generate active and passive radio electronic strays in meter, decimeter, and centimeter radiolocation stations band. The TU-22P was fitted with a powerful radiolocation station which allows it to notify air targets and direct fighter aircrafts on it and to send coordinates for ground anti-aircraft defense systems.

The TU-22 Medium Range Bomber   In October 1988 four TU-22PD were supporting the TU-22M3 Bombers in Afghanistan. Electronic warfare aircrafts were involved near Pakistan boarders to counteract against possible attacks of Pakistani F-16 Fighters and anti-aircraft missiles. Four months later all the TU-22PD aircrafts were returned to base as there were no need in them as the bomb strikes were made set forward from the Pakistan borders.

   There was one more modification of the TU-22 - the TU-22U Training Aircraft. The main difference was in additional cockpit for a 4-th crew member.


   Maintenance of the TU-22 showed a number of serious disadvantages. In a great supersonic speed appears air turbulence caused by unsuccessful engines displacement over the tail stabilizer. The aircraft becomes hardly operated. Furthermore one more serious disadvantage is a high landing speed and bad overview from the cockpit.

     In 1992 Russian Air Force used only limited number of the TU-22R and TU-22P. The aircraft has a 35 years career notwithstanding on it's crews unpleasant opinion and life full of accidents.

   The further improved modification of the TU-22 Medium Range Aircraft became the TU-22M (TU-26). Such class aircrafts were used only by France (Mirage-4) and the USA (FB-111).

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