TechUkraine Downs Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber in Historic Aerial Victory

Ukraine Downs Russian Tu‑22M3 Bomber in Historic Aerial Victory

Tu-22M3 bomber
Tu-22M3 bomber
Images source: © Mil.ru., Wikimedia Commons | SAVITSKY Vadim
8:51 PM EDT, April 19, 2024
On Monday, April 19, information about the crash of a Russian bomber Tu-22M3 was released. The aircraft, which had been used for attacks on Ukraine, was destroyed while returning to its base in Russia. There were speculations about "friendly fire" being the cause. However, the Commander of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, confirmed that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the attack. He highlighted that this was the first instance of a Tu-22M3 being shot down in the air.
The Ukrainian service Defence Express revealed that according to Lt. Gen. Mykola Oleshchuk, the destruction of the Russian bomber was a joint effort by Ukrainian military intelligence and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This marked the first aerial elimination of a Tu-22M3, as opposed to previous ground-based takedowns. The aircraft crashed near the city of Stavropol in Russia after conducting an attack on the Odessa region.

Russia lost bomber Tu-22M3

The exact method used to down the Tu-22M3 remains unclear. Ukrainian military intelligence briefly stated that the aircraft was shot down around 186 miles from Ukraine using the same system that had previously downed Russian aircraft designed for long-range radar detection and control, the A-50. There has been unofficial speculation about the possible employment of the Patriot missile system.

Tu-22M3 bombers are a staple in Russia's raids on Ukraine. Norbert Garbarek, a WP tech journalist, highlighted that these bombers can carry Raduga Kh-22 missiles. These missiles are notoriously difficult to intercept due to their high speed, reaching close to Mach 3 (about 2237 mph) and reaching up to 310 miles. Furthermore, the Tu-22M3 is compatible with the newer Russian Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles, which boast a range of up to 1243 miles.

The Tu-22M3 bombers represent an upgraded version of the Tu-22M. They feature numerous enhancements, such as an extended range of 4225 miles and a top speed of 1430 mph. The payload capacity has also increased, allowing the Tu-22M3 to carry twice as much as its predecessor, the Tu-22M2, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The aircraft measures 139 feet in length, has a wingspan of 112 feet, and stands 36.2 feet tall. Its maximum takeoff weight is 278,660 lbs, with up to 52,910 lbs of weapons, including the previously mentioned Kh-22 Raduga and Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles.

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