• Two Russian Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers have landed in South Africa.
  • The planes, capable of delivering nuclear strikes, the Russian government says it will help develop bilateral military cooperation between the two countries. 
  • President Putin is currently hosting African leaders in Russia a move to win business and restores influence that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Two Russian Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers have landed in South Africa amid ongoing first Russia-Africa summit in Sochi.

Tu-160s 94102 & 94112 touched down Waterkloof, South Africa on Wednesday as African leaders stormed Sochi (a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia), to meet with President Vladimir  Putin on bilateral and economic relations.

The meeting is part of efforts by the Kremlin to win business and restore influence with Africa that faded after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, China has emerged as a top foreign power on the continent with spending spree competing with the U.S,. and the U.K.

Why is President Putin sending military jet bombers to Africa this time?

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation said the purpose of the visit is to "develop bilateral military cooperation and the development of issues of interaction between the Russian Aerospace Forces and the South African Air Force."

Rear end of the Tu-160 as it gears to fly. (reddit)
Rear end of the Tu-160 as it gears to fly. (reddit)

The planes, capable of delivering a nuclear strike, the Russian government said the show was to help increase the combat training of the flight personnel of the two countries.

“Comprehensive friendly relations between Russia and South Africa are built in the spirit of strategic partnership and mutual understanding,” a statement from the Russian defense reads in part.

South African government announces the visit of Tu-160
South African government announces the visit of Tu-160

According to www.militaryfactory.com, the jet is the largest and heaviest Mach 2+ supersonic military aircraft ever built and second only to the XB-70 Valkyrie (The US' nuclear-armed, deep-penetration strategic bomber) in overall length.

Guinness World Records described it as the largest and heaviest combat aircraft, the fastest bomber now in use, and the largest and heaviest variable-sweep wing airplane ever flown.

Russia to double trade in Africa

At the opening speech on Wednesday, President Putin promised to double trade with African countries over the next four to five years. He said the country had written off African debts to the tune of over $20 billion.

President Putin and President Ramaphosa meets in Sochi as Russia Sends 2 Tu-160 Nuclear Bombers to South Africa in a Display of Defense Cooperation.
President Putin and President Ramaphosa meets in Sochi as Russia Sends 2 Tu-160 Nuclear Bombers to South Africa in a Display of Defense Cooperation.
Twitter/@EmbassyofRussia ·

On sidelines of ongoing Russia-Africa Summit, President Muhammadu Buhari and Putin also agreed to start new infrastructure projects, expand trade and investment, security and military cooperation.

President Buhari and Russian President, Vladimir Putin at the ongoing Russia-Africa summit
President Buhari and Russian President, Vladimir Putin at the ongoing Russia-Africa summit
Presidency

Like the Chinese projects, the Russia government has also agreed to support the development of Nigeria’s rail infrastructure by constructing 1,400 kilometers track from Lagos to the South-South city of Calabar.