Tu-22: a symbol of the Cold War and a real threat to NATO
The Tupolev Tu-22 bomber was a response to the rapidly changing nature of the air war in the middle of the 1950-s and was considered a supersonic replacement for the Tu-16 bomber, just like the American B-58 Hastler bomber was intended to replace the B-47 Stratohyte bomber At an early stage of work on the project, the Tupolev OKB-156 studied the requirements not for a specific aircraft, but for a number of sufficiently large supersonic aircraft that could fulfill the role of a tactical strike aircraft, a medium and heavy bomber, and a long-range interceptor. These directions began to converge on one in 1954. A project to create a new supersonic aircraft received government approval 10 August 1954 year.
The works directly on the Tu-22 aircraft (the 105 project) at the Tupolev Design Bureau began on August 15 on 1955, D. Makarov acted as the main designer. Already by August 1957, the first prototype glider was ready. By the summer of 1958, the engines were mounted on the prototype of the bomber, and the static tests of the aircraft were launched. 21 June 1958, the prototype for the first time, flew into the sky, on this day the plane was flown by test crew Yury Alasheev. Since 1957, the OKB has been working in parallel on the second prototype, the 105A project. This aircraft assumed major changes in terms of aerodynamics (in the design used the "rule of the areas"). Later, the second prototype turned into a serial long-range supersonic Tu-22 bomber.
Very high hopes were pinned on the new aircraft in the Soviet Union, so even before the first flight it was decided to launch the bomber into mass production under the designation Tu-22, it was planned to assemble the car at the Kazan aircraft factory. Due to the prolonged and very difficult tests, during which the planes crashed and the pilots died, a rather peculiar situation developed. The aircraft was already mass-produced in Kazan and even entered the military units (from 1962 of the year), but it was still not accepted for service. During the ongoing tests, there was an endless series of improvements to the new machine, the designers worked very hard on the control system. Ultimately, on the flying machines and in the serial construction, eight complexes of modifications were carried out, which included dozens of works on a variety of systems. Only by the end of 1968, it was decided to adopt the Tu-22Р, Tu-22К, Tu-22П and Tu-22У aircraft, while the development of the entire ARK K-22 complex continued.
The first to pass the entire range of tests were Tu-22R, Tu-22U and Tu-22P aircraft. The most difficult was the development process of the Tu-22 as part of the K-22 ARC, over which both the design bureau and the customer fought. Completely solve all problems with this aviation missile system succeeded only in the early 1970s. The complex was put into service in February 1971. A huge merit in bringing to mind all the modifications of the Tu-22 that were under construction in the USSR belonged to test pilots and engineering and technical personnel of the Civil Aviation Research Institute of the Air Force.
The design and features of the Tu-22
In order to fit into the rather rigid limitations of the technical specifications for size, the crew of the aircraft was decided to be reduced to three people (pilot, navigator and operator), who were accommodated in a common cabin. Lantern cab managed to make a narrow, wedge-shaped. He differed minimal frontal resistance, but significantly limited the pilot's review. The decision about the crew of three people was one of the most controversial, as shown by the further operation of the bomber. Not all pilots could master this complex, heavy and high-speed aircraft. In Long-Range Aviation, and, perhaps, in the entire world aviation, it was perhaps the only heavy (with a landing weight in the 60 tonnes area and a landing speed of 320-330 km / h) a production aircraft with a “single” control - without "(Second pilot) and without a second navigator.
Also on the 105 project's aircraft, the main landing gear began to get into the gondola on the wing, as was done on the Tu-16. This decision allowed to increase the volume of the bomb bay, which was very important for the bomber. But along with this, there was a forced decrease in the area of wing mechanization, which significantly worsened the takeoff and landing characteristics of the aircraft. All this delayed the process of testing and modifications.
The Tu-22 serial supersonic long-range bomber was an all-metal monoplane of a classic layout with a low swept-shaped wing. The aircraft fuselage had a practically circular cross section and was designed taking into account the “space rule”. The power plant consisted of two turbojet engines that were placed on both sides of the keel. The tricycle landing gear of the aircraft, its main pillars were retracted into special gondolas. In the central part of the fuselage there was a roomy bomb bay that could hold up to 12 tons of various bombs, including FAB-5000 or FAB-9000. It was also possible to use special bombs (nuclear bombs) or air-to-surface missiles on the Tu-22K and Tu-22КД models. Aiming at the target was provided with an optical bomber sight or a sight-sight radar. Navigation and radar equipment of the aircraft made it possible to operate it in all weather conditions.
For self-defense, an 23-mm HP-23 automatic aircraft gun was equipped with a radar sight, it was remotely controlled and provided protection for the rear hemisphere. Due to the difficulty of using the cannon against attacking enemy aircraft, it was gradually decided to switch to firing with special PIKS and PRL jamming projectiles in the direction of the detected air targets. Also, additional protection for the aircraft was provided by various REP devices.
Beginning with the 1965 year, turbojet engines RD-22М7 designed by PA Kolesov were installed on Tu-2 aircraft. In the afterburner mode, the engine developed 11 000 kgf thrust, and when the oversage gave 16 500 kgf. There was enough engine data to accelerate the plane to supersonic speeds, the maximum speed with them increased to 1600 km / h. The aircraft's fuel system consisted of 32 soft rubber unprotected tanks that were located in the wing box and fuselage. Aviation kerosene T-1 or TC-1 was used as fuel. The maximum fuel charge was up to 44,3 tons. A hose-cone air refueling system was equipped with 176 built aircraft.
The Tu-22 bomber was the first aircraft in our country to receive a centralized system for refueling under pressure. The centralized refueling of the aircraft was conducted through the filling neck located on the left plane. If necessary, to reduce the landing weight, the crew could, through special drain valves under the wing and in the rear fuselage, drop tons of fuel to 28 in just 15 minutes.
Despite the titanic efforts of the designers, the Tu-22 was distinguished by the presence of a mass of various shortcomings. The first series of this bomber because of the reverse of the ailerons had limitations on the maximum flight speed - no more than 1,4 Mach. After the appearance of the ailerons-flaps, these restrictions with the Tu-22 were lifted. At the same time, the complexity of piloting a combat vehicle, poor visibility from the cockpit and a fairly high landing speed - up to 320 km / h, placed very high demands on pilots' skills; it often caused disasters more than once during landing. Also for the basing of aircraft needed only the first class runway with a strip length of at least 2700 meters, which in the case of a full-scale war could lead to certain problems with basing. A controversial decision was the fact that during an emergency escape of an aircraft, the crew members of the crew members ejected down. This ruled out the possibility of rescuing pilots at low altitudes.
And if as a long-range Tu-22 bomber looked quite good, as a missile carrier, he was much weaker. For the simple reason that he could carry only one X-22 air-to-surface missile, the Storm, and this was clearly not enough. With the rapid improvement of air defense systems that questioned the whole concept of the aircraft. That is why the use of Tu-22K / KD missile carriers armed with X-22 missiles on targets of the type “aviation strike group” was planned to be carried out by groups of planes with a composition up to a full aviation division. Attacks could be carried out according to various schemes - from a frontal strike from one direction to dilution of aircraft carriers into three groups with building them in two waves (in range) and using at the forefront of already launched missiles of jammers.
Importantly, despite all the flaws, the Tu-22 was for the country the first supersonic jet bomber in long-range aviation. The experience of its design and subsequent operation came in handy when creating a much more advanced strategic missile carrier Tu-22M. At the same time, in terms of their tactical and technical characteristics, the Tu-22 had a number of advantages over its American counterpart, the B-58 bomber, which was designed at the same time to solve almost the same combat missions. In addition, the Tu-22 was able to "outlive" its overseas competitor.
Combat use of Tu-22 bomber
In parts of the Long-Range Aviation of our country, the aircraft was operated up to the 1994 year. He managed to take part in the Afghan war. Air regiments armed with these bombers participated in bomb strikes against Mujahideen concentrations and carried out aerial reconnaissance. At the same time, the crews flew from airfields located on the territory of the USSR, carried out the assigned combat mission and returned back. They operated at high altitudes, out of range of MANPADS and other enemy anti-aircraft weapons. Modification of the Tu-22PD (EW aircraft) was used at the last stage of the war. For example, the 4 of the Tu-22PD aircraft from Ozernyi from October 1988 to January 1989 was accompanied by Tu-16 and Tu-22M bombers, providing interference to Pakistani F-16 fighters. In January 1989, they were replaced by other 4 aircraft from the 203 regiment from Baranavichy, having completed their task, in February 1989, they returned home.
For its time, the Tu-22 was fairly well protected, primarily by means of electronic countermeasures. 23 March 1983, a case occurred when the Soviet Tu-22 lost its course during an exercise and accidentally entered Iranian airspace. The plane made a flight with the EW system turned on, so the Iranian fighters that had flown out to intercept it could not send missiles at it and almost fought with each other. Then the plane crossed the airspace of Afghanistan, where the Soviet fighters Su-22 and MiG-23 took off to intercept the "intruder". Soviet interceptors also fell under the EW system, and the intruder Tu-22 then quietly landed at Mary airfield in Turkmenistan. The invulnerability of the aircraft largely compensated for its accident rate and made the Tu-22 a very dangerous opponent for NATO and a weighty argument of the USSR during the Cold War.
In addition to the USSR, the Tu-22 aircraft also exploited the Libyan and Iraqi air forces. It is known that Baghdad actively used this bomber throughout the Iran-Iraq war. The aircraft were used to deliver powerful rocket-bombing attacks on various targets in Iran, including using the FAB-5000 and FAB-9000 aerial bombs. They struck not only at airfields, troops and infrastructure of Iran, but also at surface targets. On the night of 18 to 19 March 1988, four Iraqi Tu-22B, each of which carried a 12 bombs FAB-500, we achieved the destruction of two Iranian supertankers Anaj (displacement 316 739 tons) and Sanandaj (displacement 253 837 tons), which stood at an oil Khark Island’s terminal, while the ground infrastructure was seriously damaged. By the end of the war, the X-NUMX Tu-12 bombers from Iraq had 22 machines left, of which 8 was in combat readiness. During the 5 years of conflict, Baghdad lost only 8 of this type of aircraft.
During the serial production of the Tu-22 bomber, 311 aircraft were assembled in various modifications (bomber - Tu-22А and Tu-22Б, Tu-22 bomber bomber ). More than half of these aircraft received a hose-cone system boom from the Tu-22H or ZMS-22 refueling aircraft and were designated Tu-22KD, Tu-16РД, Tu-XNUMHПД and Tu-2UD, respectively.
The Tu-22 bomber was very difficult to maintain and operate the aircraft, and this concerned both technical and flight aspects. During the 30 years of active operation of the aircraft, for various reasons, it was prematurely dropped (crashed, burned down on the ground, finally failed) more than 70 bombers from the 311 built. More than 20 percent of the park was lost. It is not surprising that in the USSR Air Force the plane had different nicknames - “awl” for the original hull shape and “cannibal” for high accident rate. There were cases when the crews refused to fly the Tu-22, at that time it was the most emergency vehicle in the Soviet Air Force. The Tu-22K missile carrier was particularly difficult to operate and in flight. The commander of such an aircraft could only be a first class pilot. Tu-22 was difficult to maintain. To fly the plane required to prepare 3,5 hours, and the preliminary preparation of the bomber took a full working day. Repair and maintenance of the engines of this machine, which were located at a fairly high altitude above the ground, were rather inconvenient.
In the Russian Long-Range Aviation, these aircraft continued to fly until August 1994, when the last Tu-22 of two regiments left the territory of Belarus, having flown to the base of the butchering in Engels, where they were dismantled. Despite all the difficulties in operation and a rather large accident rate accumulated during the creation of the Tu-22, the experience allowed the Soviet designers to create a new supersonic bomber Tu-22М, which, despite a similar name, was in fact a completely different aircraft. Modernization of this supersonic bomber Tu-22М3 is still in service with the Russian Air Force.
Flight technical characteristics of the Tu-22KD (missile carrier):
Overall dimensions: length - 42,2 m, height - 9,45 m, wing span - 24,6 m, wing area - 162,2 m2.
Empty mass - 43,6 t.
Normal take-off weight - 69 t.
Maximum take-off weight - 92 t.
The power plant is 2 TRDF VD-7М2, kg 2 x 11 000 kgf or 2 x 16 500 kgf (with afterburner).
The maximum flight speed is 1640 km / h.
Practical range - 4550 km (subsonic speed), 1750 km (supersonic speed).
Practical ceiling - 13 500 m.
Runway Length - 2700 m.
Run length - 1900 m.
Armament: HP-23 automatic cannon, bomb load up to 12 000 kg, various types of free-falling bombs can be used, as well as nuclear bombs (1 pcs) or X-22 air-to-surface guided missiles (1 pcs).
Crew - 3 person.
Open source materials
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.