05:01 GMT14 May 2021
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    Russian fighter pilots regularly undergo a variety of drills to keep their skills sharp, with mid-air refuelling just one of them. The feat allows jets, stationed away from the country's borders, to strike targets at distances far exceeding their normal flight ranges.

    Russian Su-24M (NATO reporting name Fencer-D) attack aircraft and Su-30SM (NATO reporting name Flanker-H) fighter jets have conducted mid-air refuelling drills in the skies above the Crimea, with the exercise captured on video and subsequently released by the Zvezda TV channel.

    The footage, shot from the cabin of the 4+ generation fighter Su-30SM, shows a Su-24M approaching as close as 10 to 12 metres to the left wing of the Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling tanker and connecting to the refuelling hose without a hitch. The Su-30SM fighter later repeats the trick with the same accuracy, with the whole process shown from the pilot's perspective.

    The Su-24M is a supersonic-capable attack jet designed to strike targets with high precision and conduct recognisance missions when necessary. The jet was developed in the 1970s, but is still utilised by some branches of the Russian Air Force, although its direct upgrade Su-24M2, developed in Russia in 2000, has been gradually replacing it.

    The Su-30SM, in turn, was developed in the 1990s as a versatile fighter jet capable of both striking objectives on the ground and confronting enemy forces in the air.


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    air refueling, refueling, Su-24M2, Su-24M, Su-30SM, Russia
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