Two long-range Russian Tu-22M3 bombers conducted a scheduled flight over the Black Sea, covering a distance of almost 2,800 miles, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Feb. 19.
"Two long-range Tu-22M3 bombers completed a planned flight over neutral waters in the Black Sea. During the flight, the crews covered approximately 4,500 kilometers and were in the air for more than five hours," Sputnik cited the statement as saying.
The two long-range bombers were accompanied by fighter jets belonging to the Southern Military District, the Defense Ministry added.
First introduced into service with the Soviet Air Force in the early 1970s for use as a strategic and maritime bomber, the Tu-22 is part of the troika of aircraft making up the backbone of the country’s strategic air power (the other two being the Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers). All three aircraft have proven suitable for upgrades, with the Russian Aerospace Forces testing the Kinzhal hypersonic missile aboard the Tu-22M3.