|BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USSR / Russia / Tupolev|
Development of the Tupolev Tu-22 'Blinder' supersonic bomber/ maritime patrol aircraft began in 1955, under the Tupolev bureau designations Aircraft Yu and Aircraft 105. The rapidly growing capability of Western air defence systems at that period threatened the continued viability of the subsonic Tu-16, and the Tu-22 was designed to make possible the penetration of enemy air space at higher altitude and supersonic speed. Features of the design included a 52°sweep wing with small LERXes, area ruling and the use of rear-mounted Dobrynin engines that avoided the drag and weight penalties of long inlet ducts. The landing gear retracts into typical Tupolev-style trailing-edge pods. First seen publicly in 1961, the Tu-22 has since been built to an estimated total of about 250, of which some 180 were believed to be in service in 1983 with the DA (140) and AV-MF (40). The type has also been supplied in small numbers for service with the Iraqi and Libyan air forces.
FACTS AND FIGURES
© Cockpir ergonomics were poor and the aircraft was very tiring to fly, even with autopilot. Even though the pilot's seat was offset, the central windscreen frame blocked the view during crosswind landing.
© The Tu-22 saw limited Soviet use over Afghanistan, and export customers Libya and Iraq used them in combat, each losing a number to ground fire.
© The Tu-22 carried up to 450 litres of pure grain alcohol to service its hydraulic and de-icing systems. The ground crews, who predictably drank a lot of it, nicknamed the Tu-22 the 'booze carrier'.
© Although faster, the 'Blinder' was shorter-ranged and less reliable than the old Tu-16 'Badger' and could only carry one Kh-22 missile rather than two.
© Tu-22s were built with a 23mm cannon in the tail, aimed by a gunner in the forward fuselage using a TV camera. Later this was replaced by an electronic countermeasures system.