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MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia’s long-range (fighter-bomber) aviation is marking the centenary anniversary since its foundation on Tuesday. Gala functions devoted to the jubilee will be held in all the branches and units of the Air Force, its official spokesman Igor Klimov told reporters.
“Long-range aviation is a crucial component element of Russia’s forces of nuclear deterrence,” Colonel Klimov said. “Its status and the span and character of its combat tasks make it a service reporting directly to the country’s Commander-in-Chief. It fulfills strategic tasks.”
Units of long-range aviation operate the strategic missile carriers Tupolev-160 and Tupolev-95MS, long-range strategic bombers Tupolev-22M3, refueling jets Ilyushin-78, special-task aircraft Antonov-30b, the transport turboprops Antonov-12 and Antonov-26, as well as Mi-8 and Mi-26 helicopters.
Long-range aviation units are currently amid a massive modernization of the aircraft and engines of all types.
“A priority goal of the State Defence Order for 2015 is to supply overhauled Tupolev-160, Tupolev-95M and Tupolev-22M3 jets to long-range air force units,” Col Klimov said. “All the modernized aircraft will be fitted out with new equipment complexes that will boost their combat capabilities substantially.”
In 2015, strategic air force units will make flights to remote parts of the globe located at the distances equal to the full operating range of the aircraft. These flights will be part of the strategic deterrence plan and will include refueling in midair.
The plan also includes a major command staff strategic exercise, Center’2015.
Col Klimov recalled that Russian strategic air force jets had resumed long-range flights recently in line with the strategic deterrence plan. Specifically, the Tupolev-160 jets made landings on airbases in the Caribbean /in Venezuela and Nicaragua/ and the use of refueling jets stationed on bases in Egypt and Vietnam enabled the Russian jets to operate in the Mediterranean and to reach the water area of the South China Sea.
In 2014, the Ilyushin-78 refueling jets made the first-ever landing in Cairo and the Tupolev-95MS strategic missile carriers made flights along the coastlines of Norway, Britain, Spain, and Portugal with refueling in midair.
“In the course of these flights, five inceptions by fighter jets of the Norwegian, British and Portuguese Air Forces were registered,” Col Klimov said.