More than eight months has passed since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War. Since the beginning of this ongoing conflict, Russian Aerospace Forces have been superior than the Ukrainian Air Force, while Ukraine operates old soviet-era jets like the Su-25 and MiG-29s, the Russian Air Force is equipped with a large varieties of advanced fighter aircrafts, such as the Su-30SM, Su-35S, Su-34, Su-57, etc. But still the Russian Air Force has not been able to establish air supremacy in the skies of Ukraine. What are the reasons behind this big failure? Even, western military analysts are now saying that, despite possessing a powerful air force, Russia has not been able to effectively control Ukraine’s airspace, which makes the Ukrainian Army to fully exploit this weakness to counterattack. In this article, i will explain some reasons behind this big failure of the Russian Air Force.
Since Moscow special military operation into its neighboring country, Ukraine in February this year. After facing the Ukrainian Armed Forces for more than 8 months, the Russian Armed Forces are facing a series of big problems on the Ukrainian Battlefield.
Western Military Experts believes that the root cause of all problems being faced by the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine is only one, and that is, the inability of the Russian Air Force to gain control of the skies of Ukraine, in simple words, the failure of the Russian Air Force to establish Air Superiority in the sky of Ukraine is the root cause of all problems.
Not only the Russian Air Force has not been able to establish Air Superiority in Ukraine, but also the Russian Army troops which are fighting on the ground are feeling powerless and helpless against the American-supplied, Ukraine-used HIMARS Rocket Artillery Systems, as well as other long-range weapons aided by the West.
The Russian Armed Forces has not been able to destroy a single unit of the HIMARS Rocket Artillery System, although russian officials has many times claimed to have destroyed the HIMARS, but they have not been able to provide any type of proof to support their claim.
The Russian Army Troops which are fighting on the ground, also did not receive the necessary fire support from the Russian Air Force to prevent the rapid counterattack of the Ukrainian Army. Resulting in more armour destruction and more casualties of the Russian Army.
Recently, the Russian Military carried out a series of missile and suicide drones attacks against Ukrainian Cities.
Although these type of Suicide Drones attacks carried in the famous “Swarming Method” causes heavy damages to the enemy, but these attacks also revealed a very big weakness of the Russian Air Force Attack Strategy, which is now the Russian Air Force have to rely on suicide drones instead of fighter aircrafts.
“The failure of the Russian Air Force to gain air superiority throughout the war, is one of the decisive factors that make Russia lost its advantage,” said Jakub Janovsky, a military analyst from Oryx, an independent analysis group.
When Russia launched the special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, military experts on both sides assumed that Moscow would focus on destroying Ukrainian Air Defense Systems firstly, before launching heavier waves of attacks on Ukraine.
Actually, in the era of modern warfare this type of military operation is called as the SEAD, means Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, in simple words it means the complete destruction of the enemy air defense systems and its associated components.
This type of tactic was used by the most advanced air force of this planet, the United States Air Force, the USAF used this tactic in the wars in Gulf and Libya, this type of operation has greatly helps to protect strike squadrons as well as ground forces.
However, the Russian Armed Forces did not do so, after achieving some initial success in its efforts to attack Ukrainian Air Defense Systems and disrupt the backbone of the country’s command, communication and control systems, the Russian Air Force reduced the frequency of the operations.
The Ukrainian Air Force, despite its early losses, continued its sorties and even engaged in close air combat with Russian Jets.
By the time of the spring season, Russian warplanes were mainly operating in the country’s airspace or over the territories of Ukraine controlled by Moscow, but they did not regularly penetrate deep into the Ukraine airspace to conduct air strikes.
Russian bombers also focused on launching cruise missiles from behind the air defenses on the ground.
Russian Armed Helicopters in Ukraine also operate increasingly after facing heavy losses on the battlefield.
According to military analysts, Ukraine’s ability to defend its air defenses in the early weeks of hostilities allowed it to control much of the country, despite russian air strikes.
While Ukraine’s ground troops were heavily supported by modern western weapons, the country’s air defense forces rely heavily on old soviet-era military equipments that Keiv has operated and improved for more than three decades.
Although the old soviet-era air defense systems used by Keiv to defend the county were outdated but they still proved to be good enough in the war.
Experts says that, Ukraine was able to save its air defense systems from russian attacks by moving them timely to safe locations far from their actual location and then dispersing them.
Also, before the conflict started, US intelligence provided Ukraine with enough information for them to protect their equipments on right time.