In December 1999 it was announced that India would lease four Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers, with the aircraft slated arrive in India as early as June 2000. India's Tu-142 and Il-38 aircraft will be upgraded in Russia. An initial batch of five aircraft was to be sent to Russia and during this period the Tu-22M3s were to undertake a maritime role armed with AS-20 Kayak anti-ship missiles. India is making substantial purchases of the Novator 3M-54 Alfa missile to equip Kilo class submarines and its new frigates. It was believed that an air-launched variant will be purchased to arm the Tu-142s currently in service and the six to eight additional aircraft being sought by the Navy. If an air-launched version of the Alfa is procured, it is anticipated that India's Tu-22M3s will eventually be equipped to fire them.
In February 2001 it was reported that Russia was preparing to lease India four TU-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers armed with the KH-22 cruise missiles having a range of 500 km. There are also reports that the Tu-22M3 offered to India for the maritime attack role would be armed with the conventional anti-ship Kh-15A (export designation Kh-15S) missile. The Backfire has a combat of 2,400 km, though the bomber could be upgraded with mid-air refueling to extend the range to 5,000 km.
On 20 January 2004 India finalized the purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov after over a decade of negotiations. But Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes did not reach agreement on other weapons, such as the Tu-22 Backfire bombers or Akula-class nuclear submarines.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|