Leroy Smith, 26, remained remorseless throughout his trial at the Old Bailey. The jury heard how he had gone on a year-long shooting rampage after escaping from three prison officers by holding one at knife-point.
Judge Richard Lowry told him: "Dreadful crimes must attract dreadful sentences."
Smith, of Wandsworth, south London, shot Constable James Seymour, 31, in the back and his colleague, Constable Simon Carroll, 23, in the leg when they approached him outside a pub in Brixton, south London, in March last year.
He later told his girlfriend: "The buzzards deserved it," and added, "I should've got them good and proper."
She also said that Smith was besotted with his 9mm firearm with an infra-red ray to guide the bullets. He had boasted that police would never catch him, because if anyone got in his way he would shoot them.
After firing at the officers, Smith escaped on a motorbike and fled to America - where he was arrested in connection with another shooting last July.
Smith, who had links with Yardie drug gangs, organised couriers to bring crack cocaine into this country, the court was told. He was also accused of using his gun to frighten off rival drug dealers.
He was on the run when the officers were shot. He had escaped in April 1993 while being transferred from Leicester to Brixton prison after his arrest on gun charges.
Smith was jailed for two years for that escape, 18 years for a firearms offence, and five years for robbery. He was given a 25-year sentence for attempting to murder PC Seymour and 18 years for wounding PC Carroll. The judge ordered all the sentences to run concurrently. Smith denied all the charges.Reuse content