The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name Backfire) is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force.
During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was operated in a strategic bombing role and in a long-range maritime anti-shipping role. While it was unable to complete a round trip to the contiguous United States without aerial refueling, it posed a tremendous threat to the US Navy and to NATO assets everywhere. Tu-22s that were either refueled, on one-way missions, or forward based had the ability to make low-level penetrations of United States territory almost at will.
The Tu-22M saw its first combat use in Afghanistan from 1987 to 1989. The Russian Federation used the Tu-22 in combat against Chechen forces in 1995, carrying out strikes near Grozny. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union some 370 Tu-22M bombers were in service.
The Soviet Union did not export the Tu-22M, but the break-up of the USSR left some aircraft in the possession of former Soviet republics, other than Russia. Belarus has 52 (the serviceability of which is unclear). Ukraine possessed an additional 29, but those aircraft have been destroyed, the last in 2004.