Russian strategic bombers to visit U.S.

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers will fly to the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, United States, in 2013 under an agreement reached during a recent visit of senior officers from the Russian Long-Range Air Force to the United States, Long-Range Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev said on Tuesday.

Zhikharev made the announcement at a news conference.

"There will also be a return visit in 2013 - two American [Boeing] B-52 strategic bombers will land at our air force base in Engels, Saratov region, in 2013," he said. U.S. officers are due to pay an inspection visit to the Russian base next week, he added.

In comments on the Russian officers' visit to the United States, Zhikharev said: "Our mission had the task of finding out whether our aircraft would be able to visit the U.S., looking at the combat training of American strategic air force pilots, looking at the state of airfields and logistic facilities."

"I think this form of cooperation will develop further," he said.

Asked whether the Tu-95MS bombers, which were manufactured in the 80s, were obsolete, Zhikharev said they would remain in use "for many years."

Citing the United States' B-52 Stratofortress jets, made in the early 50s, he said: "The Americans believe that they will remain in service for another 30 years."

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