Russia will struggle to use its Caribbean bomber base to threaten America
Russia’s movement of nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela generated a media buzz that included new fears of homeland vulnerability and frustration over Russian aggression and escalation. Aside from irritating the U.S., however, the deployment does not strengthen Russia’s position. The Russian Tu-160 bomber is can be easily intercepted by fourth generation F-16s, and even more easily intercepted by fifth generation F-22s and F-35s. The aircraft also requires air-to-air refueling support, unless it first lands in Cuba, and flying air escorts for these aircraft would prove highly costly and unwieldy. Thus, while tracking any further development of Russian air activity and deployment in Venezuela, China’s political involvement in Venezuela is a greater strategic threat to the U.S. homeland.