Sat, 11 Jul 2020

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 bombers land in SA

24 Oct 2019, 07:10 GMT+10

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 bombers touched down at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Wednesday afternoon as the SA Air Force (SAAF) plays host to the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation (AFRF).

The bombers, which undertook a non-stop journey from Russia, were accompanied by SAAF Gripen and Hawk aircraft as they entered South African airspace.

The two aircraft, which are supersonic and capable of carrying nuclear weapons, arrived in South Africa unarmed.

The two military wings are expected to hold a seminar where combat as well as search and rescue matters will be deliberated on.

The SAAF's deputy chief, Major General Innocent Buthelezi who was at the base to receive the visitors, told the media the visit was part of a normal bilateral operation as South Africa and Russia have a long relationship.

"The current operations are just to strengthen and make sure we continue with that co-operation," Buthelezi said.

According to a statement by the SAAF, South Africa and the Russian Federation have strong historical links, with diplomatic relations being established in 1992.

"The military-to-military relations between the two countries is not solely built on struggle politics but rather 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 a joint unit of the AFRF is visiting South Africa," the SAAF said.

The landing also coincides with the start of the Russia-Africa summit in Russia, where President Cyril Ramaphosa is in attendance.

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