The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) – a subsidiary of Russia’s Rostec State Corporation – has delivered another modernised Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire-C supersonic-capable strategic bomber/missile carrier to the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (RuASF’s) Long-Range Aviation (LRA) command.
The upgraded Tu-22M3 was handed over to the RuASF at the end of December 2022 after modifications to improve the aircraft’s overall performance and a familiarisation flight had been completed. It is unclear which Russian bomber base this Backfire-C was delivered to, but AFM understands that approximately 60 Tu-22M3s are in operational RuASF service. Some of these are apparently being used as missile carriers to carry out stand-off attacks against military and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine to support the Russian offensive.
The relevant upgrade work was carried out by PJSC Tupolev – the type’s original equipment manufacturer, now a part of the wider UAC – which is also responsible for servicing and maintaining the RuASF LRA’s fleet of strategic bombers/missile carriers.
Fitted with two new Kuznetsov NK-25 three-spool low-bypass afterburning turbofan engines, the Tu-22M3 completed its first flight in 1977 and was first introduced into operational RuASF service in 1989.