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  Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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Over 40 aircraft of Russia's Air Force
Over 40 aircraft of Russia's Air Force will take part in the final stage of a naval exercise in the Atlantic later this month, an aide to the Air Force commander said on Thursday.

"The Air Force will play an active role in the final stage of the naval task force exercises. Over 40 planes will be employed from January 28 to February 1," Alexander Drobyshevsky said.

He said Tu-160 Blackjacks, Tu-95MS Bears, Tu-22M3 Backfire C strategic bombers, A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning aircraft, Il-78 Midas aerial tankers, MiG-31 Foxhound long-range interceptors and Su-27 Flanker frontline fighter aircraft will participate in the drills.

"During the exercises, pilots will practice reconnaissance, missile and bomb strikes on the [theoretical] enemy's naval task force, and will conduct air fights and air patrolling," Drobyshevsky said.

Russia's naval task force, comprising the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Udaloy-Class destroyers Admiral Levchenko and Admiral Chabanenko, as well as auxiliary vessels, is currently on a two-month tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic.

The flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva guided missile cruiser, joined up with Russian naval warships in the Mediterranean on Friday to participate in the current maneuvers.

The Navy said that during live firing practices on Monday, the cruiser successfully hit all designated targets.

The current operation is the first large-scale Russian Navy exercise in the Atlantic in 15 years. All combat ships and aircraft involved carry full combat ammunition loads, the Navy said.

Commander of Russia's Northern Fleet Vice-Admiral Nikolai Maksimov, who is heading the task force, earlier said that the current tour of duty to the Mediterranean, which started on December 5, was aimed at ensuring Russia's naval presence "in key operational areas of the world's oceans" and establishing conditions for secure Russian maritime navigation.


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