Russian strategic aviation to participate in joint exercises with Northern Fleet


ENGELS (Saratov Region), June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's strategic aviation forces will participate in joint exercises with the Northern Fleet in the Barents and Norwegian seas in the summer of 2005, an air force army commander said. "In the second half of 2005, we are preparing to participate in large Northern Fleet exercises and practice launch cruise missiles," said Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov, commander of the 37th Air Force Strategic Army.

Missiles will be launched from Tu-160 strategic bombers, he said. "The North-West region [and] the Barents and Norwegian seas are well-known areas for us because we fly there to train young pilots," he said.

He said also Russia's long-range aviation would get two modernized Tu-160 strategic bombers in 2005.

"We are expecting to get a new complex that has been considerably adjusted and modernized. This is actually a new aircraft," Khvorov said.

The 121st guards heavy bomber aviation regiment is celebrating its 65th anniversary. The regiment boasts the world's best Tu-160 strategic missile-carrying aircraft, he said.

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