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20:31 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Russia's strategic aviation to conduct 6 exercises in August

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The Russian strategic aviation will fly over the North Pole and conduct test launches of cruise missiles during a series of exercises in August, the Defense Ministry said on its website Tuesday.
MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian strategic aviation will fly over the North Pole and conduct test launches of cruise missiles during a series of exercises in August, the Defense Ministry said on its website Tuesday.

Units of the 37th Air Army of the Strategic Command will conduct a total of six tactical exercises in August as part of an annual training program, the ministry said in a statement.

"During the exercises, strategic bombers will test launch cruise missiles, conduct simulated bombing raids, and fly over the North Pole, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans," the statement said.

The exercises will involve Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers, and Tu-22M3 Backfire-C theater bombers - the mainstay of the air component of Russia's strategic nuclear triad.

According to various sources, the Russian Air Force currently deploys 141 Tu-22M3 bombers, 40 Tu-95MS bombers, and 14 Tu-160 planes.

Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov, the newly appointed chief of the Air Force Main Staff, said in March that Russia's strategic aviation had sufficient potential to suppress elements of a U.S. missile defense shield should it be deployed in Central Europe.