16 April 2012About 40 strategic bombers will participate in five-day drills in Russia’s Maritime Territory near the Japanese border, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said on Monday.
The long-range aviation exercise, which started earlier in the day, includes aerial bombing and launches of airborne cruise missiles at the Litovka test range, he said.
Other training missions will include aerial patrol and midair refueling.
About 30 crews of Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers, some 10 crews of Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers and two Il-78 aerial tankers will participate.
Japan has been concerned by Russian warplane flights near its coast.
In early February, a total of five Russian aircraft, including two Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, two Su-24 Fencer reconnaissance planes and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft flew close to Japanese territory, without intruding into its airspace, however.
They were shadowed by Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft.