Russia is to carry out live fire exercises with all of its cruise missiles for the first time since 1984, the country's air force has announced.
The operations will take place in the far north of the country - within the Arctic circle - and last until October 12 .
With Russia and the West suffering poor relations recently, the tests might be seen as a way for the Kremlin to flex its muscles.
Western countries angrily rebuked Russia when it invaded Georgia in August, while Moscow has been enraged by attempts to expand Nato to Russian borders and place a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.
The exercises are part of the Stability-2008 strategic manoeuvres in Russia and Belarus aimed at practising defences against any threats near the Russian border.
"During these exercises, for the first time in many years, the crews of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers will fly missions carrying the maximum combat payload and fire all the cruise missiles on board," said Lt Col Vladimir Drik said.
The Blackjack aircraft can carry six 12 Kh-55 long-range cruise missiles, while the Bear-H aircraft can carry 12 of the bombs.
"The number and variety of aircraft involved in the drills shows the wide range of tasks that will be accomplished during the week-long exercise," Lt Col Drik said.
Source: telegraph.co.uk Tuesday 07 Oct 2008 - Russia plans biggest missile test for 24 years
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