Russian military has decided to use mass aviation in Ukraine

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Russian military has decided to massively use aviation in Ukraine, a source close to the Ministry of Defense told Important Stories. According to him, Russia still has an indisputable advantage in aviation over the armed forces of Ukraine.

Russian military has decided to use mass aviation in Ukraine
Photo credit: Twitter

According to the interlocutor of the Russian publication, Russia is beginning to change its tactics. During the past year, VSK flights were not frequent, and when they were, they were protected. He believes that planes and helicopters “will be shot down en masse”, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine will still have problems.

Aviation constriction

On February 14, the Financial Times, citing sources, wrote that Russia is redeploying warplanes and helicopters to the border with Ukraine to use them to support the offensive. According to a senior US politician, at a recent meeting with representatives of Ukraine’s allies, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that Russian aviation still poses a serious threat.

“The Russian ground forces are very depleted, that is the main indicator that they will start using aviation,” the source told the FT. According to him, Ukraine should get as many air defense systems and projectiles for them as possible.

At the same time, at a press conference on February 14, Austin said that the US saw no signs of a Russian imminent “massive air strike”. At the same time, the minister noted that Russia has a significant amount of aircraft, and the air defense systems of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are still insufficient.

Will Russia have enough planes and pilots?

Since the outbreak of war, Russia has retained about 80% of its aircraft, a NATO official told the FT. A British intelligence report dated February 16 stated that the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] now have about 1,500 combat aircraft, and losses during the war amount to about 130 units.

Russia sent Su-34M/M2 strike aircraft to Ukraine for testing
Photo credit: Military Watch Magazine

Military analysts explained to Important Stories that Russia has enough aircraft, but most likely a shortage of experienced and qualified pilots.

Military expert Yan Matveev believes that it is precisely the lack of pilots that prevents the Russian army from using aviation more than it does now. “Back in March last year, there was information that insufficiently trained cadets were getting on planes. The VKS may have since stepped up training and after 11 months were able to urgently complete the training of a large batch of crews. But knowing the effectiveness of the Russian army and government, this is doubtful,” says Matveev.

An anonymous military observer of a major international publication explains the lack of experienced pilots also with the fact that the Russian Air Force has not yet conducted operations similar to the one that could in Ukraine. “Perhaps the tactics of suppressing air defenses have been worked out for the scientist, but nothing can replace real combat experience,” the analyst believes.

Will the Ukrainian air defense cope?

An anonymous expert believes that it will be difficult to suppress the Ukrainian air defense against Russian aviation. The APU has medium-range systems: to hide from their radars, the aircraft must fly at a low altitude. In this case, however, they become vulnerable to air defense, such as “Stingers”, the analyst explains.

“For immediate support of troops, aircraft usually operate at low altitude. Where they can be obtained with manual installations,” adds Matveev.

For the Ukrainian military, combat aircraft will be very different from fighting Russian cruise missiles and drones. According to an anonymous expert, on the one hand, missiles and drones can be more difficult targets than aircraft because they can fly fast [missiles] or low [drones]. On the other hand, a fighter jet can perform maneuvers while the missile flies “on a predetermined trajectory, perhaps quite complex, but still more predictable.”

Russia sent Su-34M/M2 strike aircraft to Ukraine for testing
Photo credit:

“Both parties very rarely fly directly over the front line and over enemy territory. This just shows that they are afraid of air defense and it is effective,” said Yan Matveev, a military expert.

Matveev adds that the pilot can use the air defense radar detection system: “The pilot knows when he was spotted and can take the plane out of the affected area. Therefore, of course, the effectiveness of air defense is somewhat reduced.

Both experts note that now both the Russian and Ukrainian armies do not use aircraft far behind the enemy’s front line. “Both sides very rarely fly directly over the front line and over enemy territory. This just shows that they are afraid of air defense and it is effective,” says Matveev.

British intelligence notes that the number of aircraft used by the Russian army has not changed significantly since the summer. Recently, there have been fewer flights for several weeks, but over the past week, the use of aviation has returned to its previous level. The report says that, most likely, Russia will not conduct large-scale operations in the sky, as this will lead to heavy losses.

What about the Russian offensive

In Ukraine, they continue to talk about Russia’s plans to completely seize the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. On February 16, Andrey Yusov, a spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry, said that the military had been given the task of doing this by the end of March. According to him, exacerbations are possible in other areas, but the main goal remains the seizure of territories in the Donbas – to “at least demonstrate something during the year of this shameful war.”

SEAD MiG-25BM could have won the Ukraine war, but Russia retired it
Photo credit: Wikipedia

On February 15, CNN reported, citing sources, that the US, UK, and Ukraine do not believe in the success of the Russian offensive. “It is unlikely that the Russian units will be much better organized, which means it is unlikely that they will achieve much more success. At the same time, they [the Russian military] seem ready to send more troops into this meat grinder,” says a senior British official.

In early February, sources close to the Russian Defense Ministry and the General Staff told Important Stories that the Russian military did not believe in the success of a major offensive.


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