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Russian & Chinese bombers patrol off Japan

Friday’s operation saw two Russian Tu-95MS and two Chinese Xian H-6K strategic engaged. The bombers were escorted by fighter jets, including Russian Su-35S aircraft. The flight was coordinated by a Russian Be A-50U, an airborne early warning and control plane.

Footage released by the Russian military shows Tu-95MS aircraft taking off from an airfield, flying alongside a Su-35S fighter jet, and also provides a rare view from the strategic bomber’s cockpit. The video also suggests that the patrolling aircraft have been shadowed by at least one Japanese F-15 fighter jet at some point along their sortie.

The joint patrol came as a part of pre-planned military activities and “was not aimed against any third countries,” Russia’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement. The goal of the patrol was to further reinforce “Russian-Chinese relations and comprehensive partnership,” as well as contribute to the “strengthening of global strategic stability,” it added.

The Russian Tu-95 is the fastest turboprop-powered aircraft in the world and the only turboprop strategic bomber still in service. The Tu-95MS variant is a heavily modernized aircraft, sharing little in common with the original 1950s plane except for its looks.
The Chinese Xian H-6K shares a similar story – while being a cousin of a Cold War-era Tu-16 jet bomber, aircraft of this type have been heavily upgraded and joined the ranks of the country’s military only in the early 2010s.

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