In the above video, from RT, you can see 2 transporter-erector-launchers (TELs) with 4 missiles each and the accompanying radar-electronics vehicle being off-loaded from an An-124 of the kind that was sent to Venezuela. If this amount of air defences has been sent to that country, it would represent half of the shipment that Syria received this year, enough to instill due respect in the Pentagon. More equipment may come at any time.
Western headlines announced that Russia has sent 2 nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela on Monday Dec 10. They were actually missile carriers and they are back home in Mother Russia now, which is odd. So what were they doing there for such a brief space of time? No one in the news anywhere asked this obvious question.
But let’s examine the news coverage. All the major US news outlets focused on the 2 bombers (actually missile carriers) that were sent to South America but mentioned only in passing the other two planes that accompanied them. There was no speculation as to the possible purpose of these 2 “accompanying” aircraft. My question is: were they just accompanying the bombers or did they have a separate purpose?
NBC News offers no clues:
“It [the Russian ministry] added that a heavy-lift An-124 Ruslan cargo plane and an Il-62 passenger plane accompanied the bombers to Maiquetia.”
“The ministry said a heavy-lift An-124 Ruslan cargo plane and an Il-62 passenger plane accompanied the bombers to Maiquetia.”
CBS reported similarly but added:
MOSCOW -- The Kremlin has rejected U.S. criticism of Russian strategic bombers' deployment to Venezuela. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded to Monday's arrival of a pair of Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers in Venezuela by tweeting that "the Russian and Venezuelan people should see this for what it is: two corrupt governments squandering public funds, and squelching liberty and freedom while their people suffer."
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed Pompeo's comment as "undiplomatic" and "inappropriate." He told reporters Tuesday that such criticism sounds odd from a country "half of whose military budget would be enough to feed the whole of Africa."
Germany’s DW issued almost a carbon copy of the US media coverage – or rather non-coverage.
Russia’s RT did not do any better. All reports stressed the fact that 2 nuclear capable war planes were sent and barely mentioned in passing the other two planes.
Peskov hit the nail on the head, BTW. This comment by Pompei was very stupid coming from the nation that specializes in killing civilians abroad and has chalked up hundreds of thousands of casualties since the Bush wars. But, of course, Peskov offered no details on the purpose of the other two aircraft.
None of the reports or official statements on the Russian or US side mention it, but as we reported here, Trump has been threatening for quite some time to invade Venezuela, which means this Russian move is anything but a waste of money. After all, if Venezuela is poor, then why is the US imposing sanctions on the country that make it even poorer? This point was never made in any media, either Western or Russian, that we examined.
Even the Saker only translated a Russian commentator discussing the US hysteria over the 2 bombers landing within striking distance of the US. He too missed an important point.
And what did they all miss – both alt-media and msm of both Russia and the West?
Why they missed the presence of the An-124. And why is that important? Because this plane, one of the biggest transport planes in the world, is of no defensive value whatsoever to the Venezuelan military, and you would think some journalist somewhere, would have done some investigating into this fact and asked the obvious question: why was it sent? I mean, if you want to accompany a big bomber like the Tu-160s, then the obvious choice is not a lumbering transporter but an agile fighter jet to protect it.
I do not pretend to be clairvoyant, or to have special powers enabling me to see behind the news. On the other hand, I have a very suspicious mind and I remembered that the S-300 system was sent to Syria in An-124s (see above video). I also note that all of four aircraft were sent to Venezuela, one of which was an Il-62. I further note that An-124s and Il-62s both participated in the shipment of the S-300 air defences to Syria. Since the Il-62 is a passenger plane, we might suppose that it transported the air defence/EW specialists to that destination. (These details on the aircraft used to ship the S-300s to Syria were provided by janes.com at the time). According to aerotime.aero, “hundreds” of Russian pilots were sent, presumably in the Il-62. But that makes no sense. You would not need hundreds of pilots for just 4 planes. But if the shipment in the An-124 had been air defence and/or EW equipment, then that many technicians would make sense. Assuming they stayed behind, you could conceivably need, say, 20-25 or more technicians setting up and manning these systems in 3 shifts per day plus several more to step in on holidays.
In addition to this air defence system, Syria also received electronic warfare (EW) equipment. And it was this EW system that put the fear of the Lord into the Israelis, who stopped or at least greatly curtailed their attacks on Syrian soil. While at least one Israeli attack has been reported since then, it was accomplished by means of SAMs and did not involve any aircraft, as had been the case prior to that. Israel was not risking losing any more fighter jets to Syrian missiles and understood Shoigu’s warning, following the shipment, that the satellite navigation, on-board radar and communications of any enemy aircraft participating in an attack on Syria from the West would be disabled.
So since the An-124 accompanying the transfer of aircraft to Venezuela could serve no other purpose than to transport large shipments of gear, is it not reasonable to speculate that Venezuela now has in its possession an air defence (S-300 or higher) capable of downing one of those planes that Trump had threatened to invade Venezuela with, and that Russian specialists in air defence and EW are deployed there as well? What if the attackers are stealth aircraft? Russia has variously claimed the ability to “see” stealth fighters, and as we reported here, Russia has been working for years on a quantum radar system that could indeed visibilise stealth aircraft.
The fact that the Tu-160 bombers are now back in Russia is a further clue that these bombers may well have been not only a warning to the US but also a smoke screen – a very effective one – to hide the fact that Russia has just made Venezuela invulnerable to an invasion from the air.
Not one news outlet or blog mentioned any of this. While I am not a prophet, I do connect dots. So let’s see what materializes in the future. For example, if Trump suddenly falls silent over his possible response to the Venezuela situation, that could be a clue. Or perhaps another An-124 will fly to Venezuela -- a dead give-away. It is entirely possible that the Russian MoD has already warned the US that it has deployed the latest EW and air defences in Venezuela, and the msm are not privy to this information. Neither the US nor the Russian government have any particular interest in this being bruited to the world. The Russians give the US a chance to save face when possible.
Finally, to address US officials’ amateurish criticism of the Soviet-era Tu-160, an article in versia.ru Of 12-17-2018 points out that the Tu-160 missile carrier is being constantly updated and is not the worn-out relic it is portrayed as in US media and officialdom. It states [our translation]:
“The Tu-160 will become a full-fledged reconnaissance aircraft, and in addition, modern radar systems will allow it to detect subtle fighters of NATO countries at long distances. It is not excluded that the capabilities of the Tu-160 as a strategic bomber will increase as well - "smart" missile weapons capable of hitting targets from a greater distance beyond the limits of modern air defence systems will be installed on board.”
In other words, if the above-described development happens soon enough, then should Trump decide to invade Venezuela, his attack aircraft may be spotted even at a long distance away from the Venezuelan borders and shot down on arrival. And we now know that Russian military development proceeds at a staggering pace.
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