Excerpt from the monograph "Supersonic centenarian" published in the journal "Aviation and time "No. 02 1996.
Tu-22 began to enter service in 1962. Among the personnel, the new car quickly gained the nickname “awl” for its distinctive appearance. Its development was not easy. Take-off and landing speeds were higher on 100 km / h than on Tu-16, and the KTS-22 simulators gave only a general idea of piloting, not allowing the take-off and landing to work. Sparky often arrived very late. So, they appeared in the 199 OGDRAP when the regiment was already flying with a new plane. According to the reviews of the pilots, the early Tu-22 were very difficult to manage. As Nikonov recalls, “two flights a day without an autopilot were the limit for anyone. The steering wheel definitely needed to be held with two hands - one force was not enough. The landing was quite difficult: all the pilots were repeatedly told about the inadmissibility of going out at speeds of less than 290 km / h, otherwise the plane would sharply lift its nose, become a vertical “candle” and fall on its tail ”. A newsreel of such a catastrophe hit even the feature film “Tenderness to a Roaring Beast”, which begins with tragic shots made in Ozernoye in 1969. Major Varvarichev’s crew died in a burnt Tu-22K.
The chronic drawback of the Tu-22 was the tendency to galloping on the run due to the undamped oscillation of the chassis carriage. The resulting significant vibrations sometimes led to the opening of the lock and the folding of one of the racks. The plane with the rotation carried to the ground, the front desk immediately broke, and the nose of the fuselage from the impact on the ground crushed. If the car was not thrown onto the aircraft parking lot or airfield buildings, then, as a rule, only the navigator suffered.
Many crew problems created poor ergonomic workplace solutions. “In an uncomfortable and cramped cabin it was sometimes difficult to reach the right toggle switch. For example, on the first production vehicles, the pilots used ropes, hooks and other “arm extenders” in flight. Then the control lever of the hydraulic booster was made with a special extension. ”(Nikonov). The pilot's seat shifted to the left made it possible to have an acceptable view in the most important direction “left-forward-down”, but with the left side wind, when the pilot retorted the glide with the aircraft turning to the wind, the central cover of the lantern blocked the view forward and the landing had to be carried out almost on intuition. Therefore, with a side wind of more than 12 m / s, young and inexperienced pilots were not allowed to fly. There was even such a joke in the shelves: “The scout is good, from which the pilot sees only the sky, the navigator - the ground beneath him and nothing ahead, and the air operator looks to the tail, but only sees the wing!”. Ironically, this aircraft received the designation Blinder (blind) in the West.
Tupolev, according to Kerber, attributed the Tu-22 to the number of his unhappy creations. During operation, this machine constantly presented “surprises” - one flight incident rarely resembled another. In total, according to Nikonov's calculations, no less than 1975 “twenty-second” of all modifications were broken up to 70, many of these incidents claimed human lives.
So, on the night of 10 in January 1969, Mr. Cheperigin’s crew of the Nizhinsky air regiment bombed the crew of Kalinovka in the eastern Crimea. Having reported on the fulfillment of the mission, the commander set a course for Berdyansk, after which the connection with the aircraft was lost. The winter was harsh, the Sea of Azov was covered with ice, and the search groups that departed in the morning did not find anything. The crew was missing for nearly six months. His fate was clarified only after the discovery of the rescue boat operator, but the causes of the incident remained unknown. This case was the first disaster in the regiment since the development of the Tu-22. Next occurred 5 May. In the afternoon, the crew of Mr. Doronin’s guard started a weather survey. During a takeoff run at speeds close to separation, both engines failed. The pilot, trying to slow down, released parachutes too early, cut them off, and the Tu-22, tucked in to the eyeballs, rolled out of the runway. In 700, a marshy lowland began. The front desk broke on soft ground, and the entire nose went underground, crushing the crew ... It was also impossible to establish the reason for the refusal.
Tu-22 was not originally intended for night flying systems and did not have the appropriate equipment. However, such tasks were included in the program of combat training, which was associated with significant risk. So, on the night of 25 on July 1969, after completing the mission, two Tu-199Ps collided at the airfield of the 22-th OGDRP: the guard of Mr. Feoktistov rammed the plane of his lead guard under Liskov. The lead crew safely ejected and after 15 minutes explained by the CP. Feoktistov catapulted, not giving the command to the navigator and the operator, who, up to the very collision with the ground, unsuccessfully asked the commander: “When to jump? ...”. Their car crashed into the ground with an approximate 100 mot runway. The damaged Liskov plane, 52, continued for a minute flight on autopilot, performing left turns. Gradually, he shifted to Nizhyn and with an ever-increasing roll continued his terrible stunt, heading along the main street of the sleeping city towards the railway station. The interceptors raised from Vasilkov did not dare to shoot down the aircraft over Nezhin. Above the station, the roll of the unmanaged machine reached a critical value, and she, falling into a corkscrew, fell into the swamp in 500 m from the station.
Flight accidents happened and, it would seem, for incredible reasons, in particular, because of the detonation of their own bombs. So, on the night of 2 on April 1976, the crew of the guard to-on Zaika carried out bombing at the Karangaysky testing ground in 70 km northeast of Kizlyar. When resetting a series of six FOTAB-250-215, one bomb exploded in an airplane, breaking it in half. During the ejection, the commander and the operator, who failed to fix the arms, were injured. The operator landed in 30 km from Kizlyar, tied up a broken arm and came to the hospital in a passing car, where the doctor on duty that night was ... his brother. For the pilot everything ended well. The navigator died: before the bombing for ease of aiming, he took off the shoulder straps and during the fall of the car he could not put them on right away, and when he ejected, the height was too small ... After this incident, special tests FOTAB-250-215 ended in a similar catastrophe. The use of such bombs was subsequently prohibited.
During combat training, each crew had to perform at least two supersonic flights annually. As a rule, in this mode, the aircraft was no more than 10 minutes. Maneuvers were carried out, including banks up to 60 °, missile launches and bombing. Usually, the shock wave from an airplane flying at high altitude does not pose a danger to people and buildings, but at the beginning of the 70s. there was a case in the literal sense of "making noise". At the height of 11000, the Nezhinsky Tu-22Р flew at supersonic speeds over the city of Sumy. Unfortunately, the state of the atmosphere that night turned out to be anomalous, and the shock wave retained its destructive force to the ground. Not only flew glass in residential buildings, but even the thick windows of a department store and restaurant in the city center.
There were no supersonic flights on the ground due to limitations in strength. However, the crew’s combat training program included low-altitude flights at high subsonic speeds. Not having a system of following the terrain and strict management of the Tu-22 literally "exhausting" the pilot on such modes. Naturally, there were flight accidents. So, 12 on April 1978, when performing a flight at an ultra-low altitude above the Belarusian proving ground Polesskoe, the plane of the guard to-on Mikhalev lagged behind the leader. When trying to catch up with the commander's car, the pilot lost control and his Tu-22Р crashed into the ground.
As a combat complex, the Tu-22 managed to be brought to the top of the 70-s. The reliability of the aircraft increased significantly, and the pilots who had mastered the car, comparing it with the Tu-22M, said: “If I went to battle, I would go to the Tu-22”.
Before the regiments equipped with "twenty second", there were quite definite tasks. Tu-22K were designed to strike at NATO military facilities in Europe and aircraft carrier groups of the 6th fleet USA. In the latter case, it was assumed that, having passed over the territory of the socialist countries, the planes would go to the Balkans and further to the Mediterranean. The crews worked out such tasks at a training ground in the northeastern part of the Caspian Sea, "perforating" the sides of old vessels.
The task of the Tu-22P was to conduct reconnaissance of air defense systems, control systems, and other military targets of a potential enemy deployed on land, as well as tracking warships and sea convoys. The Nezhin regiment conducted strategic reconnaissance in the Central European, South-Western and Southern directions (Germany, Austria-Greece-Bosphorus-Marmara Sea and Black Sea-Turkey-Iran, respectively). The Zyabrovsky Regiment worked in the Baltic and North-West theaters, and even went "round the corner" (as the aviators' jargon is called the Kola Peninsula) to Norway. There was also an educational direction - to the east towards the polygons of the Volga region and in the region of the Caspian Sea. It was a kind of "mirror image" of probable routes to the West. Similar tasks were performed by the Tu-22Р aviation of the Navy. In peacetime, reconnaissance flights were akin to combat, accompanied by a fair amount of risk and frequent encounters with “probable enemy” aircraft. Therefore, already for 20 flights over neutral waters and to perform real reconnaissance, the crew could be presented with government awards.
The most difficult and dangerous operation during operations over the sea in wartime was considered the defeat of an aircraft carrier. It involved the participation of at least four scouts, up to a regiment of missile carriers and one or two fighter squadrons. Tu-22P went first. Their task is to identify the aircraft carrier from all the ships of the carrier strike group (AUG) and report its exact coordinates to the strike group. When approaching the ships, one pair of Tu-22Р remained at a height for jamming and retransmission of reconnaissance information, the second one “fell” to the height of 100 m and broke through to the AUG at the visual contact distance - 10-15 km. As soon as the aircraft carrier was found, the number of its “square” was reported to the rocket carriers, which launched from the line of about 300 km. Then the task of the pair that had broken through to the ships was “simplified completely”. She needed, first, to avoid defeat from the explosion of her missiles, and second, to evade enemy missiles (launch range - up to 30 km) and deck fighters (interception line - up to 600 km). The reader can evaluate the chances of survival ...
The peacetime operation described above was limited to detecting a group of NATO warships, flying over, photographing and tracking. This was often accompanied by fairly tough opposition. So, according to the memories of pilots from Zyabrovka, NATO fighters attached themselves strictly under the fuselage of the Tu-22Р, closing their ships and interfering with photography, squeezed the reconnaissance aircraft from the convoy, making dangerous maneuvers in close proximity to him, etc. Tracking individual ships was a simpler task. In the Black Sea, the scouts "grazed" the US NAVY ships appearing there.
One of the typical methods of using the Tu-22P was called “injection” and was intended to open the air defense system of the country of interest. The plane followed strictly in the direction of the state border, and as it approached, air defense systems became more active: radar for detecting and targeting missiles, communication lines, fighters. Meanwhile, the on-board reconnaissance equipment recorded their parameters. Approximately in 20 km from the border, a sharp lapel on the reverse course was done - it's done, now let them "scratch their place."
It got from the Tu-22P and its own air defense, which they “inspected” quite regularly. One of the checks at the end of 80's. simulated a massive “enemy” raid from the south. The whole territory of Ukraine was divided into 16 corridors, where at ultra-low altitude, using the relief of the coastline of the sea and the river beds, they streamed from the neutral waters of 16 Tu-22Р. The result turned out to be scandalous: some of the aircraft broke through completely unnoticed, some of the discovered ones were not conditionally destroyed, or they were able to "hit" too late already at great depths. As a result, as after the landing of Rust on Red Square, a "change of guard" followed in the air defense system - this time in the southern districts. Routine tasks for the crews of the Tu-22Р were departures to check the operational camouflage of their troops, crew, missile launchers, and other objects. For example, in Ukraine and Belarus, they searched for SS-20, in the Moscow region - PU ICBMs on a rail trap.
Used Tu-22 at the final stage of hostilities in Afghanistan. In October, Tu-1988МЗ from Poltava and four Tu-2ПД from Ozernoy arrived at the airfield Mary-22 from the airfield of Mary-22. The task of the EW aircraft was to cover the “Backfires” during combat missions to the zones adjacent to the border with Pakistan, in particular, in the Khost region. Pakistani F-16 operated in these areas more and more actively, moreover, the possibility of using radar-guided air defense systems was not excluded. In early December, Poltava changed the regiment Tu-22МЗ from Orsha. Pilots from Ozerniy continued to cover the bombers until early January 1989, after which they were replaced by four from Baranavichy. By this time, almost no flights were ever carried out near the Pakistani border - the main combat work was in the area of the Salang Pass. The need for jammers disappeared, and in the first days of February, the Tu-22PD 203 DBP left Mary-2.
We were preparing to conduct photo reconnaissance in Afghanistan and Tu-22Р from Nezhin. 3 November 1988 g. Three cars were relocated to Mozdok, but a week later they were returned back without making a single combat departure.
Surprisingly, used Tu-22P and in the national economy. They flew to natural disasters: forest and peat fires, floods, etc. At the same time, the relevant services very quickly received photo event plates.