MOSCOW, February 9 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the patrolling of the Pacific neutral waters next to Japan by Russian strategic missile-carrying bombers Tu-95MS.
“The patrolling route passed above the neutral waters over the Pacific, north of the Japanese Islands,” spokesman for the Russian Air Force Col. Vladimir Drik told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
“At various stages of patrolling up to the Russian border the Su-27 warplanes were escorting the bombers Tu-95MS. The warplane A-50 was controlling the air space during the patrolling,” the spokesman said.
“This practice of complex flights is regular,” Drik noted. Meanwhile, the flight crews practice cooperation between various types of aviation,” he added.
“The Tu-95MS crews practiced the flight skills without orientation and were air refueled by two air refueling airplanes Il-78,” the spokesman said. “The duration of patrolling was about 16 hours,” he said.
Ten fighters F-15 and F-16 of the Air Force of Japan and South Korea were monitoring the Russian patrolling mission. After the patrolling the Japanese government asked Russia to refrain from such actions in the future.
The Russian air patrolling has been a regularly scheduled event since August 2007. “Russian warplanes have made all flights according to the international rules for the use of the air space over the neutral waters without transgressing the borders of other countries,” Drik pointed out.
From two to four warplanes are regularly involved in the air patrolling. Sometimes the Russian Air Force uses 6-8 warplanes in air patrolling missions. Meanwhile, the duration of the air patrolling can range from ten to 22 hours. The geography of air patrolling missions is diverse - from the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans, to the Black Sea coast area, as well as the routes along the state borders of the CIS states.