Tuesday, October 14, 2008
MOSCOW, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russian strategic bombers have successfully completed a series of large-scale, week-long exercises, the Long-Range Aviation commander said on Tuesday.
The drills, part of the Stability 2008 strategic command and staff exercises, were conducted on October 6 through 12 under the command Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, Air Force commander, involving over 30 warplanes.
“A total of 40 sorties have been flown with an aggregate of 300 flying hours clocked,” Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov said.
The Stability-2008 maneuvers are being conducted in various parts of Russia and Belarus with the goal of practicing strategic deployment of the Armed Forces, including the nuclear triad, to counter potential threats near Russia’s borders. They started on September 22 and will last until October 21.
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Russian strategic bombers, Tu-160 Blackjacks and Tu-95MS Bear-Hs, have flown with full combat payloads and launched all of their standard-issue cruise missiles for the first time in over two decades.
Tu-95MS and Tu-160 aircraft can carry six and 12 Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent) long-range cruise missiles, respectively.
The Air Force has said the scope of the exercise is unprecedented, involving the Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers, air superiority fighters, interceptors and aerial tankers.
According to various sources, in addition to 16 Tu-160 bombers the Russian Air Force currently has 40 Tu-95MS bombers and 141 Tu-22M3 bombers in service.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 11:23 am