MOSCOW, November 5 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers returned on Tuesday from a tour-of-duty in South America, where they carried out a series of patrols in line with a combat training program.
During the mission, which started on October 28, the nuclear-capable bombers visited Venezuela and Nicaragua, and conducted a series of patrols over the Caribbean.
“The bombers took off from Venezuela’s Maiquetia airfield and flew a distance of about 13,000 kilometers [8,000 miles], refueling from Ilyushin Il-98 air tankers over neutral waters in the Sea of Norway,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The planes landed early on Tuesday at the Engels airbase in southwestern Russia, the ministry said.
Russian strategic bombers conducted a similar mission in 2008. It was followed by a visit to Venezuela by a Russian naval task force that took part in joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy.
The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation.