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Tupolev Tu-22M

Tupolev Tu-22M Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2005 Title Tupolev Tu-22M (Backfire)
Author Yefim Gordon Publisher Polygon-Press Ltd.
Published 2003 ISBN 1-932525-02-5
Format 80 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $17.95


In the late 1960s, the Soviet Air Force was working to get a new generation of supersonic medium bomber into the inventory. This aircraft would become the topic of many heated diplomatic discussions during the Cold War as it was viewed quite differently between Moscow and the west. To Moscow, this aircraft was a natural evolution of the Tu-22 (Blinder) and was therefore within the permissible scope of the relevant arms treaties. The west believed that this aircraft was a completely different development and the only commonality between what was code-named Blinder and Backfire was perhaps the cockpit clock. Nevertheless, the Soviets moved ahead with development of this very capable twin-engined supersonic strike aircraft.

As with the other titles in this series, Yefim Gordon and Polygon have compiled a VERY nice collection of color photography (no black & whites) of operational aircraft. While there is some coverage of the Tu-22M-2 (Backfire B) in this title, the majority of the coverage with with the Tu-22M-3 (Backfire C). For those who don't know one from the other, the Tu-22M-1 and Tu-22M-2 had F-4 Phantom II-like intakes, whereas the Tu-22M-3 has F-14/F-15-like intakes. In the Tu-22M title, there is a brief run-down on the aircraft, with the bulk of the details left as captions to some of the nicest Tu-22M photography I've seen in print. The title is published in English only. The photography includes a nice walk around of the aircraft. The coverage includes:

  • Tu-22M - A Brief History
  • Photo Gallery
  • Tu-22M-3 Colour Profiles
  • Tu-22M-3 Line Drawings

In the rear of the title, there are color profiles of the Tu-22M-2 and Tu-22M-3 versions and line drawings of the Tu022M-3.

The Soviet/Russian aviation historian and modeler alike will want to add this to their reference libraries - especially considering the very reasonable retail price! The photography and printing quality is very well done. This title is highly recommended!