China buys Tu-22 production line from Russia. A major threat to the U.S. aircraft carriers in the region

For the third time in 7 years (first one being in 2005, second earlier in 2012) several websites in China (link in Chinese) are reporting that China and Russia have agreed for Beijing to buy the production line for the Tupolev Tu-22M3 bomber at a cost of 1.5 billion USD.

Once in service with the Chinese Naval Air Forces the Tu-22M3 will be known as the “H-10”.

The deal struck with Russia comes with 36 aircraft (and engines): an initial batch of 12 followed by a second batch of 24 aircraft are thought to be on order.

The Tu-22 will be employed in the maritime attack role and will be used to attack targets from low level (to avoid radar detection).

The Tu-22 is a Soviet supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber. It was developed during the Cold War and it is among the farthest things to a moder stealth bomber. However, it was upgraded, it will get updated with (indigenous?) systems and, with a range of about 6,800 kilometers and a payload of 24,000 kg, it is still considered a significant threat to many latest generations weapon systems.

Especially if the deal with Russia includes the Raduga Kh-22 (AS-4 ‘Kitchen’) long-range anti-ship missile.

The deal could represent a significant change in the strategic balance in the region.

The Tu-22 bombers will give China another tool to pursue the area denial strategy in the South China Sea and the Pacific theatre; a fast platform to launch cruise missiles, conventional or nuclear weapons in various regional war scenarios.

In other words, a brand new threat to the U.S. Navy in the region.

Written with David Cenciotti

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    • At least some one gets it. The Tu-22m is an obsolete overpriced piece of flying garbage that the USN is perfectly capable of managing. There is no way the Chinese are stupid enough to waste their $$$ on this trash. This entire story is another Russian fairy tale.

  1. It would be difficult to make the TU 22 stealthy and flying at low level doesn’t mean you can avoid radar and the AS4 Kitchen missile isn’t exactly a new weapon so I sure the US Navy would no trouble shooting down these Georgia didn’t have too much trouble downing 1 during there short war

    • Georgia did shot down one with a Buk air defense system.
      But Serbia shot down a much more modern
      F-117 stealth bomber………so I guess they are in the same class?

      • The F-117 was brought down from AA fire and heat missiles due to lazy mission planning. It can still be seen on radar it’s role is to avoid radar stations instead repetitive mission planning kept it flying hot spots where it was eventually spotted. But 1 aircraft lost to how many missions successful? ‘Merica! Also I don’t think China is in the right place to launch an all out attack. U.S. is watching and waiting. The F/A 18 super hornet is more than capable i’ve seen it fly and it’s highly maneuverable and it’s currently being replaced by the F-35 which can fire a missile and kill a target over 100 miles out. But I’m glad Russia China and the U.S. want anything but war. If anything China would invade North Korea and put a stop to the circus over there.

  2. Maybe it’s for the US Navy to understand that need a real fighter-interceptor if this threat is or will bw true in the future.

  3. If the Chinese do buy the Tu-22M3 from Russia and make a cloned copy of it. That will spark a massive Asian-pacific region Arms race of massive proportions. You can bet your money that their will be countries lining up to buy weapons and systems to counter the Tu-22M3

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