19 September 2020. RT: Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers have spent more than 25 hours in the air and covered over 20,000 kilometers, setting the world record for non-stop flight range and duration for this type of aircraft, the Defense Ministry said.
“Nobody has flown this type of aircraft longer,” Sergey Kobylash, the commander of Russia’s long-range aviation, said.
The record, which was set on Saturday, saw two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers (NATO reporting name: ‘Blackjack’) “staying in the air for more than 25 hours and covering the distance of over 20,000 kilometers (12,427 miles),” the commander added.
The landmark flight took place above the neutral waters of the Arctic and Pacific Oceans as well as Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi and Barents Seas and was performed in full compliance with the international rule of airspace use, he pointed out.
The Tu-160s refueled three times in the air during their mission, which required six Il-78 tanker planes to be lifted in the sky. At some points along their route, the bombers were escorted by Russia’s Su-35 fighter jets as well as “aircraft of foreign states,” Kobylash said.
The previous record was also set by Tu-160s, which spent 24 hours and 24 minutes in the air back in 2010. As for passenger aircraft, Qantas Airlines flight from New York to Sydney last year is considered to be the longest as it saw a Boeing 787-9 with 49 people aboard staying the air for 19 hours and 15 minutes and covering the distance of 16,200 kilometers (around 10,066 miles.)