The TU-22 came on the drawing boards of the Tupolev design bureau when the Soviet leadership needed a fast, long-range bomber to strike at the USA. The result was the TU-22 plane. It is a Mach 2+ strategic long-range bomber and no other air force has anything similar. The bomber has operated from the Hamdan airfield in Iran against the opponents of Assad and has been decisive. The environment is, however, free of ECM (Electronic Countermeasures) and the bombers have had safe operations.

The Backfire

The TU-22 code name Backfire has not yet been tested against sophisticated defense systems like it would encounter against the USA.

The bomber has speed and weapons systems like cruise missiles, which it can fire from some distance away from the target. This makes it a force multiplier, though it does not have a sophisticated defense ECM.

The development of the TU-22 started nearly 4 decades back and in that respect, it is a dated machine. Part of the systems are incorporated from the TU-144, the world first civil Supersonic Transport (SST). The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a lull in its deployment and development. However, after Putin came to power the Backfire came off the shelf and was re-inducted into the Russian Airforce strategic services. It has also been inducted into the recently created Far East strategic command to counter the USA in the pacific.


The Russian planes were operating from bases in Russia against the ISIS and all those who opposed Assad like the Free Syrian Army.

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For some time they operated from the Hamdan base in Iran as well. The bombers, which rely on speed and cruise missiles are lethal and they have created havoc in Syria. The bombers in a future war will rely on their speed and fire their missiles away from the target as they may not reach the target against sophisticated electronic defenses. The planes are generally flown at about 1.5 Mach to help conserve the airframe for a longer shelf life.

The Russians have been developing the TU-160 (an improved version of the TU-22), and it will fill the gaps that have been noticed in the TU-22.