Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Russian Tu-22M3 crash: Expert says instrument landing system to blame ‘hard’ landing

A broken Tu-22M3’s instrument landing system may be to blame for the bomber crash, says Western aviation expert.

Dramatic footage has emerged of the horrific landing involving a fatal crash of a Russian T-22M3 strike bomber which crashed in Murmansk region, killing three of the four crew.

On 22 January, the Tu-22M3 bomber crashed in a fireball while attempting to land in a blizzard at Olenya Air Base.


A western aviation expert said most analysts had begun to think that a broken instrument landing system or ILS may be to blame for a “hard” landing of Russian bomber.

“The rate of descent is much too high for a landing, this suggests the pilot did not know what his attitude was on finals – visibility was really poor so this was clearly a blind ILS letdown. Not surprise the jet snapped in half on impact.,” said expert.

“It could be a broken ILS. When you fly blind letdown you follow the ILS indicators to maintain the proper angle of descent and rate of descent. He was descending much too fast – usually once you reach maybe 30 metres altitude, you back off the power and pull the nose back slightly to slow down, ” – he added.

The Tu-22M3 Backfire supersonic strike bomber bounced off the runway, breaking the back of the aircraft, sending the cockpit cartwheeling into the ground as the rest of the jet bursts into flames.

The expert also noted that: “He [pilot] flew the Backfire into the runway in the way you would land an F/A-18 on a carrier ship deck. This tells me he did not know how high he was and may have had a broken ILS. Fault could be ground equipment or ILS receiver on the jet – impossible to say. The official story was that he he tried to land too heavy. This is possible but if you are too heavy you slow the rate of descent by using more power and angle-of-attack, ie you hold the nose higher. To me it looks like he had no idea how fast he was descending.”

Russian military investigators have started the crash probe, and the Tupolev company that manufactured the bomber said its experts will join the investigation.

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Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.