According to America’s top Air Force commander in Europe, Ukraine has shot down at least 70 Russian aircraft since the invasion began. Despite a massive advantage in manpower, fighter aircraft, and air defense systems, Russia has only managed to down 60 of Ukraine’s military aircraft in the same amount of time.
On March 6, General James B. Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa and NATO’s Allied Air Command, spoke at the Air & Space Forces Symposium, offering some unique insights into Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“[Russia has] downed over 60 Ukrainian aircraft. Ukraine’s downed over 70 Russian aircraft,” Hecker told the audience. “So both of their integrated air and missile defense, especially when you’re talking about going against aircraft, they’ve been very effective. And that’s why they’re not flying over one another’s country.”
Russia’s failure to secure air supremacy over Ukraine at the onset of the invasion drew a great deal of speculation last year, as it seemed to be a significant strategic failure that left Russian ground forces open to aerial attack from Ukraine’s small and dated air force, as well as from a variety of slow-moving drones. Sandboxx News’ analysis of Russian warfare doctrine suggests that this wasn’t a failure of tactics, so much as strategy, as Russia has long based its approach to combat on the idea of a conflict with NATO.
Because of the combined airborne might of NATO, and particularly the United States, Russia’s doctrine suggests that establishing air supremacy will likely not be feasible. Therefore, Russia instead employs its tactical aircraft as a sort of airborne artillery, supporting the advance of ground troops, but then abandoning captured airspace once it’s no longer necessary for immediate goals.
Russian air defense systems like the S-300 and S-400 are widely touted as among the best in the world, but their performance in Ukraine and elsewhere has led many to question Russian claims regarding their effectiveness. However, these systems have clearly proven effective enough to bring down dozens of aircraft throughout the conflict.
“Russian, as well as the Ukrainian, success in integrated air and missile defense have made much of those aircraft worthless,” Hecker said.
Read more from Sandboxx News
- How Russia’s warfare doctrine is failing in Ukraine
- Russia’s focus on perception is costing them the skies over Ukraine
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- UK intelligence says Russia’s Su-57 is involved in Ukraine war
- Infighting between the Wagner Group and the Russian military reaches new levels