The Russian Ministry of Defence has announced that a major aerial refuelling exercise involving different military aircraft has commenced in eastern Siberia.

The exercise includes around 30 MiG-31BM interceptor fighters, Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft of the aviation division of the Central Military District and an Il-78 refuelling tanker.

More than 300 military personnel from the flight, engineering and technical personnel, flight control and support groups will be involved in the aerial refuelling drill.

The fighter aviation regiment’s MiG-31BM fighter-interceptors pilots have already started refuelling in the air as part of the drill.

The tactical flight exercise will continue until the end of this week. It will also include flight training at an altitude of up to 8,000m.

In another development, Russia is reportedly planning to unveil a new fighter jet at a Moscow air show, which opens this week.

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According to an Associated Press report, a new aircraft hidden under a tarpaulin was seen to be moved to a parking spot across an airfield in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.

Local reports indicate that the new fighter jet is developed by the Sukhoi aircraft maker under a light tactical fighter development programme.

It features one engine and is smaller compared to the latest Su-57 two-engine stealth fighter. Other details or specifications are not readily available.

Earlier this year, Russian state-run corporation Rostec announced that the fifth-generation Su-57 multirole fighter jet’s cockpit received maximum automation.