Tag Archives: Zapad 2017

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

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.

Russian Air Force Tu-22M Backfire Damaged In Runway Overrun Accident During Zapad 2017 Exercise In Western Russia

A Russian Air Force bomber skidded off the runway in western Russia.

On Sept. 14, 2017, a Russian Air Force Tu-22М3 RF-94233 / 20 “RED” suffered an incident when it overran the runway at Shaykovka airfield, in western Russia. On the very same date a flight of six Backfire bombers flew a mission over the Baltic Sea that, according to our sources, was probably aimed at simulating a naval attack on the Baltic Fleet.

The ADEX (Air Defense Exercise) was part of the larger “Zapad 2017,” the anti-terror military drills (with purely defensive aims according to the Russian MoD) taking place in Belarus and three regions in the western part of Russia from Sept. 14-20 and involving about 12.7K troops (including 7.2K of Belarusian troops, about 5.5K Russian troops and 3K of them – on the territory of Belarus), about 70 aircraft and helicopters, up to 680 pieces of military hardware including about 250 tanks, up to 200 guns, MLRSs and mortars as well as 10 warships.

The Tu-22 is a Soviet-era supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber. It was developed during the Cold War 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: a fast platform to launch cruise missiles, conventional or nuclear weapons in various regional war scenarios.

Especially when it carries the Raduga Kh-22 (AS-4 ‘Kitchen’) long-range anti-ship missile, a 13,000-lbs a missile with a range of 320 nautical miles, the Tu-22 can be “useful” to aim at aircraft carriers and to pursue an anti-access/area denial strategy.

Along with launching air strikes on ISIS in Syria from mainland Russia (and Iran, in 2016), Tu-22s are particularly frequent visitors over the Baltic Sea where they often perform routine training flights, some times escorted by Su-27 Flanker aircraft,  flying in international airspace without transponder, without establishing radio contact with any ATC agency: their presence there is taken pretty seriously as they carry out their mock attacks at day or night, flying at very high (or even supersonic) speed, making lives difficult for the NATO interceptors supporting the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) from the airbases in Lithuania and Estonia, that are scrambled to ID and shadow them.

Back to the runway overrun incident, the four crew members escaped the aircraft safely, as the reports and photos seem to confirm.

Tu-22M3 RF-94233 in the grass after running off the runway at an airbase in western Russia.

And it looks it wasn’t the first time it happened to a Tu-22 Backfire:

Image credit: via @Missilito and @galandecZP