Moscow: Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack
strategic bombers on Wednesday took off from their base in Engels in
Volga region on a record 23-hour patrol during which they will
cover a distance of 18,000 kilometres without touching the
"We are expecting this mission to set a record because its
duration will exceed the previous achievement by two hours and
it would be of total of 23 hours, and its range will reach
18,000 kilometres," Air Force spokesman Lt Col Vladimir Drik
was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
A similar mission last year had lasted 21 hours.
The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry
heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with
nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres
The bombers will fly along the Russian borders and over
neutral waters of the Arctic and Pacific oceans. They will
also practice instrumental flight and carry out in-flight
refuelling from Il-78 aerial tankers.
Military experts say that the present mission of the
Tu-160 bombers, mainstay of Russia`s air component of nuclear
triad, should be seen as part of the preparations for the
forthcoming largest ever Vostok (East)-2010 war games in
June-July in the eastern parts of the country.
The war games will involved flagships from all the fleets
and entire military might to counter a possible Chinese