Sources in Tbilisi state that the Georgian Defense Ministry decided to build two airfields in the villages of Mestia and Chikhareshi. This idea was initiated by US military advisors. The airfields could be used for relocating the Georgian Task Force and receiving warplanes armed with bombs and missiles.
The airfields will make it possible to control Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not ruled out that the Pentagon will use the airfield in the military operation against Iran. The airfields could be used in case the peacekeeping missions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia fail and Georgia starts a military operation against them.
The program will be funded by the US. All constructions will be designed and built by the US military engineering corps. Investment in this project will amount to around $5.5 million. Around one million dollars has already been transferred to a Georgian building company.
The US plans to modernize other military infrastructure in Georgia. For instance, the US military command is not satisfied with the progress of modernization of the Georgian airbase in Marneuli by Turkish specialists. The airfield cannot receive bombers, fighters and transport planes. The US thinks that modernization will not make it possible to use the base efficiently. The agreement on the transit of NATO’s troops via Georgia can only be implemented if the Marneuli base functions properly. Batkuashvili, Georgia’s representative in NATO, holds regular consultations with the chief of the anti-aircraft section of NATO’s investment department. The consultations concern the creation of short-range navigation systems. NATO’s representative is concerned about bureaucratic and technical problems.
Nevertheless, the US seeks to start creating new runways, which would ensure air transit to Afghanistan and Iraq. The US has prepared plans of modernization of the Marneuli base and the deployment of up-to-date navigation systems. In addition, the US plans to launch the regional flight control center. This will make it possible to organize day and night flights. Longer runways will make it possible to receive medium and heavy military-transport planes.
A group of NATO’s experts will visit Marneuli and the Georgian General Staff in late November. The Georgian military hope that they will evaluate the possibility of rearming the Anti-Aircraft Force. Georgian generals also promote the idea of optimizing the control system of the Anti-Aircraft Force. This means that if the Georgian Anti-Aircraft Force receives funds from the US it will be able to intercept and destroy violators of the air border.