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Ukraine destroys Tu-22M3 Russian strategic bomber at 650km from Ukrainian border

On August 19, 2023, a drone attack took place at the Soltsy air base in Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located more than 650 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. A Russian strategic bomber, Tu-22M3, was destroyed, and another was reportedly damaged by quadcopter drone attacks.
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Russian Strategic Bomber Tu-22M3 (Picture source: Twitter account of Ukraine Weapons Tracker )

Quadcopters, also known as four-bladed drones, are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) primarily used for aerial photography, surveillance, and other civilian applications. In recent years, with the war in Ukraine, their use has expanded for military and tactical purposes. Due to their small size and agility, they can be equipped with cameras for reconnaissance or even small explosive charges for targeted attacks.

The use of drones in Ukraine is extensive, and they have proven their effectiveness during the conflict. One of the major challenges in the conflict today is anti-drone measures. Many are trying to find solutions to counteract the effectiveness of UAVs, and it's not uncommon to see vehicles equipped with cages or other anti-drone devices.

The Tu-22M3, known to NATO as the Backfire C, is a long-range supersonic strategic bomber. Developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau during the Soviet era, it was introduced in the 1970s as an advanced version of the earlier Tu-22 design. Since its inception, the Tu-22M3 has been a vital part of the Russian Air Force's strategic bomber fleet.

The aircraft can reach speeds of up to Mach 2.05. It can carry a diverse range of weapons, including nuclear and conventional bombs, as well as anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. With a combat radius of about 2,400 kilometers, it can target locations deep within enemy territories. Its destruction is therefore crucial for the Ukrainians who are looking to challenge Russian aerial dominance, especially with the upcoming delivery of Danish and Dutch F-16s.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that the Tu-22M3 bomber "was damaged by a Ukrainian quadcopter UAV." From the images available, it appears to have been destroyed. There are also reports of a second model being damaged, but its fate remains to be determined. According to some OSINT information, this attack was not launched from Ukrainian soil but from Russia. This indicates that a network of Ukrainian saboteurs has been set up on Russian soil.

The destruction of a Tu-22M3 and the damage to another at the Soltsy air base is a significant event, especially being 650km from the Ukrainian borders. It highlights the ability of Ukrainian forces to strike deep into Russian territories.

Ukraine Destroys Russian Strategic Bomber Tu 22M3 650km from the Border 925 002Strategic Bomber Tu-22M3 ( Picture source: Vitaly V.Kuzmin )


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