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Putin’s Nightmare in Ukraine: The Russian Air Force Looks Like a Joke

Su-57. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

On day 257 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military is still on the retreat as the Ukrainian military is advancing across the battlefield. Moreover, the Russian air forces have been singled out for their ineffectiveness and large casualties in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian forces are very much on the counteroffensive, liberating settlements every day.

Russian Aircraft Casualties in Ukraine

The Russian Aerospace Forces have been conspicuous in their ineffectiveness throughout the war so far. Despite having a qualitative and quantitative advantage over the Ukrainian Air Force when the war began back in February, the Russian Aerospace Forces have failed to achieve air superiority and have lost scores of aircraft.

Last week, the Ukrainian top general, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, stated that the Russian military has lost more than double the number of aircraft it lost during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. During the ten-year war, the Soviet military lost 119 aircraft. The Ukrainians are now claiming to have shot down more than 270 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets. In addition, the Ukrainian military claims to have shot down 260 attack and transport helicopters.

Although the British Military Intelligence conceded that it cannot independently verify the official Ukrainian claims, it assessed in its latest estimate of the war that “Russia’s continued lack of air superiority is likely exacerbated by poor training, loss of experienced crews, and heightened risks of conducting close air support in dense air defence zones.”

“This is unlikely to change in the next few months. Russia’s aircraft losses likely significantly outstrip their capacity to manufacture new airframes. The time required for the training of competent pilots further reduces Russia’s ability to regenerate combat air capability,” the British Military Intelligence added.

Regardless of the number of aircraft that the Russian Aerospace Forces have lost in Ukraine, its effectiveness has largely been hamstrung by the Ukrainian air defenses, which are only getting stronger by the day as the U.S and NATO continue to supply Kyiv with advanced anti-aircraft systems.

Indeed, the Russian fighter and bomber jets are only acting as vehicles for cruise missiles, which they fire from extended ranges in order to avoid being shot down.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

The Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties that can’t be sustained over the long term. With every passing day, the Russian military is becoming increasingly less effective as it loses troops by the hundreds and weapon systems by the scores.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 76,460 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 277 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 260 attack and transport helicopters, 2,771 tanks, 1,782 artillery pieces, 5,630 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 391 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,199 vehicles and fuel tanks, 202 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,472 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 157 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 399 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

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1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.