Military Aviation

Tu-22M3 Resurrected From Storage to rejoin Russia’s Bomber Fleet

Flown to KAPO for modernization to Tu-22M3M standard, the Backfire features serial no 107-01, construction number 20107910 and is marked with Bort Number 70 Red.

A Tu-22M3 (NATO reporting name: Backfire) bomber has been resurrected from storage at Sovetskaya Gavan/Kamenny Ruchey airfield near Mongokhto base in Khabarovsk Krai (Russia), Scramble Magazine says.

Flown to KAPO (Kazanskoye Aviatsionnoe Proizvodstvennoe Obyedinenie imeni S.P. Gorbunova) aircraft factory in Kazan for major repairs and modernization to Tu-22M3M standard, the Backfire features serial no 107-01, construction number 20107910 and is marked with Bort Number 70 Red.

Kamenny Ruchey is a major military Russian Federation – Naval Aviation (AVMF-RF) airfield and is located some 30 kilometers north of Sovetskaya Gavan, in the far eastern part of Russia. It is home to the 143rd Naval Aviation Division flying the Tu-22M3, and the 310th Independent Long-Range Anti-Submarine Aviation Regiment flying the Tu-142MR.

Several satellite images taken during 2019 shown between fifteen and seventeen Tu-142MRs and a steady seven Tu-22M-3 located on the airfield. So, it is safe to assume there are now six Backfires left.

The Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was operated by the Soviet Air Force (VVS) in a strategic bombing role, and by the Soviet Naval Aviation (Aviacija Vojenno-Morskogo Flota, AVMF) in a long-range maritime anti-shipping role. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air and Space Force (RuASF): as of 2014 more than 100 Tu-22Ms were in use.

Photo credit: KAPO and Google Earth

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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