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Tu-22MKI "Stingray"

by Bud Sliger

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Silly Week 2007

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Tu-22MKI *Stingray*

No.300 squadron det. B 'White Tigers'

ser. IND-043

INAS Dabolim 1989  

 

        The clash between the US Navy and the Red Ceylonese forces during the summer of 1986 prompted the Indian goverment to re-evaluate it's stance towards it's island neighbor; the very fact that the Ceylonese possesed an ex-Soviet carrier sent the Indian military scrambling for a suitible deterrant. During a state visit to the Moscow in October of that year, officials from the Indian airforce, naval air arm and representives from Hindustan Airspace (HAL) met with the Tupolev OKB to discuss terms of aquiring a tailor-made anti-ship version of the Tu-22M.

      

      Based on the Tu-22M2,  the Tu-22MKI is strictly a conventional bird, all nuclear hardwiring and associated systems having been deleted along with the rear mounted defensive guns. The Soviet ECM gear was replaced with the French Cameleon (from the Mirage-2000) mounted in an extended radome in the tail, repositioned IFR probe (ala Su-24), new wing-mounted HAL 'slipper' pods containing ESM gear, new forward wing pylons and the NK-22 engines were replaced with the NK-321 from the Tu-160. Primary armament is the license-produced Kh-22I 'Kitchen' anti-ship missile, which up to 3 can be carried. French air-launched torpedos and the indegenious "Kiva" SRAM are alternatives. Total weapons load is about 25,000 lbs.

 

8 aircraft were ordered, with delieveries starting in early 1988, No.300 sqn. detatchment B was formed to be the training unit and to pioneer tactics. After all the non-Soviet equipment was fitted, the aircraft received a very distinct paint scheme of Light blue/dark gray-blue/pale blue on top, with light blue gray underneath.

 

    First operational use came in January of 1989 when 2 aircraft were launched to shadow the Ceylonese carrier battlegroup, MiG-28's were scrambled to escort the Indian bombers away from the CBG. Later that same year the Indian High Command learned that the Ceylonese government dispatched the CBG to support the invasion of the Andaman islands. To prevent the invasion, the High Commandnder ordered the sinking of the carrier and any other Ceylonese ships under Operation *Stingray*, 6 Tu-22s were launched, with fighter cover provided by INAF Sea Harriers and IAF MiG-29s. The Tu-22s located the Ceylonese fleet in the Bay of Bengal and began their attack. When the dust settled the carrier Red Ceylon was at the ocean floor along with most of the invasion fleet.

Bud 

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Photos and text by Bud Sliger

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