Tu-22M3 bombing

Some interesting close up angle video of Tu-22’s dropping bombs. Man, those intakes are huge. What an interesting design…



Not a fan of “carpet” bombing. But Russian planes are always nice to watch :relaxed:

I’m not the first one to make the observation, but I thoroughly agree with it. The US flies strategic bombers on many thousands of miles because they make a valuable battlefield contribution (re B-1s orbiting Kobani for hours with PGMs last year). On the other hand Russia flies strategic bombers many thousands of miles because they want to show the world their bombers can fly many thousands of miles without the wings falling off. Shoving a few thousand dollars of dumb bomb out the bomb bay would appear to be an inconsequential after thought.

This is not how a “first world country” should be approaching a modern air war.

The Backfire’s still a beaut though, can’t wait to start redistributing their parts en masse come the LNS F-14 module.

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Yeah…but the video consumption isn’t really for us…but more for their own people. Although the “average” American and “average” Russian probably have no idea what the difference between a PGM and carpet bombing is. So they are probably reaching their target audience with the oh-ah factor of the video… I agree, on the battlefield, I doubt they are really having much positive effect. Looks more like a “well…we can do this” type of thing. Sure seems like Russian dumb bombs aren’t very aerodynamic. It would be interesting to know what the CEP is for a blunt nose bomb versus a pointy nose bomb is from a set release point. Or maybe all the turbulent flow cancels each other out…I dunno. Just seems odd.


Nice video!

Also found this over on the Hoggit Reddit:

That’s an awesome video.

…As a pilot…I want to know what kind of delicate adjustment is being done with 16 lb. sledgehammer…LOL…

As my Dad would say (an old Army combat engineer) - “Beat it to fit…paint it to match…”

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As a Navy guy who was in the Cold War, our Backfire concern was the AS-4 anti-ship missile it could employ. Long range, high speed, high altitude with a big warhead - a very lethal weapon. I was in an F-14 squadron. The idea was to “shoot the archer, not the arrow” - in other words splash the TU-22Ms, using the Tomcat’s AIM-54 Phoenix, before they could launch against the carrier. We never put that strategy to the test, thank God.

Great Video!

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@Hangar200 - I assume the Phoenix might not be able to hit an inbound AS-4 huh? Wiki says in the terminal phase it is going Mach 3.5 to 4.6, so I’m guessing that is probably beyond what the F-14/Phoenix was designed to intercept…

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The Phoenix can top out at Mach 5, and while top speed in a head on engagement isn’t irrelevant (it does make things quicker and easier), it’s not determinant. In theory if the launching aircraft is in the right place at the right time, a Sparrow can kill an AS-4 head on.

Hanger can correct me, but my understanding is the Phoenix/Tomcat can intercept an AS-4, it’s just a more difficult engagement for the crew and the missile as the Kitchen is smaller and much faster than a Backfire. The Backfire is the preferred target because it’s the easier target, and each kill is equivalent to shooting down 1-3 missiles.


So not knowing much about it, why is the pheonix not used anymore or rather, why was it shelved?

A constellation of reasons, most coming down to the AIM-54 was based on 1960’s technology, required a whole bunch of infrastructure to launch (which only the F-14s had), and towards the end of its life, safety issues due to the degradation of their rocket boosters (They tended to explode rather than burn upon launch).

The AIM-120 is a better missile in just about every facet except for range.


The Phoenix missile was tied to the F-14 and the AWG-9 radar (I believe later models it might have been the AWG-10).

The Tomcat/Phoenix weapon system was designed to counter the Soviet anti-ship missile threat. The Backfire/AS-4 was the “King of the Hill” when it came to those threats. TU-16 Badgers were a threat as were things like Tu-95 BEAR D maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The Tomcat/Phoenix combo was as much an interceptor as a fighter. The normal load out when I was in VF-32 was “2-2-2”; 2 x AIM-9, 2 x AIM-7 and 2 x AIM-54. The idea was that you could engage targets well BVR (Beyond Visual Range) with the Phoenix, take medium-range head on shots with the Sparrow and still have a little something–Sidewinder & guns–for a “knife fight” at short range.

If you google F-14 Phoenix Photos you will see that it could carry 6 AIM-54’s. (File:Grumman F-14B Tomcat of VF-211 in flight in 1989, armed with six AIM-54 Phoenix missiles (6452250).jpg - Wikimedia Commons). This was called “the Dooms Day Load” as it would have only been used if WW III had started. The Tomcat could launch off the carrier with that load but would be too heavy to “trap” backboard the carrier with all 6 Phoenix. In other words, if they launched with six, they were shooting them…at least two…at the Backfires coming over the horizon.

With the demise of the Soviet threat, the Tomcat/Phoenix weapon system was not in such great demand and many Tomcat squadrons were deactivated (You can see their tombstones in front of the NAS Oceana O’Club). Still, despite its 1970’s technology, it proved to be a good all around fighter and later a good precision guided bombing platform. So about half the squadrons were initially kept active - eventually to transition to FA-18 E/F squadrons.

When I deployed on the USS JOHN F KENNEDY in 1986-87 we had two full F-14 squadrons on board - about 24-26 aircraft…taking up a lot of deck space. When I deployed on the USS JOHN C. STENNIS in 2004, we had one F-14 squadron-10-12 aircraft-onboard and that was the last F-14 deployment in the Pacific.

All Tomcat VF squadrons have now either been retired or turned into VFA squadrons. About half flying FA-18 E and half (including my old squadron) flying the FA-18 F (two seater).

So the Phoenix is gone for good. Ironically, the only country in the world still flying the Tomcat is Iran.


Actually, Hangar cannot correct Near Blind as the actual answer to the question is classified…really. That said, I certainly wouldn’t disagree with your “understanding”… :smile:

As for Near Blind’s reason why the Phoenix is no more - that is spot on/exactly correct…I just took more words…OK a lot more words …to say just about the some thing. :wink: