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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian fighter jets make first ever nonstop flight across Russia to Far East

RIA Novosti

12:45 04/07/2010

VLADIVOSTOK, July 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russian fighter jets have performed the first ever nonstop flights from European Russia to the Russian Far East with in-flight refueling as part of the Vostok-2010 military drills, Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said on Sunday.

"For the first time ever, we have tested a possibility for fighter jets to fly from aerodromes in the European part of Russia to eastern airfields in the Far Eastern district without landing, with in-flight refueling and the delivery of strikes according to assignments received during the flight," Makarov said.

The exercises, which have entered their naval phase in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East, are being overseen by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on board the heavy nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky.

When asked by the president about how many refuelings had been required for the fighter jets, Russia's top military commander answered that it had taken Su-24M Fencer fighter-bombers three refuelings and for new Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft two refuelings.

The drills, Vostok-2010, began on June 29 in Russia's Far East training areas and involved some 10,000 troops and around 1,000 items of military hardware. The first phase of the drills ended on Saturday. The second, naval phase launched on Sunday, will see the involvement of several times more service personnel and military equipment. The exercises continue until July 8.

Apart from the Pyotr Veliky cruiser of the Russian Northern Fleet, the drills also involve the Guards guided missile cruiser Moskva of the Black Sea Fleet.

As part of the drills, the Armed Forces will practice the deployment of additional troops in Siberia and the Far East to reinforce the existing military contingent in the region in case of a military conflict.

Russia holds Vostok strategic command-and-staff drills every two years.

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