Actual Reason Why the Russian Air Force Still Hasn’t Achieved Air Superiority in Ukraine

The Ukrainian defense and the cutting-edge weapons from the West have decimated the Russian Air Force.
Sukhoi Su-30SM in flight

The Russian Air Force hasn’t managed to take control of Ukraine’s skies despite operating one of the world’s largest air forces.

It has gone against all odds… experts from all over the world agreed that it was only a matter of a few days until the Russian Air Force would prevail over the airspace of Ukraine.

However, with the USA’s support and despite having a significantly smaller air force, Ukrainian Air Force is still flying and destroying Russian aircraft.

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The Russian Air Force has a weak military strategy

Soviet MiG-29 aircraft flying in formation
Soviet MiG-29 aircraft flying in formation by picryl.com. Public Domain

Air supremacy is one of the cornerstones of all modern warfare, given that it safeguards the advance of troops on the ground and it strongly limits the movement of enemy forces.

And for the Russian Air Force, the destruction of Ukrainian air defenses was the obvious move to secure air supremacy… but that didn’t happen.

Some experts claim that Russia intended to capture Ukraine and incorporate it into Russian Federation – and destroying everything would mean reinvesting in building it all over again.

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At the same time, some reports suggest that there is considerable fear among Russian military leaders of suffering heavy losses of their costly aircraft, many of which are in short supply and cannot be replaced in the short or medium term.

It faces an outstanding Ukrainian defense

Ukrainian special forces infill from a UH-60 Blackhawk
Ukrainian special forces infill from a UH-60 Blackhawk by nara.getarchive.net. Public Domain.

The air resistance of the Ukrainians has been impressive. Actually, a plethora of videos on social media shows Russian fighter jets and helicopters dropping like flies after being hit.

Russia has lost hundreds of aircraft during the invasion of Ukraine and has demonstrated little ability to respond to attacks by a markedly inferior air force.

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This has caused the image of the Russian Air Force to lose credibility, and it no longer appears to be the threat to the West that it once was.

Russian Air Force chaotic logistics and poor training

Russian plane with bombs shot down
Russian plane with bombs shot down by State Emergency Service of Ukraine. Licensed under CC by 4.0

The Russian Air Force lacks the structural capacity to plan, coordinate properly, and fly large-scale missions. As a result, they are failing to dominate the skies in Ukraine.

Russian leaders initially told their pilots they were going to carry out exercises… and then, they were caught by surprise in actual combat situations – and this had a psychological impact since they weren’t ready for war.

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The Ukrainians, by contrast, are fighting for their country, they have a clear purpose, and their morale is quite high, although the face overwhelming odds each day.

Russia has an outdated technology

Sukhoi Su-24 inflight Mishin
Sukhoi Su-24 inflight Mishin by Alexander Mishin. Licensed under CC by 3.0

The Russian Air Force is not overpowering the Ukrainian skies because it relied heavily on the accuracy of missile strikes on air bases in the early stages of the invasion.

But, Russia doesn’t have a large number of laser-guided precision bombs, which would enable them to safely conduct high-altitude strikes.

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As a consequence, they are obliged to fly at low altitudes, which means that they are vulnerable to Ukrainian missile attacks and drones.

Now, they are mainly using dumb bombs, which are not as accurate, and therefore they significantly increase civilian casualties.

The US and NATO are fighting Russia by supplying Ukraine

Stinger Ready
Stinger Ready by John Yountz. Public Domain

A vital factor in this war is Western aid. Ukraine actually had weapons comparable to the Russian ones but in much smaller quantities. 

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So, without the modern weapons provided by the US and the donations from other NATO countries, Ukraine wouldn’t have withstood the invasion for so long.

In fact, the US is planning to give Ukraine a new military aid of at least $40 billion dollars.

And the US has the strategic objective to weaken Russia in such a way that there’s only one military power left that can compete with the USA, China.

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Russia hasn’t been the big threat that its propaganda made it out to be

The failure of the Russian Air Force to gain air supremacy so far does not mean that it won’t succeed in the future.

Russia could throw everything it has and suddenly start mounting large-scale complex air operations or even open another front in Finland and advance to the west.


Feature image credit: Sukhoi Su-30SM in flight by Alex Beltyukov. Licensed under CC by 3.0

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