The Tu-22M, code named Backfire by NATO, was the most famous Soviet bomber in 1970s and 80s. Work on this world`s first long-range combat aircraft with swept-wing started in early Sixties as a thorough modification of the Tu-22. Maiden flight of the Tu-22MO development prototype occurred on 30 August 1969. First-series airframes, known as Tu-22M1s, entered productin at Kazan plant in 1971, to be followed in 1973 by Tu-22M2s.
The Tu-22M3 is intended for destroying stationary and moving surface targets using the PNA radar and electro-optical bomber sight. In accordance with SALT-2, in-flight re-fuelling systens were removed from all Tu-22M2 and Tu-22M3 aircraft
The aircraft can carry three X-22M missiles to destroy sea-going and stationary ground targets or, alternatively, ten X-15 aero-ballistic hypersonic air-to-surface missiles (six internally and four externally). Up to 24 t of bombs can be carried in the weapons bay and two underwing hand points (69x250-kg or 8x1500-kg bombs).