On December 10th, 2018 two of the Russian Tupolev/ United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Tu-160M1 supersonic bombers, NATO codename “Blackjack” arrived in Venezuela. After the arrival of these two aircraft, there has been an ever growing concern between Russia and USA with another major question raising on the events, “What is the Status of Venezuelan Government?” this is the third deployment with previous being carried out back in 2003 and 2008.
These two massive Tu-160 “White Swan” bombers arrived in Venezuela at the Simón Bolívar International Airport which is located outside of the Caracas on Monday morning. These aircraft came after completing a distance of 10000kilometers in flight across the Atlantic Ocean. These aircraft came from Engels 2 Air Base; which is located 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) east of Saratov, Russia.
There are approximately 17 reported such aircraft at the 6950th Air Force Base and these two aircraft which arrived in Venezuela belong to Russia’s elite 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, the only unit to operate the approximately 11 operational Tu-160 aircraft.
These two aircraft were supported during their flight by the following two aircraft for the respective purposes.
- Antonov An-124 Ruslan heavy-lift cargo aircraft for support equipment and spares
- A retro-looking Ilyushin Il-62 passenger aircraft carrying support, diplomatic and media personnel to accompany the deployment
According to some insider news, there was an initial plan to either deploy 3 Tu-160 heavy bombers or two Tu-160s and an aerial tanker. The third aircraft, an additional White Swan reversed back to base during midcourse over the Atlantic.
The media hyped at the deployment of these two aircraft as these aircraft have nuclear capability and could pose a serious threat to US mainland from the Caribbean.
The Tu-160 aircraft from Russia has previously taken part in missions from Russia over skies of Syria. One reported attack mission by this aircraft was reported back on November 17th, 2015 in Syria when it attacked the ISIL targets. During the attack, Russian 3M-54 Kalibur cruise missiles were launched at standoff range.
Watch the video of these aircraft arriving at the Venezuelan base down below.