After more than 13 hours in the air, two Russian Tupolev TU-160 landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base outside of Pretoria on Wednesday, marking the strategic nuclear bombers’ first trip to South Africa.
According to Russia's MoD, the two ‘Blackjack’ bombers flew over the neutral waters of the Indian Ocean, the Caspian Sea and Arabian Sea, with mid-air refuelling carried out during the journey.
Close to the end of the marathon flight, they were welcomed and escorted by South African Saab JAS 39. In January Russian Tu-160 jets performed a 15-hour flight over the Arctic.
Russia’s Long-Range Aviation Commander Lieutenant-General, Sergei Kobylash, said that such long flights have already become "more or less usual" for Russian pilots, describing them as the “next step of cooperation with our partners.”