A Russian Sukhoi jet destroyed in Ukraine.

Russia’s inability to achieve air superiority is one of the biggest surprises of the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s air force has been unable to ground Ukrainian aircraft or overcome Ukrainian air defenses.
That’s surprising because they use some of the same equipment, Gen. Charles Brown Jr. said Wednesday.

The Russian air force’s failure to gain control of the air over Ukraine and its struggles to operate effectively against Ukrainian air defenses are among the biggest surprises in the four-month war.

Russia’s failure to ground Ukraine’s aircraft and to overcome Ukrainian anti-aircraft weapons contributed to the faltering of Moscow’s initial ground offensive — an unusual outcome because the Russians themselves use many of the same weapons, according to Gen. Charles Brown Jr., the chief of staff of the US Air Force.

“I think for me it’s surprising for the Russians because the systems they’re going against are their own systems. They should know them fairly well and how to defeat them,” Brown said Wednesday at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Washington DC.

“It kind of begs a real question for me: How come they don’t understand their own systems and how they might defeat their own systems?” Brown added.

The tail section of a destroyed Russian Su-25 attack aircraft on display at a military museum in Kyiv, May 2, 2022.

Like other former Soviet republics, Ukraine still uses Soviet-origin military hardware. Among its fixed-wing fleet are Su-24 and Su-25 attack aircraft and MiG-29 and Su-27 fighter jets.

The Russian military operates upgraded versions of those jets as well as more advanced fighter and attack jets, many of which were deployed near Ukraine’s borders prior to Russia’s attack on February 24.

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Ukraine also operates Soviet- or Russian-origin air-defense systems and missiles, some of which were donated by neighboring countries. It’s also used S-300 air defense systems developed by the USSR, for example, to shoot-down Russian aircraft with missiles, systems whose vulnerabilities should be well known to Russian mission planners and pilots. Ukrainians have also captured Russian anti-aircraft weapons.

Like the Soviet-made aircraft operated by some NATO member militaries, Ukraine’s jets and helicopters are aging and finding spare parts and expertise to keep them in operation has grown harder as time passes and tensions have risen.

Ukrainians have repeatedly asked the US and others to provide advanced Western-made fighter jets, but those countries have declined due to concerns about escalation with Russia and doubts about Ukraine’s ability to use them effectively.

A Ukrainian pilot exits a MiG-29 at an airbase outside of Kyiv, November 23, 2016.

The absence of large-scale Russian air operations in Ukraine perplexed observers and led analysts to conclude that Russia’s air force was not as capable as believed. Russian forces’ failure to suppress and destroy Ukrainian air defenses was also seen as a major shortcoming — and has reduced the …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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