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.

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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.