New Video Shows Russian Tu-22M3 Bomber Overshooting Runway During Take-Off Accident at Shaikavka

Sep 27 2017 - 15 Comments
By Tom Demerly

Russian Tu-22M3 Damaged After Deploying Drag Chute, Overshooting Runway.

A new video has been published of the crash of a Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 “Backfire” on Sept. 15, 2017. The heavy bomber, said to be near maximum take-off weight at the time of the accident according to Russian language reports, ran off the end of the runway at Shaikavka Airbase during Zapad 2017 exercise. The video was released today by the media outlet “Vzglyad”, a Russian-language online news source. The aircraft is attributed to the 52nd Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment.

One Russian language news outlet quoted a “high-ranking source” as saying, “The cause of the accident was the failure of speed sensors during the take-off, resulting in the crew decided to stop taking off.” There have been no official statements released about the cause of the accident. The four crew members on board the large supersonic strategic bomber were not injured in the accident.

This is the third similar incident reported in Russian media during take-off of a Tu-22M3 bomber. The first two incidents were less serious since the aircraft involved were at lower take-off weights and could stop short of the end of the runway.

Tu-22M3 RF-94233 in the grass after running off the runway at an airbase in western Russia. (Image credit: RuAF)

The Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 can be compared to the U.S. B-1B heavy bomber. Both aircraft are supersonic and use variable geometry swept wings. The Tu-22M3 however, is a twin-engine aircraft compared to the four engines on the B-1B of the U.S. Air Force. The two aircraft are of roughly similar size with the Tu-22M3 being slightly smaller than it’s U.S. counterpart, the B-1B.

The Tu-22M3 and M3M variants are in wide service in Russia, with over 80 reported in flying with the Russian Air Force and more than 40 in use with Russian Naval Aviation as long-range maritime patrol, surveillance and attack aircraft. The naval variant of the aircraft became famous in the West following the 1991 release of the fictional best-seller The Sum of All Fears by late author Tom Clancy. It was followed by a feature film of the same name in 2002. In the fictional story a group of Tu-22M3s launch a cruise missile attack on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Atlantic during an international crisis between the former Soviet Union and the United States.