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Russian Military Expands Ops On VZ Island
New, Extended Runway Is Now 10,500 Feet And Can
Handle The Largest Transport Planes In The World

John W. Spring

Forward - This article is being dedicated to Dr. Bill Deagle, M.D. who had encouraged me to do further research on Venezuela that is related to current Chinese and Russian military activity in the Socialist Latin American nation, which has some of the largest oil reserves in the world.

On December 18, 2018 an article at The WarZone on the Internet written by Joseph Trevithick that he titled "Venezuela Agreed To Let Russia Set Up A Bomber Outpost On This Island ," which reported about La Orchila Island in the Caribbean Sea  becoming a Russian air base at a strategic location. Satellite imagery photographs included with his article as well as from other sources had indicated that an asphalt runway on La Orchila Island had been expanded and also completely refurbished to a length of 3,200 meters or 10,499 feet , which is nearly two miles in length, during the years from 2009 until 2013 by the Russians. In 2018, a Russian official made a statement related to this island air base, which indicated: The arrival of Russia's Tu-160 strategic bombers to Central America..." It should be noted that most Russians know their geography well enough to be able to differentiate or distinguish accurately between Central America and South America.

While Joseph Trevithick reported about this Russian military air base in the Caribbean Sea , his emphasis was mainly upon its capability to accommodate the Tu-160 Blackjack Bomber , which only requires a runway of 2,200 meters or 7,218 feet. However, he did mention that it could also land an Antonov-124 Ruslan heavy military air transport that can carry 150 tons of cargo, which needs an airstrip of only 2,200 meters or 7,218 feet in length for landings and take-offs.

Upon closer examination of satellite photos for the military air base controlled and operated by the Russians on La Orchila Island had also revealed a second airfield under construction that is parallel to the already functioning runway, which will be even longer and wider to accommodate the more advanced and much larger Antonov An-225 Mriya air military transport that requires a runway with a length of at least 3,000 meters or 9,843 feet and a width of 30 meters or 197 feet . But the An-225 really needs an airfield that has a length of 3,500 meters or 11,483 feet , which is over two miles long.

Now that we know that this Russian air base located on La Orchila Island is primarily designed to accommodate the much larger Antonov An-225 Mriya strategic heavy military air transport, why is it so essential for the Kremlin in Moscow?

The answer is for only one reason and that is for the An-225 to be able to land and take-off from La Orchila Island in the Caribbean Sea  as an alternative re-fueling stop-over, if necessary, on its course to Punta Huete Airport in Nicaragua where it would be able to unload its cargo that would probably consist of several fully-integrated mobile missile launchers along with hundreds of Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles or IRBMs armed with Thermonuclear  Warheads , which can be launched from the ground within a matter of minutes after  the currently largest air transports in the world can land at the longest airfield in Central America for the IRBMs to be able to reach and strike at a multitude of targets in all regions of the continental United States .

So when the Russians began expanding and refurbishing the asphalt runway at La Orchila to a length of 3,200 meters or 10,000 feet in 2009, they were also violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF Treaty of 1987 because it was being built specifically for the deployment of Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles to Central America as had been tried earlier by the Soviet Union on Grenada Island in the Caribbean Sea  when U.S. armed forces invaded it in 1983 due to the very long runway being constructed on that island for the landing and take-off of the Antonov An-124 Ruslan giant military air transport that required to stop-over for re-fueling due to its limited range of flight. JWS