There’s no bomber quite like a Backfire. In many ways, Russia’s Tu-22M3 is a Cold War throwback. An intermediate-range, variable-geometry machine, the Tupolev design really gave NATO planners headaches in the 1970s and ’80s.
If the Cold War had turned hot, Tu-22Ms would have attacked high-profile targets including American aircraft carrier battle groups in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. The bombers also would have struck European ports and key airfields, with the aim of severing supply routes to the U.S.
Today, the Backfire is the only supersonic bomber in its class. And until quite recently, the outwardly archaic warplane seemed likely to fade away. However, with tensions ratcheting up in the Black Sea and Baltic regions, the Tu-22M3 has suddenly become a whole lot more relevant.
For the complete story by Thomas Newdick of War Is Boring, click here.