Russian Tu-22M

Chinese websites are again reporting that Russia has agreed to sell Beijing the production line for the Tupolev Tu-22M3 bomber at a cost of $1.5 billion.

Once in service with the Chinese Naval Air Forces the Tu-22M3 will be known as the ?H-10?.

The deal struck with Russia includes 36 aircraft: a batch of 12 followed by a second batch of 24 additional bombers.

The Tu-22 will be employed in the maritime attack role and used to attack targets from low levels to avoid radar detection.

The Tu-22 is a Soviet supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber.

It was developed during the Cold War and is among the closest things to a modern stealth bomber.

However, it will get updated with indigenous systems and an extended range making it a significant threat to many latest generations weapon systems.

That?s even more true if the deal with Russia includes the Raduga Kh-22 (AS-4 ?Kitchen?) long-range anti-ship missile, in which case this could be a significant change in the strategic balance of the region.

The Tu-22 bombers will give China another tool to pursue the area denial strategy in the South China Sea and the Pacific theatre; a fast platform to launch cruise missiles, conventional or nuclear weapons in various regional war scenarios.

In other words, a brand new threat to the U.S. Navy in the region.

By David Cenciotti and Richard Clements, The Aviationist

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/china-buys-tu-22m3-david-cenciotti-the-aviationist-2013-1#ixzz2IhFtR9fb

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