The Tu-22M has established itself as a major adversary for many airforces across the world, notably the United States Air Force, thanks to its extensive flight range, enormous payload, and ability to defend against hostile jets.
According to retired US Air Force officer Christian Orr, stated by 19FortyFive, although being relatively old, Russia’s Tu-22M bomber is still a very deadly bomber for the US.
This general advised the US military to seriously consider the combat capability of this aircraft in light of the ongoing deterioration of relations with the Russian Federation.
The Tupolev Tu-22M long-range supersonic missile-carrying bomber was first introduced by Tupolev in 1972. It is primarily outfitted with the expeditionary combat force of the Russian Navy’s air force. The US B1-B Lancer bomber is viewed as having a worthy opponent in the fighter.
This bomber was designed from the beginning to attack enemy forces on land and at sea, as well as missile bases, nuclear weapons factories, naval bases, air bases, and defence industrial parks.
With a wing structure, the Tu-22M can carry up to 24 tonnes of weaponry and has a payload of at least 12 tonnes, a speed of 1,750 km/h, a range of 500 km, and a battle radius of nearly 3,000 km. Compared to the F-111 or Su-24 fighter/bomber, the Tu-22M has a far wider range and more ammunition loading capacity.
The primary weapon used by Tu-22M aircraft during combat flights is frequently Kh-15 cruise missiles. However, depending on the nature of the conflict, this kind of aircraft may also be equipped with conventional or nuclear bombs.
The maximum number of Kh-15 missiles that a Tu-22M can carry is 10, which is sufficient to destroy solid targets located deep underground or industrial areas that span several hundred thousand square metres.
Russian combat aircraft are continually being improved upon and given new advancements.
The Tu-22M3M, the most recent model of this aircraft, has a top speed of 2,300 km/h and a range of 7,000 km. The bomber has two NK-25 turnine jet engines and can carry a total bomb load of 24,000 kg at a maximum takeoff weight of 126,400 kg.