A submarine-launched ballistic missile has made a record flight, hitting a target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, Russian officials said Saturday.

President Dmitry Medvedev witnessed the test, part of naval exercises being staged in the northern Barents Sea.

Russian TV showed what it said was the Sineva missile launching from the submarine Tula. Medvedev said Saturday it flew more than 7,100 miles into the Pacific near the equator.

Medvedev also was quoted by Russian news agencies as ordering naval officials to begin building new aircraft carriers.

A Russian flotilla is heading to the Caribbean Sea for joint exercises with Venezuela — the largest such Russian deployment to the Western Hemisphere since the Cold War.