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Strategic bombers to hold live firing drills in central Russia

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Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers will participate in a series of exercises involving live firing drills in central Russia on August 4-8, an Air Force spokesman said on Friday.

MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers will participate in a series of exercises involving live firing drills in central Russia on August 4-8, an Air Force spokesman said on Friday. (Russian strategic bombers - Image gallery)

The Tu-22M3 Backfire-C is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic bomber that Russia uses mainly to patrol the skies over its southern borders, Central Asia and the Black Sea region.

"During the exercises the crews will practice simulated bomber runs at testing grounds in the Novgorod and the Saratov regions," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said.

There are at least 141 Tu-22M3 bombers in service with Russian Air Force.

The Tu-22M3 has a flight range of 6,800 km (4,300 miles) and can carry a 24,000 kg (52,910 lb) payload, including nuclear bombs and cruise missiles fitted with nuclear or conventional warheads.