Russian Air Force Tu-22M3 bomber aircraft perform flights at high temperatures in Siberia

According to news published by the Russian Press Agency TASS on August 11, 2020, Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-22M3 (NATO reporting name: Backfire) bombers aircraft of the long-range aviation regiment based in the Irkutsk Region in East Siberia have performed planned flights at high temperatures, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press office said.

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Rusian Air Force Tu 22M3 bomber aircraft perform flights at high temperatures in Siberia 925 001 Russian Air Force Tu-22M3 Long-Range Strategic Bomber. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

“The flights were directed by Air Regiment Commander Colonel Dmitry Piternieks. They involved more than 10 flight crews. The flight personnel operated both in the daytime and at night and trained advanced flying,” the press office said.

The flights aimed to practice cohesion within a formation. High-temperature flights require specific flying and ground maintenance techniques.

The Tupolev Tu-22M, NATO reporting name Backfire, is a long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by Tupolev for the Soviet Air Force. The aircraft is currently in service with the Russian Air Force and Russian Naval Aviation. The aircraft is primarily used to conduct nuclear strike and conventional attack operations. It can also be deployed in anti-ship and maritime reconnaissance missions.

The Tu-22M3 was introduced with upgraded features to overcome the shortfalls of its predecessor. The aircraft completed its first flight in June 1977 and was inducted into the inventory in 1983. Some of the Tu-22Ms were also modified to Tu-22MR and Tu-22ME standards.

Tu-22M3 has a length of 42.4m, a maximum wingspan of 34.2m, and a height of 11.05m. The empty weight and maximum takeoff weights of the aircraft are 53,500kg and 126,400kg respectively. The aircraft is provided with hardpoints to carry Kh-22stand-off missiles, Kh-15 nuclear or Kh-15P anti-radar missiles and FAB-250 or FAB-1500 free-fall bombs. The wing and fuselage pylons and internal weapons bay are provided with a capacity to carry 24,000kg of weapons payload. The aircraft is also armed with a double-barrelled GSH-23 (23mm) gun in remotely controlled tail turret.