Losses and Aviation Safety

Ukrainian special operations destroyed VKS Tu-22M3 bombers in Russia after 600 kilometres infiltration

Ukrainian special operations destroy Russian Tu-22M3 bombers

A Ukrainian special operations unit entered Russian territory on Aug. 30, 2023, destroyed a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 (NATO reporting name: Backfire) bomber and disabled two more, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) reports in its website.

“Ukrainian intelligence officers covered over 600 kilometres on foot through enemy territory in order to destroy the Russian bombers,” the DIU says.

According to Ukrainska Pravda the operation was commanded by Colonel Oleh Babii, a Hero of Ukraine, who was killed in action.

Three Russian Air-Space Force (RuASF or VKS) Tu-22M3s were disabled by the colonel’s unit in its last battle.

Babii took part in special operations in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and on Russian territory since the first days of the full-scale invasion.

Disabling three Russian Tu-22M3 bombers

DIU reported that Babii had nine successful reconnaissance missions behind Russian lines and twelve special operations on organising and supporting the resistance movement in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and behind Russian lines.

“The last task successfully completed by Oleh Babii’s reconnaissance group – the destruction and disabling of three Russian Tu-22M3 bombers – significantly disrupted the plans of the Russian military and political leadership to launch missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine and completely disrupted the operation of airfields and long-range aircraft basing points.”

“Having made their way deep into the enemy’s rear, the intelligence officers accomplished their task – they destroyed a Russian Tu-22M3 bomber and disabled two more, but they themselves suffered unrecoverable losses,” DIU reported.

In fact, Babii’s reconnaissance unit was ambushed and engaged in an unequal battle with the Russian invaders on the way back to the Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Colonel Oleh Babii was fatally wounded during this battle while he was covering the retreat of his comrades-in-arms.

Babii was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine with the posthumous Order of the Golden Star for his heroic feat.

The Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire

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: Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikipedia and DIU

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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