Su-35 changes the balance, Kyiv cannot counter – a Ukrainian official
WASHINGTON, US — It is increasingly difficult for Kyiv to counter Russian fighter jets in the sky. The new generation of Russian fighters, especially the Su-35 makes a huge difference in air superiority. An alarming sequence has been observed in the conflict zone – the increasing dominance of the Russian Air Space Force [VKS].
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This is said by a Ukrainian high-ranking official, quoted by the American media ABC News. The Ukrainian official’s statement comes at a very inopportune time for the US. Until a week ago in Washington, the claims were completely different. Western officials argued that Russia could not achieve air superiority. They argued that Russia could not achieve this superiority because of air defenses in Ukraine.
The words of these Western officials that no serious change is visible are in complete contrast to the statement of the Ukrainian official who, unlike his Western colleagues, comes precisely from a war zone.
The main change in the skies above the war zone in Ukraine has come with the arrival of a new generation of Russian fighter jets. BulgarianMilitary.com already reported at the beginning of the year that in 2023 Moscow will use its Su-30, Su-35, and Su-57 fighters much more often and much more. The information arrived unofficially from a Russian representative in the Ministry of Defense of Russia. It was later officially confirmed that a large Su-35 air flotilla was spotted massing at Russian border airfields.
The Su-35 has a very good and effective radar. The Su-35 uses very effective long-range missiles. This is what the Ukrainian high-ranking official told ABC News. Russia has replaced the use of outdated fighters with the use of the Su-35 in the war. Because of this replacement, the Ukrainian official says, Moscow is much more boldly throwing its Su-35s into dogfights, which are winning. Moscow very effectively uses these fighters to support its ground operations.
ABC News quoted its Ukrainian source as saying that what Russia currently has in the way of air dominance is a real risk, and Kyiv cannot counter it. BulgarianMilitary.com has repeatedly analyzed the situation in the air over Ukraine and expresses the opinion of its analysts – Kyiv needs air defense more than fighter jets. A senior Ukrainian official told US media that “air defense by the United States and its allies is currently the ‘#1 priority’ for Ukraine,” confirming our analysis.
However, Ukraine has not given up on the possible provision of combat aircraft. This is exactly what two other Ukrainian officials claimed again to the reporters of the American media. According to them, Russia has 12 times more warplanes in the air than Ukraine, and this is a major problem. “What we keep telling the Americans is that ultimately there is no other solution than to give us [Western] fighter jets,” they said.
Earlier this year, BulgarianMilitary.com reported that there are Ukrainian pilots in the US for training. This news was denied for a long time, but it turned out to be true again. Two Ukrainian pilots are in Arizona, ABC News reconfirms. They are at a military base to participate in combat aircraft simulator training. The main goal is for Washington to determine how long it will take Ukrainian pilots to train to fly Western fighter jets.
Just a day ago, BulgarianMilitary.com reported that France is about to fulfill Ukraine’s request, although not by providing the planes needed by the pilots of the Ukrainian Air Force. It is about a possible transfer of 40 Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighters. France has already retired them from its Air Force, but these aircraft serve the warfighting capabilities of other nations. Greece, the UAE, and Indonesia are lining up as Mirage 2000 suppliers for Ukraine, Intelligence Online’s own investigation claims.
It is hard to believe that the Mirage 2000 will at some point challenge the Su-35 in the air. Especially if it comes to a direct air battle, the French fighters are not able to respond to the maneuvering actions of the Russian pilots. Mirage 2000 cannot be compared with another French flagship – Dassault Rafale. The armament of the Rafale is much different and modern compared to the Mirages.
But according to retired US pilot Colonel Steve Ganyard, sometimes quantity counts. Colonel Ganyard is a consultant for ABC News. He says that in his experience, Russia’s air dominance over the Ukraine war zone could change. “Sometimes quantity can be better than quality,” Ganyard said. Although he did not specifically refer to a possible delivery of the Mirage 2000, his words contrasted sharply with the possibility of Kyiv receiving “some aircraft”.
Against the background of all this, Washington is refusing to provide the requested F-16 fighters to Ukraine for now. Although, Ukraine will actually need the Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen more, because of the better technical characteristics and weapons and the ability to counter the Su-35 more strongly.
Providing the F-16 will require a lot of money from the US. This was realized in the words of one of the Ukrainian representatives quoted by ABC News. Therefore, according to him, when the time for planes comes, the priorities will be discussed. Today, the Ukrainian official says, Kyiv needs air defenses and artillery shells mostly.
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