Two Russian Tu-160 strategic missile carriers have broken their own world record for non-stop flight in their class, spending more than 25 hours continuously in the air, the Russian Aerospace Forces’ commander of long-range aviation Lt. Gen. Sergey Kobylash told reporters on Saturday.
“Today, a new record for range and flight duration was set by two long-range flight crews on Tu-160 supersonic strategic missile carriers. The Russian Aerospace Forces pilots were in the air for more than 25 hours and covered more than 20,000 kilometers [12,400 miles],” Lt. Gen. Kobylash said.
The previous world record, which was also set by a Tu-160 in 2010, was 24 hours and 24 minutes.
During the flight, which took place over neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, as well as the Laptev, Kara, Barents, East Siberian, and Chukchi seas, three refueling operations were conducted using six Il-78 aircraft, Lt. Gen. Kobylash stated.
“At certain stages of the route, the Tu-160 strategic missile carriers were accompanied by Su-35S fighters, as well as aircraft from foreign countries,” the military official stated.
The flights of both Tu-160 aircraft were carried out in strict accordance with international rules governing the use of international airspace.