Twelve Russian strategic bombers will take part in an Arctic exercise on Monday and Tuesday including tactical launches of cruise missiles, an air force spokesman said.
He did not specify where the exercise was taking place but said TU-95MC bombers would take off from five air bases stretching from the Volga River city of Engels to Anadyr on the Chukotka Peninsula overlooking the United States.
"The planes will also practice mid-air refuelling from Il-78 transport planes," the spokesman said.
Last month, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's air force to resume long-range patrols by the strategic bombers, abandoned since the end of the Cold War.
In line with his assertive foreign policy and efforts to build up the Russian armed forces, Putin has said the resumption of patrols is needed to guarantee national security.
The air force exercise also follows a widely advertised scientific expedition to the North Pole last month with the task of finding justification for Russia's claims for a bigger slice of the Arctic zone, believed to have rich mineral resources.
Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2007, 18:33