Technical data
Type Tu-22M1 Tu-22M0
Function bomber
Year 1969 1971
Crew 4
Engines (2)
Type NK-144 NK-22
Thrust (each, kg) 20.000 22.000
Size (m)
Length 42.46
Height 11.08
Wingspan 34.3/23.3
Wing sweep angle 20°, 30°, 50°, 60°
Wing area 165m2
Weights (kg) and loads
Empty ? ?
Loaded 121000 122000
Wing Load (kg/m2)
Speed (km/h)
Max. (at altitude) 1530 1660
Ceiling 13300m
Ferry Range (km) 4140 5000
Guns None GSh-23L
Bombs 12000kg
Missiles up to 3 supersonic "Kitchen" cruise missiles

Tu-22M0, Tu-22M1 (Tu-26), A.N.Tupolev 'Backfire'

(31K) Tu-22M0 at the Monino AF Museum, by Paul Nann. There are some people (for scale, I guess) near the AS missile just under the wing.

Serious revision of unsatisfactory Tu-22 bomber, but practically an all-new aircraft. Early production Tu-22M0 was first flown on October 30, 1969 and was built in 1969- 1971. Nine built. It differed from later variants by ECM/parachute fairing replacing the rear gun turret. Later, when requirement of grass field operation capacity was dropped, parachute was deleted.

In-air refueling capable Tu-22M1 batch also included 9 aircraft. It had an in-air refueling probe and could perform much longer missions with higher payload - if air tanker is available.

Both types serve with naval aviation.

During arms reduction talks, the US claimed that the Tu-26 was an all-new aircraft and a strategic bomber; the USSR said that the 'Backfire' was a development of the 'Blinder' and had no strategic capability. As a compromise, the refueling equipment was removed - but still supplied with the aircraft 'spares kit' and could be installed within few hours on any later model. Same treaty limited production of Tu-22M by 30 airframes/year.

It is a big 'swing-wing' bomber, used as cruise missile carrier and naval patrol aircraft. Despite its size, Backfire has D-shaped or rectangular (C version) wing root intakes, just like a fighter.

(39K) at Sheremetjevo-I, by Paul Nann

It is almost certain that 'Backfire' is an entirely new design, but still lacks the range for a strategic role - A.N.Tupolev now claims a radius of action of only 2200km. Its strike capability imposes quite a serious threat for naval targets... here comes a reason of US over-reaction. Well, keep you fleet where it belongs - there will be no threat from a 'Backfire'!

The USSR designated it Tu-22M, allegedly for budgetary reasons.



  • "Russia's Top Guns" pp.120-125;
  • Tu-22M
  • Tu-22M
  • Wealth of Tu-22M materials at 'Novik' site
  • Blackjack and what follows...
  • Tupolev - A New Horizon
  • Tu-22M "Backfire" at the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • Tu-22M at Watson's Military Page
  • Tu-26, Tupolev 'Backfire'
  • Tu-22M at Evgeni's Red Star Combat Aircraft Page;
  • Tu-26 at Yanko's Russian Weapons Catalog; (added 8/18/97)
  • Tu-22M variants
  • Tu-22M3 close-up;
  • Tu-22M, Tupolev 'Backfire'
  • Collection of Tu-22M3 and other photos by Andrej Pechenkin
  • DOO Flightsimulator page by Oleg Devjatkin;
  • Tu-22M Backfire-B

  • Created January 25, 1996
    Modified December 21, 1999
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