Russia could deploy bombers in Latin America, North Africa: reportJuly 24th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, July 24 (RIA Novosti) Russian strategic bombers may soon be deployed at airbases in Cuba, Venezuela and Algeria as a response to the US missile shield in Europe and NATO’s expansion, Russian daily Izvestia reported Thursday. Moscow has strongly opposed the possible US deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying tracking radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its security. Washington says the defence is needed to deter a possible strike by Iran, or other “rogue” states.
Moscow has also expressed concern over NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders and pledged to take “appropriate measures” to counter the US and NATO moves.
Izvestia cited sources in the Russian defence ministry as saying that crews of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers recently visited Cuba and conducted an inspection of a site and facilities for a possible forward landing airfield that could be used as a refuelling stopover for Russian strategic bombers.
Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by the then president Vladimir Putin.
At present the Russian military is considering the possibility of establishing so-called “jump-up” bases in various regions of the world to provide refuelling and maintenance support for the patrolling bombers.
“The flight to the US (from southern Russia where the bombers are based) takes about 10 hours and even with two mid-air refuellings the aircraft can spend only one and a half hours near the US coast,” said Pyotr Deinekin, former commander of the Russian Air Force.
The use of forward landing airfields in Latin America would practically remove the time constraints for the Russian bombers and make their presence near the US borders almost permanent, he said.
If a political decision is made, Cuba will most likely host Russian Il-78 aerial tankers, which will provide nuclear-capable strategic bombers with mid-air refuelling, sources in the defence ministry told Izvestia.
Both Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers have been recently modernized and fitted with new X-555 cruise missiles with a range of over 3,500 km. The bombers do not have to be permanently based near the US borders to hit any target on US territory in case of a potential conflict.
However, another Russian publication, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, said Thursday that the ambitious plans of Russian politicians and some military commanders may be nothing more than “sabre-rattling in empty air”.
The prospect of maintaining refuelling posts for Russian bombers all over the world would require an enormous amount of investment in construction of infrastructure, fuel supplies and re-supplies.
The Russian defence budget simply does not have sufficient resources to ensure the implementation of these plans, the newspaper said.
Russian bombers with nuclear missiles on board policing the globe would only harm Russia’s image in the international arena, and it is unlikely that their presence near the US borders will scare the Americans.
The US military consider long-range bombers an obsolete and highly vulnerable component of the nuclear triad. The Pentagon stopped strategic bomber patrols almost two decades ago.
- Russian military chief visits US - Jul 10, 2012
- Putin, Obama agree to continue missile talks - Jun 19, 2012
- Russia could deploy unmanned bomber after 2040 - Aug 03, 2012
- 'Russia has no business in NATO missile defence' - May 23, 2012
- US missile defence plans hinder new arms cuts: Russia - Jun 30, 2012
- Russia may boost nuclear potential: Minister - Feb 06, 2012
- Russia will counter US missile defence: Medvedev - Feb 22, 2012
- Medvedev, Obama to discuss missile defence - Nov 11, 2011
- Russia outlines its vision of European missile shield - Apr 29, 2011
- N-armed Pakistan, Iran threat to Russia - May 04, 2012
- US ready to provide Russia with missile shield details - Nov 21, 2011
- US, Russia to continue missile defence talks - Aug 09, 2011
- US vows to go ahead with missile shield - May 11, 2012
- Russia needs defence research body: NATO envoy - Nov 17, 2011
- Russia, US may not agree on missile defence in Obama's tenure: US envoy - May 28, 2011
Tags: africa report, airbases, arctic oceans, defence ministry, interceptor missiles, izvestia, nato moves, political decision, president vladimir putin, ria novosti, rogue states, russian air force, russian bombers, russian defence, russian strategic bombers, southern russia, time constraints, tu 160 blackjack, us missile shield, vladimir putin