The long-range missile-carrying bomber Tu-22M3 has conducted test firings of the new Kh-32 cruise missiles, a source in the defense industrial complex told media.
The Kh-32 air-launched missile was accepted for service in 2016, and the upgraded Tu-22M3M, two prototypes of which are undergoing flight tests, is to become the standard carrier of the munition.
“The retrofitted Tu-22M3 conducted several launches of X-32 cruise missiles, which will form the basis of the strike armament of the modernized Tu-22M3M bomber. The launches took place within the framework of periodic tests of the products at the military range. The declared combat characteristics of the missiles have been confirmed, the accuracy of the hits is ‘in the peg’ (the center of the target. – Ed.),” said the spokesman of the agency.
The source explained that “X-32 is primarily intended for engaging surface targets and is the so-called aircraft carrier killer since modern air defense facilities of aircraft carrier groups have a low probability of intercepting such targets. He added that the missile is capable of destroying ground targets, including radar stations, with high efficiency.
According to the agency’s interlocutor, a series of launches took place last year. The test firings, the source explained, were required both to confirm the performance of the serial X-32s and to prepare for testing the missiles onboard the new Tu-22M3M bombers and also had some experimental and research tasks.
The Kh-32 supersonic cruise missile was adopted into service in 2016. It was developed to replace the Kh-22 missile, which is carried by the Tu-22M3 aircraft in service. The Kh-32 retained a slightly modified airframe of its predecessor, but otherwise, it is a new product. In particular, according to the open sources, the missile has an upgraded liquid-propellant engine with increased thrust, digital electronic equipment, including an onboard digital computer system, interference-immune active-passive radar, and its own electronic countermeasures system. The missile’s maximum speed is close to hypersonic and at flight altitudes above 30 kilometers is about five Mach, and its range is 1000 kilometers.
Tu-22M3M is a deeply upgraded version of Tu-22M3. The missile-carrier received up-to-date digital electronic equipment including new navigation and sighting system, avionics, communication systems, radar and electronic warfare systems. As “Tupolev” PJSC noted, the equipment installed on the Tu-22M3M significantly increases its combat potential and an expanded composition of the new guided missile and bomb armament dramatically increases its combat effectiveness. The equipment is unified as much as possible with the onboard systems of the Tu-160M strategic bomber.
The first flight of the first prototype Tu-22M3M took place on December 28, 2018. The second prototype of the new bomber was connected to flight tests in March 2020.