Russia Rolls Out First Upgraded Tu-22M3M Long-Range Strategic Strike Bomber

Russian aircraft manufacturer, PJSC Tupolev, part of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), has rolled out the first upgraded Tu-22M3M long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber during a ceremony at the Kazan Aviation Factory n.a. S.P.Gorbunov.

The event was attended by Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade; Sergey Kobylash, Commander of the Russian Air Force’s Long-Range Aviation branch; Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan; Yury Slyusar, President of UAC; Alexander Konyukhov, General Director of Tupolev; Nikolay Savitskih, head of Kazan Aviation Factory; as well as chiefs of other state enterprises participating in the program.

Tu-22M3M is an upgraded variant of Russian Air Force Tu-22M3 bomber with a host of modifications and latest equipment. According to a press release by Tupolev, the modernization has significantly expanded the combat potential of the aircraft.

After the completion of preliminary tests, the new bomber will be handed over to the Russian Ministry of Defense for joint state tests which include both ground and flight tests. The first flight of the aircraft is scheduled later this year.

The new aircraft has upgraded avionics such as an NV-45 radar, SVP-24-22 bombsights and an improved cockpit. Replacing 80% of avionics allowed to improve the accuracy of navigation and the level of automation of aircraft control, to simplify its maintenance and preflight preparation.

The onboard radio-electronic equipment of the Tu-22M3M is same as the one used on Tu-160M. The upgraded aircraft is also equipped with a new information management system (IMS) with digital indication in the cab and functions for support for the crew.

The Tu-22M3M aircraft is powered by two Kuznetsov NK-32-02 afterburning 3-spool low bypass turbofan jet engine, which also powers the Tu-160M2 heavy strategic bomber (but has 4 NK-32-02 engines).

The bomber has the ability to fire a variety of precision air-to-surface weapons. It can carry four Kh-47M2 Kinzhal nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile or 3 Kh-32 long-range anti-ship missiles.

In total, about 500 Tu-22M aircraft of various modifications were built at the Kazan Aviation Plant.

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