Two Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Have Just Landed in South Africa For The First Time

The SA National Defence Force released some images of the Russian Tu-160s deployed to South Africa. (Image credit: SA National Defence Force)

Two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers landed at AFB Waterkloof earlier today. It’s the “White Swan” first visit to the African continent.

On Oct. 23, 2019, two Russian Air Force Tu-160s bombers arrived in South Africa for the type’s first deployment to Africa.

As we were first to report two days ago, the Russian Blackjacks were supposed to touch down at the air base near the country capital Pretoria yesterday; however, the trip from Engels-2 airfield in Russia was postponed because of unknown technical issues.

The route the two Tu-160s flew from Russia has not been unveiled and there are different theories:

Update: The Tu-160s flew over the waters of the Caspian and Arabian seas, as well as over the Indian Ocean.

The two “White Swan” bombers were intercepted and escorted by SAAF Hawk Mk120 jet trainers.

What we called a “standard support package”, an Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy lift cargo aircraft for support equipment and spares and a retro-looking Ilyushin Il-62 passenger aircraft carrying support, diplomatic and media personnel, arrived in South Africa on Oct. 22.

You can read our analysis on the deployment in this article; here below a selection of images and videos showing today’s landings.



About David Cenciotti 3872 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.