It looks like the news that China had just bought the entire Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber production line was unfounded.
According to the ITAR-TASS News Agency, the Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms export corporation denied any negotiations with China on the Backfire bombers.
Reports about the upcoming supply to China of Tu-22 strategic bombers is pure “newspaper’s duck”, Rosoboronexport spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko said.
Usually, the Russian state intermediary agency for military import/export doesn’t comment news other than that published on official media outlets. However, they felt the need to deny the news of the Backfire sale since the aircraft is a strategic asset that, as such, can’t be sold to foreign countries.
As written in the first article on the topic, it was the third time in recent years that Chinese websites and Russian media outlet had given the news that Russia was about to sell China what needed to build 36 long-range swing wing attack planes to counter the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea.
Once again, it was just speculation.
Nevertheless, the U.S. Navy must remain vigilant: the Chinese already have their own strategic plane, the Xian H-6K, a license-built version of the Soviet Tu-16 Badger capable to carry up to six cruise missiles.
Image credit: Alex Beltyukov