China has already imported 6 such bombers as the bombers are much better than China’s own H-6 bombers in bigger load and larger range.
The Tu-22MB Tupolev Backfire is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime surprise strike bomber.
According to Chinese military expert Ma Dingsheng, the swing-wing of Tu-22MBenables it to conduct surprise stealth maritime attack. It can first adjust its wings in a position that enables it to fly at super-low attitude without being detected by enemy radar. When it comes near its target, it changes its wing position to enable it to clime up quickly to conduct sudden attack.
However, Ma said that for production of the bombers, China still needs quite a few parts that it cannot produce especially the engines. It is said that there is a contract to supply the parts for the production of 36 such bombers.
China has to develop its own ability to produce the parts, especially the engines. Otherwise, if Russia refuses to provide more parts, China will be unable to produce more and even have difficulty in maintenance of the bombers.
Source: China Times
This has been in the rumor mill since the late '90s (see Fatal Terrain by Dale Brown), but this is the first I've seen that this might actually happen. However, until we see a Tu-22M in PLAAF markings, take this with a grain of salt.
H/T to Solomon over at SNAFU! for spotting this.
Photo Credit: Air Power Australia