Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers that had left Russia on Oct. 28, have completed a 10,000 miles, 13-hour long range training flight and landed in Venezuela , according to the Russian Defense Ministry .
Talking to RIA Novosti news agency, a Ministry spokesperson said that the two supersonic bombers flew over Eastern Pacific Ocean along the southwest coast of North America, over the Caribbean Sea and landed at the airport in Maiquetía Caracas.
Interestingly, the long-range mission was supported by two Tu- 95 Bear strategic bombers that provided radio communications relay in remote areas along the route.
“All flights of Russian Air Force planes are carried out in strict accordance with international standards for the use of airspace,” the Russian spokesperson said.
This was not the first time two Tu-160s visit Venezuela: a similar deployment took place in Sept. 2008.
Top image: a Tu-160 at MAKS 2007 (Wiki)
H/T to Nicholas Martin for sending the link to the video
I guess the Russians don’t have SATCOM. Of course in wartime, there will be no need for relays, the bomber pilots will open sealed orders and hit their targets. Interestingly, this suggests that a Russian bomber attack can’t be recalled by the Russians if it strikes too far from home?
Nowhere near as capable as the B1B it was to be the answer to and to acquire the range fuel tanks had to be installed in the weapons bay. The Blackjack also has one heck of a radar cross section but does have a top speed around what the B1A had.
A 10,000 mile flight means the bomber can launch on a 5,000 mile radius bombing mission, which puts all of the United States within range. I wonder if this is the messaging behind these deployments.
You do realize that the deployments are pre-announced to the US? Under New START treaty if the deployment lasts 24 hours then the details are shared. The same goes for ballistic missile launches. No side wants a miscalculation or misinterpretation.
;NOTIFICATION OF VISIT OF A HEAVY BOMBER OF A TYPE SUBJECT TO
THE TREATY TO A SPECIFIC LOCATION OR A GEOGRAPHIC REGION WHEN
VISIT EXCEEDS 24 HOURS
2 . REFERENCE ( S ) :
A. HEAVY BOMBER TYPE, CATEGORY (AND VARIANT, IF
B. NUMBER OF HEAVY BOMBERS: XXXX
C . UNIQUE IDENTIFIER (S)
D. DATE AND TIME OF ARRIVAL: DD-MMM-YYYY HH:MM
E. FACILITY AT WHICH BASED: (Name/Coordinates)
F. LOCATION OR GEOGRAPHIC REGION VISITING:
(Name/Coordinates or Geographic Region)
5. END OF ANC(RNC)/SOA YY-XXXX/II’
There seems some confusion over the route you are suggesting in the title?
The Tu-160s didn’t fly across the Pacific but down the usual route off Norway. They were intercepted by Norwegian F-16s from Bodo as they headed into the Atlantic for the Caribbean.
The statement initially said that the aircraft “flew over the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and along the southwestern coast of the North American continent, and landed at Maiquetia airfield in Venezuela.” If they flew a northern route from Engels the Norwegian F-16s may have escorted them on the initial phase of their eastbound flight.
Very true, David. ItI does seem a strange route, but I suppose stranger things have happened? They were escorted by two Tu-95MS Bear Hs used as radio relay platforms according to the Russian press. The Tu-95MS were active in Morse Code during the period of the flight. Several radio enthusiasts, including myself, were logging some of the Morse comms from the Tu-95s and ground controls. The Tu-95s still use extensive Morse Code – old habits die hard with the Russians.
Just stating some facts. Many of the reports of these type of missions go with hype and are taken completely out of context. It is nothing new that the Tu-160 can cover those distances and mount such missions. It isn’t sending a message to anyone. Simply routine training with an out of area deployment that motivates crews.
‘Tu-160 bombers are back from Latin America
The two Tu-160 bombers that made visits to Venezuela and Nicaragua last week returned to the Engels base in the early morning of November 5, 2013. The bombers took off from the Maiquetia airport in Venezuela and landed in Engels about 15 hours later. During the flight, they conducted refueling over the Norwegian Sea.’