Why did Russia’s superior air force fail to conquer Ukraine’s skies?

As Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border, analysts predict an explosive air attack will pave the way for Moscow’s ground forces to quickly capture strategically important areas. of the besieged country.

But the first week of the invasion “disturbed those expectations and instead, Moscow acted much more cleverly with its air power”. Reuters reported. In spite of “completely superior to the Russian armyThe news agency said that the Ukrainian air force “is still flying and its air defense system is still considered viable” – “a fact that is baffling military experts”.

‘The mysterious case of the missing air force’

The Russian Air Force (VVS) has “about 300 modern fighters” stationed throughout the region that are “ready to attack” the neighboring Eastern European country, walkie talkie reported.

So the relatively low performance of the Russian air force in the ongoing conflict confuses many “experts”, Reuters reported. US officials are struggling to “explain what is driving Russia’s apparent risk-averse behavior”.

Justin Bronk, a London-based air energy researcher American Institute of the Royal Service think tank (RUSI), was also puzzled by what he described as the “mysterious case of the missing Russian air force”.

Bronk wrote: “The logical and widely anticipated next step, as seen in most military conflicts since 1938,” follows Russia’s “preparatory attacks” against Russia. targets Ukraine, as a “reasonable and widely anticipated next step, as seen in most military conflicts since 1938”, is that the VVS will “organize large-scale offensive operations large” To destroy the enemy air force.

Instead, Moscow “launched a military operation” at huge cost with maximum goals“while ‘refused to use the majority of its fixed-wing fighters,'” he continued.

This allowed the Ukrainians to “continue to conduct low-level defensive and ground counter-attacks,” which “was a major morale booster that underpinned the extraordinary united resistance on the ground.” across the country”.

‘Plan accordingly’

The West’s perception of the possibility of air attacks “may have been colored by the unusual circumstances of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, where allied air forces did not encounter them.” What serious objections,” said The Telegraph.

Andy Netherwood, a former Royal Air Force pilot, told the paper that “air is often a contested area as much as land”.

“Russia has been thwarted by complacent and arrogant plans in the airspace as well as on land,” he argued. “The Russian air force has very little recent combat experience outside of Syria.

“You don’t really know how good an air force is until it has to fight. It doesn’t impress. ”

According to RUSI’s Bronk, Russia’s lack of air support in the current conflict can also be attributed to the “limited number of precision-guided weapons (PGMs) that are provided in the air for most aircraft.” combat aircraft unit of the VKS”, according to RUSI’s Bronk.

“During combat operations in Syria, only a limited number of Russian aircraft” regularly use the PMGs, he explained, and even these specialized strike aircraft frequently use them for strikes. bomb and unguided missile attacks”.

“Not only does this indicate very limited familiarity with PGMs by most Russian fighter aircraft crews, but it also reinforces the widely accepted hypothesis that the Russian-operated stockpile of PGMs,” he said. transfer is very limited.”

“Surveillance of Russian air targets” has also been “patched throughout the current campaign,” reported The Telegraph. Satellite images last week showed that while air strikes hit the Ozerne airbase, 62 kilometers west of Kyiv, there were no strikes “on the main airstrip or likely to degrade its capabilities.” continue to use this site of the Ukrainian Air Force.”

The “slow progress of the troops on the ground” may also help explain why “the Russian air force still does not gain complete supremacy over Ukraine despite its numerical superiority.” , speak. Moscow Times.

According to the article, the air defense systems deployed in Kyiv and in other Ukrainian cities are “in good condition”, leaving VVS “to make the difficult choice of launching high-altitude attacks and dangerous massacre civilians, or slow down in danger of being shot down”.

If the Russian army advances as fast as originally plannedthese defenses are most likely destroyed or disabled by this time.

Just the beginning

While VVS has so far maintained an unusually low profile, RUSI’s Bronk warns that it’s “important to remember” that we’re only concerned with “what can be easily turned into a protracted campaign“.

“The fact that there are only a few confirmations of Russian fixed-wing missions over Ukraine should not obscure the fact that the ‘Russian Air Force is a ‘highly destructive force’, possibly ‘. strike air and fixed targets on the ground at short notice in the coming days”.

VVS may also be waiting for “political approval” to deploy “unguided bombs and shells to bombard urban areas administered by Ukraine,” he continued. “This form of indiscriminate air strikes is standard practice for Russian and Syrian Air Force operations over Aleppo and Homs” in Syria and is “likely” to be used on Ukrainian territory “in the coming days.” .

With the Western leaders ordering a Nato-enforced flight ban over the territory of Ukraine, amid concerns about triggering a broader conflictThe fact that the “expected attack” hasn’t happened “doesn’t mean it won’t happen, perhaps soon,” said The Moscow Times.

Russia has stepped up its air attacks in recent days, with besieged Ukrainian cities “heavier bombarded” after Russian commanders faced “violent resistance”. ” after “the shelling of their urban areas”, Guardians reported.

The attack “included attacks on the capital Kyiv and missile attacks in the second city of Kharkiv, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of people,” the newspaper said.

Moscow also deployed a vacuum bomb to destroy a Ukrainian military base in the northeastern town of Okhtyrka, killing 70 soldiers, according to a post on Telegram account of the regional chief Sumy Dmytro Zhyvytskyy.

The use of bombs, also known as thermobaric weapons, may “constitute a war crime” if “used in a civilian environment”, according to Politico. Why did Russia’s superior air force fail to conquer Ukraine’s skies?

Fry Electronics Team

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