Russian forces have this week conducted a series of military exercises involved Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 bombers.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on September 17 that Two Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers conducted a scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Black Sea.
“Two Russian Tu-22M3 long-range aviation strategic bombers conducted a scheduled flight in the air space over the neutral waters of the Black Sea,” the Ministry said, adding that “at certain parts of their flight route, the planes were escorted by Russian Su-27 fighters, as well as foreign jets.”
Also, two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers made a scheduled flight over the Barents and Norwegian seas, and over the Atlantic Ocean.
“Two Tu-160 strategic bombers performed a scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian seas, and the Atlantic Ocean. <…> At certain sections, they were escorted by MiG-31 aircraft of Russia’s naval air force and by F-16 Norwegian Air Force fighter jets,” the ministry said, adding that the flight duration was ten hours.
Furthermore, the Russian Navy’s long-range antisubmarine Tu-142 aircraft has conducted a surveillance flight over the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Wednesday.
“On September 16, 2020, a long-range antisubmarine Tu-142 aircraft of the Russian Naval Air Force conducted a scheduled flight in international airspace over the Black Sea,” the defense ministry said adding that “Su-30SM fighter jets of the Black Sea Fleet accompanied the Tu-142 aircraft along its route.”
The ministry pointed out that the flight, which had taken place in strict compliance with international airspace rules, lasted about five hours.
Some military experts report that the exercises are as much about projecting power as demonstrating it.
Russian increase of activity in the European region with the flying of Cold War-era bombers displays the Kremlin’s ability to deploy such warplanes near NATO radar and missile-launch sites.
NATO’s surveillance missions next to Russian borders have soared by more than 30% compared to 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters last week.