by Tim Wing
Though the strategic bomber feel out of favor with the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF), the Soviet Air Force continued to use them all the way till the Invid Invasion. This was mainly due to the fact that they could not count on their relatively small space fleet to survive in an all-out confrontation with the UEDF. Because of this, they had to rely on the traditional nuclear triad for their deterrent. Of the three weapons systems in this triad (intercontinental missiles, ballistic missile submarines and nuclear armed bombers) the bombers actually had the greatest chance of making through to their targets. ICBMs would have been easily knocked out by the UEDF’s fleet as soon as they left the Earth’s atmosphere. Bombers, on the other hand, would at least have a ghost of a chance of sneaking through air defense coverage far enough to launch their cruise missiles. Of course, as EBSIS cruise missile technology got more and more advance, the bombers that carried them could fire from a greater distance, which only enhanced their effectiveness and relevance.
The Tupolev Tu-22M (UEDF reporting name: Backfire) was a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. Though the Backfire was the Soviet Union’s most advanced bomber through most of the Cold War, after the First Robotech War it had been overshadowed by the Tu-160 Blackjack and later by the Su-100 Bullock and Tu-210 Beast. By the early twenties, the Tu-22M Backfire had passed into retirement.
- Role: Strategic bomber, maritime strike
- Manufacturer: Tupolev Design Bureau
- First flight: 30 August 1969
- Introduction: 1972
- Status: Retired
- In service: 1972-2021
- Primary users: EBSIS (Soviet Air Forces)
- Produced: 1967–1997
- Number built: 497
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Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing