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Au 1467.92 $/oz Change: 2.08
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Russian bombers land in South Africa

23rd October 2019 BY: Dylan Slater
Creamer Media Staff Writer and Photographer

Two Tupolev Tu-160 bombers finally landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Wednesday afternoon.

Their journey to South Africa had initially been delayed as a result of bad weather in Russia.

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The Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation (AFRF) are currently being hosted in South Africa by the South African Air Force (SAAF).

The visiting delegation from the AFRF will include three pieces of airforce hardware, namely an Antonov AN124 cargo plane, a Ilyushin Il-62 airliner and the two Tupolev Tu-160 bombers.

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Both the Antonov and Ilyushin were already parked at the Waterkloof Air Force Base earlier on Wednesday.

The Tu-160s undertook a nonstop flight from Russia to South Africa and were met by SAAF Gripen fighters and Hawk lead-in trainers before entering South African airspace. The SAAF aircraft performed sovereign airspace escort duties.

SAAF Brigadier General Hilton Smith earlier on Wednesday told Engineering News Online that poor weather at the Engels air base, near Sarotov, Russia, had delayed the flights for a second day and that the SAAF had not at that stage received further communication from the AFRF.

The Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-swept wing, heavy bomber aircraft, capable of carrying nuclear weapons. It is the direct rival of the US’s B1 Lancer strategic bomber.

The South African National Defence Force says military-to-military relations between it and the military forces of the Russian Federation are built on fostering mutually beneficial partnerships based on common interests. It is within this context and within the framework of the agreement between the Ministries of Defence of both countries dated June 14, 1995, that the joint unit of the AFRF is visiting South Africa.
  

EDITED BY: Chanel de Bruyn Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
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