Inside Russia’s devastating supersonic nuclear bomber, capable of carrying 24 tons of weapons and attacking anywhere in the United States

RUSSIA’S deadliest warplane can carry nuclear weapons thousands of miles and drop up to 24 tons of bombs.

First used by Russia in its war with Ukraine during the “carpet bombing” of Mariupol, the Tupolev Tu-22M3 has a range of almost 7,000 km and includes all of Europe and the east coast of the United States in its area of ​​operation.


Russia's devastating Tu-22M bomber plane


Russia’s devastating Tu-22M bomber planeCredit: Russian Air Force
It was used in the


It was used in the “carpet bombing” of MariupolPhoto credit: Twitter

Also known by its NATO name “Backfire”, the Tu-22M is designed to carry up to 24,000 kg of weapons – specifically the Russian FAB-250 and FAB-1500 bombs.

These Soviet-designed, general-purpose air-drop bombs with a high-explosive warhead are ancient but devastating in their indiscriminate damage.

The Tu22M can also carry Kh-15 nuclear or anti-radar missiles, as well as Kh-22 long-range naval attack missiles.

With a crew of four planes, the Backfire can reach top speeds in excess of Mach 2 (2,300 km/h) under its latest version, the Tu-22M3.

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This latest incarnation of Putin’s deadliest bomber is also capable of firing Kh-47M2 hypersonic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Introduced in the 1980s, the Tu-22M3 features a superior NK-25 engine and several subtle but crucial design changes, including changes to the nose, wings and air intakes.

Other additions included a new radar and navigation system designed to assist in low-flying missions.

Developed as a slightly modified version of the original 1960s Tu-22 bomber, the Backfire is designed to take part in intercontinental nuclear strikes, naval strikes and conventional ground attack missions.

National security expert Mark Episkopos wrote in The National Interest: “One of the most recognizable symbols of the Russian Air Force, the Tu-22M3 has proven itself in its three decades in service as an effective and highly reliable strategic bomber.”

Today Russia has more than 60 in operation.

Misfires were already used to deterrent effect in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

This is particularly ironic given that Ukraine inherited large numbers of Tu-22s and Tu-22Ms with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but destroyed them under an arms deal.

Russian backfires were used to bomb Ukraine’s rail network and shell the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

They were previously deployed by the Kremlin to conflicts in Syria, Chechnya and Georgia.

During the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, a Backfire was shot down in combat in the only such case to date.

However, use of the Tu-22M3 in this latest conflict remains limited so far.

In the first hours of the conflict, a US Department of Defense official told CBS News that as many as 75 Russian long-range bombers may have taken part in the war’s opening actions.

The Ukrainian military first acknowledged the use of Tu-22Ms in the conflict in mid-April after video evidence of Russia’s deadly bombers surfaced last month.

Footage appeared to show a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber firing cruise missiles at suspected Ukrainian targets.

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Last month footage showed Russian bombers blowing up Ukraine’s Palace of Culture.

Horror films show the building bursting into flames after the missile hit, in what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called an “absolutely evil act”.

Vladimir Putin’s forces are believed to have fired the Kh-22 missile from a supersonic Tu-22M3 bomber in the Ukrainian city of Lozova.

Lozova is about 45 miles southwest of Izium, a Russian-occupied city in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.

The rocket could be seen in the video in the milliseconds as it descended to earth before destroying the building.

One of the most recognizable symbols of the Russian Air Force

Mark EpiskoposNational Security Expert

In a Telegram post accompanied by the video, Zelensky slammed the attack.

“Russian missile attack on the newly renovated cultural center,” he said.

“The occupiers identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies. And they don’t spare them rockets or bombs.

“What do the people who choose such targets think? Absolute evil, absolute stupidity.”

Using long-range Russian cruise missiles like the Kh-101, Putin’s bombers can strike targets across Ukraine without having to leave Russian airspace.

The range of the Kh-101 is estimated at 2,500-2,800 km, which means that most of Europe is within range of Russia.

Last month, Russia threatened to nuke Britain and Finland “in seconds” as it accused the West of launching a “total hybrid war.”

Vlad’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed: “We did everything possible to avoid a direct clash – but now that the challenge has been rejected, of course we accept it.

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“We are no strangers to sanctions: they have almost always been there in one form or another.”

While senior Russian politician Aleksey Zhuravlyov threatened to atomize Britain with his Satan 2 hypersonic missile in 200 seconds and obliterate Finland in just 10.

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It can drop up to 2.4 tons of weapons


It can drop up to 2.4 tons of weaponsPhoto credit: Creative Commons
It can reach speeds of Mach2 (2,300 km/h).


It can reach speeds of Mach2 (2,300 km/h).Photo credit: Creative Commons
Russia currently has more than 60 Tu-22M3s in service


Russia currently has more than 60 Tu-22M3s in servicePhoto credit: Creative Commons Inside Russia’s devastating supersonic nuclear bomber, capable of carrying 24 tons of weapons and attacking anywhere in the United States


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