Russian ‘bomber’ Tu-22M3 fired cruise missiles to attack Ukraine from the direction of Belarus?

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine accused the Russian “Bombers” Tu-22M3 of using Belarusian airspace to fire cruise missiles at their territories. Currently, Moscow and Minsk have not commented on the information. 

In a statement issued on October 6, Deputy Director of the Operations Department of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Oleksiy Hromov confirmed that a large-scale missile attack was carried out on the targets on Ukrainian territory on the morning of the same day.

Oleksiy Hromo alleged that cruise missiles were launched by Russian strategic bombers operating in Belarusian airspace.

“This morning, four enemy Tu-22M3 strategic bombers launched missiles into Ukrainian territory from Belarusian airspace,” said Oleksiy Hromo.

According to people familiar with the matter, the incident Hromov mentioned is most likely a missile attack on the city of Zaporizhia in southern Ukraine. At least seven Russian cruise missiles hit the city on the morning of October 6, causing heavy damage to many buildings.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on October 4, 2022, confirmed that the Belarusian army was not directly involved in Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. However, Moscow forces still use a number of military bases on the territory of Minsk as a springboard to attack Kyiv targets.

Earlier, local Ukrainian officials on June 25 said that Russia had “rained” missiles on military facilities in Ukraine. In this attack, Ukrainian authorities allege that many missiles were launched by Tu-22 strategic bombers from Belarusian airspace.

With a weapons bay that can hold about 70 FAB-250 bombs or FAB-1500 bombs, the Tu-22M3 can launch massive bombing raids.

In addition, there is the ability to carry cruise missiles so that the Tu-22M3 can attack long-range beyond the range of enemy air defense missiles.

In the Syrian battlefield, the Tu-22M3s played a key role in the bombing raids to destroy the Islamic State militants.

The collapse of IS in Syria and Iraq has a great deal of merit from this type of strategic bomber Tu-22M3.

During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was an obsession for the US and NATO due to its fast flight ability and rich arsenal. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia modernized to the Tu-22M3 standard.

Realizing the great features of this aircraft, China repeatedly offered to buy, but Russia shook its head and refused.

Tu-22M3 has a snub nose, which is used to place the Leninets PN-AD radar system and the NK-45 position/attack system to help them launch accurate destruction of the enemy.

The aircraft is flown by a crew of four pilots. This bomber has a length of 41.46m; wingspan of 23.3m (closed at a 65-degree angle), 34.28m (split at a 20-degree angle); 11.05m high.

The empty weight of Tu-22M3 is 58 tons, the maximum take-off mass is up to 126.5 tons.

The aircraft is equipped with 2 Klimov NK-25 jet engines with a thrust of 245.2 kN; a maximum speed of Mach 1.88; a flight range of 7,000 km; flying ceiling of 13 km.

Although smaller than Tu-160 and Tu-95, this bomber can still carry nearly 24 tons of weapons. One of the most special weapons of the Tu-22M3 is the Kh-32 missile.

With a range of 1,000km, and a supersonic flight speed of 5,000km/h, Kh-32 cruise missiles combined with Tu-22M3 strategic bombers are the duo that can defeat the US missile shield and NATO.

Kh-32 is one of the modernized variants of the long-range anti-ship missile line Kh-22 specializing in the destruction of aircraft carriers developed by the Soviet Union and equipped on strategic bombers such as Tu-22M and Tu-22M. -95.

In the past, the Soviet Navy had 10 Tu-22M regiments with 200 aircraft and 600 Kh-22 missiles. Currently, all Kh-22 missiles have been eliminated to be replaced by Kh-32 missiles.

The Russian Air Force still maintains a fleet of Tu-22M3 up to 162 units. Tu-22M3 together with Tu-95MS and Tu-160 becomes the current trio of strategic bombers of the Russian Air Force.

During the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Tu-22M3s are mobilized by Russia for long-range raids. They mainly carry Kh-22 and Kh-32 cruise missiles to attack Ukrainian military targets.

Because of their long-range attack, these bombers do not need to enter the airspace of a neighboring country, so they avoid interception from Ukrainian fighters or air defense systems.

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