Crew members of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (VKS) Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber and Il-78 long-range aircraft have conducted night refuelling in the air.

The flight training was performed in the airspace over the Volga region in Russia.

During the flights, crew personnel of VKS performed two night aircraft refuelling missions under harsh weather conditions with a strong crosswind.

It saw the participation of more than five aircraft units.

The aircraft flew at altitudes of 5,000m and a speed of 600km/h while maintaining a distance of less than 30m between each other.

The tanker aircraft and the refuelling aircraft were installed with additional lighting.

In a statement, VKS said: “Practising of these air elements is one of the most complex and at the same time necessary in the flight training of long-range aviation crews, allowing them to significantly increase the combat range and perform tasks for their intended purpose at a great distance from their bases.”

The Ilyushin IL-78 air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft is a four-engine tanker used for in-flight refuelling.

The Tu-160 was manufactured by Tupolev aircraft research and engineering complex joint-stock company of Moscow and the Kazan-Gorbunov Aircraft Production Association in Tatarstan.

In November 2018, the crew members of the Su-30SM combat aircraft used by the VKS successfully carried out live-fire exercises in Primorsky Krai.