The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has been going on from the past 184 days, and i still can’t see any immediate end of this conflict. I thought that the Russian military action against Ukraine would be like the U.S. against Iraq in 2003 but the reality is that the Ukrainian Army has already caused heavy damage to the Russian Armed Forces.
Although Russia claimed that the Russian army is moving slowly towards victory in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian army’s ability to easily attack Zaporozhye, Kherson and Crimea, has revealed several weaknesses of the Russian Army. There is a large gap between the Russian and the United States Army.
In 2003, the United States and Britain attacked Iraq, the United States launched a high-intensity air strike operation on military targets in Iraq on the first day, using advanced equipments including fighter jets, bombers, surface combatants, aircraft carriers, and nuclear attack submarines. Tomahawk missiles and other high-precision missiles were also used in large numbers in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
On the first day of Russia’s military operation against Ukraine, the most heard news was of the land-based Iskander missiles, although there are also fighter jets participating in the war, many of them are old-fashioned fighters such as the Su-24 and Su-25. You must know that the Russian Invasion of Ukraine began after 20 years of the American invasion of Iraq.
Although since then, Russia has begun to invest more on Su-30 and Su-35 fighter jets, but still the intensity of air strikes is not large. The U.S. military operations against Iraq carried more than 1,000 fighter sorties in a single day, plus hundreds of Tomahawk missiles were launched into the battle theater from Arleigh-Burke Class destroyers, Ticonderoga-class cruisers and attack submarines. This massive strength is not comparable to Russia.
Perhaps, at the beginning, the Russian army also wanted to fight a war like the US military in Iraq. However, the number of fighter jets and other associated military equipments of the Russian Military are not equivalent with the United States Military.
Why is the Russian army so low when compared with the United States? To put it clearly, the strength of the Russian Air Force is not enough. When the United States attacked Iraq, the early air power provided long-endurance support for ground operations. If the reconnaissance aircrafts of the USAF could find that there were Iraqi troops within 100 kilometers of the US ground troops, the US military would send bombers to bombard it quickly, then there are A-10sor light fighters for close air support.
The United States Air Force has the ability to carry out long-duration fire support operations that allows the U.S. ground forces to fight smoothly. The Russian Army doesn’t has this type of advantage. Although the Russian air force has carried some bombing operations, in many cases it is not seamless with the ground forces, but goes wherever it finds.
In terms of reconnaissance and sorties, the shortcomings of the Russian army are very obvious. For example, the Ukrainian army was able to launch long-range rockets at Kherson in Nikolayev, and the Russian army was unable to stop these multiple rocket artillery positions in a short period of time, which has exposed the shortcomings of its reconnaissance methods.
In terms of the navy, although Russia also has the capability of long-range ground strikes, the frequency of strikes launched by the Russian military from the sea is not high, and only a few cruise missiles are launched at a time. After all, most of Russia’s surface ships in the Black Sea are frigate-equivalent surface ships, while the US military has 10,000-ton ships in equivalent to these russian surface ships.
The importance of the aircraft carrier is well-known. The aircraft carrier can carry dozens of fighter jets for bombing missions in the war theater.
Just imagine, if Russia has two aircraft carriers near Snake Island, and hundreds of carrier-based aircrafts to block Odessa or attack Odessa, the Ukrainian military targets in Odessa will have been bombed within a week. Out, if Odessa has no air defense capabilities, then the Russian army can continue to rush to Nikolayev, so that things are connected, what else can the Ukrainian army use to threaten Kherson and Crimea.
Therefore, the Russian army also wants to fight a battle like the US military, but its strength is indeed inferior. This strength is particularly prominent in the number of fighter jets and the tonnage of surface ships. Not to mention, there is also a gap between the Su-24 and Su-25 and the US military’s F-16, F-18 and F-15. The Russian Air Force’s modernisation plan still has a way to go. With at least 300-500 Su-35S and more than 100 Su-57 fighter jets, it can truly be said to be capable of fighting like the US military.
Of course, there is still a big difference between Russia fighting with Ukraine and the United States fighting with Iraq. Russia has played very conservatively, and strategic bombers have not been used on the battlefield. At least so far, it has not bombed the high-level command center in Kyiv. The Russian army has this capability. When the U.S. military bombed Iraq, it directly bombed Baghdad indiscriminately, and its collateral damage was much greater than that of Russia’s military operation.
Three major problems are exposed during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War about Russia
First, Russia’s aerial reconnaissance capabilities are very low, and the capture of artillery positions is very untimely, resulting in NATO weapons that can easily enter Ukraine and then be transferred to the front line, which takes a long time to maneuver on the road, but the Russian army did not find it. It seems that the Russian army has a relatively high degree of understanding of the overall situation of the Ukrainian army, but it is seriously insufficient in grasping the detailed information.
To improve reconnaissance methods, Russia needs more UAVs to assist the army to complete, or launch more military satellites. Obviously, long-duration UAVs are cheaper and more operable.
Second, Russia’s sea strike capability is seriously insufficient. It can only rely on a small number of surface ships and underwater submarines to launch cruise missiles on land targets, and most of them fight alone, which gives the land air defense system more time to respond to intercept. It is also very surprising that Russia has not completely paralyzed Ukraine’s air defense capabilities to this day.
Although Russia has an aircraft carrier, this aircraft carrier has been lying in the nest for several years, and it is far from knowing if it wants to restore its combat capability. Although Russia has put forward development plans for the next generation of aircraft carriers many times, they are all concentrated on just models. It can be predicted that Russia may not be able to have aircraft carriers in service in the next ten years, and the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier may not be repaired well. Also may not have actual combat ability.
Third, Russia is still not strong enough in terms of ballistic missile strikes or fighter jets air strikes. In the field of fighter jets, Russia lacks tankers, which makes it difficult for fighter jets to improve their ability to stay in the air, so many moving targets in Ukraine can escape after the first wave of air strikes. The Russian Air Force still needs to improve the continuity of air strikes.
In the field of missiles, although Russia emphasizes sufficient ammunition, it is obvious that the cost of missiles is not low, otherwise the artillery will not be used so intensively, and the output of missiles still needs to be improved.
In addition, it should be noted that the United States attack on Iraq and Russia’s use of force against Ukraine have a background premise that is also worthy of attention. Before the United States used force against Iraq, it had carried out military strikes on targets in Iraq for a long time. By the time the war really started, many Iraqi military targets were already destroyed. Because of the long-term military operations in Iraq, the US military has a better understanding of the situation in Iraq.
And between Russia and Ukraine, there was obviously a direct conflict, and the war spread from Donbass to Sumy, Chernihiv, Nikolayev, Kherson and other places. And now the Russian army has shrunk to the Donbass again, and then began to fight slowly again. It can be seen that Russia is also slowly understanding the battlefield situation and making changes.