The Russian Air Force suffered heavy wartime losses; rely on retired pilots according to British intelligence

Due to the heavy losses of fighter pilots in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense is now employing retired pilots to operate the fighter jets for aerial combat maneuvers, the UK has revealed. in its latest intelligence update.

He cited the growing death toll among Russian fighter pilots as the reason for the absence of formidable Moscow air power.

Aviation experts have blamed Ukrainian anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Wester, such as the Stinger and Igla, which they say pose a major threat to Russian pilots flying above Kyiv’s skies. And as a result, the VKS, the acronym for the Russian Air Force, has been underperforming because it is forced to operate carefully in a risk [averse] low-flying style, which places their fighter aircraft within the lethal envelope of shoulder-portable air defense systems [MANPADs].

Weighing about 15 kg, portable anti-aircraft missile systems [MANPADs] can hit a target at altitudes up to 4000 or 5000 meters, destroying the enemy aircraft within an integrated multi-layer air defense structure. The United States delivered to the Ukrainian army about 800 Stingers – a type of man-portable air defense system (MANPADS).

Su 25 crushed by MANPAD. Credit: Twitter/@200_zoka

Credit: Twitter/@200_zoka

A pilot of a Russian Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft was recently shot down on June 17 and captured by Ukrainian military forces. He confessed that he was a major in the Russian Air Force who signed with military contractor Wagner. He used commercial GPS devices rather than Russian military navigation equipment. This indicates that Wagner’s fighter jets are older models of the Su-25 and that the Russian Air Force does not supply Wagner with up-to-date avionics equipment.

Russian Su-25 with commercially mounted GPS system. Credit: Twitter/@edward29910100

Moscow’s air power was unable to “achieve complete air superiority” and had “very limited campaign success” due to its strategy of avoiding penetrating within Ukrainian borders, learned the British Ministry of Defence. Some of the underlying causes of its difficulties echo those of the Russian ground forces. “For years, much of Russia’s air combat training has most likely been heavily scripted and designed to impress senior officials, rather than to develop dynamic initiative among aircrews,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said. defense.

Mi-8 transport helicopter shot down by Ukrainian military forces. Credit: Twitter/@oryxspioenkop

The Russian Air Force (RuAF) lost two Su-25 close air support aircraft. Credit: Twitter/@oryxspioenkop

Russian pilots lack modern Western-style air campaign (UK)

While the Moscow Air Force has developed “an impressive list of relatively modern and capable combat aircraft”, it has failed to instill “the institutional culture and skills necessary in its personnel to respond to Russia’s aspiration to deliver a modern, more Western-style air campaign,” British intelligence said. The Russian ground troops, too, are increasingly exhausted; and the Russian troops’ cruise missiles are “burning out” on the battlefield.

Earlier in a separate intelligence update, UK defense and security think tank RUSI called Russia’s air force “anaemic” as it launched tactical air operations in the eastern region of Donbass. The RAF also suffered major losses of aircraft and pilots during the air war, also suffering from a shortage of precision-guided munitions, according to British intelligence.

Credit: Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

The Russian pilots flew slowly and low to evade Ukrainian-supplied man-portable air defense systems such as the Strela, Igla and Stinger. Russian planes were shot down by MANPADS, the longer range air defense systems such as the S-300, Tor, Osa and Tunguska. Since the invasion, the Ukrainian military claims to have destroyed Russian fixed-wing aircraft, Su-25, Su-30 and Su-34 fighter jets as well as the An-26 transport plane with its air defenses on the ground .

Piorun missiles donated to Ukraine by Poland shot down a Russian Mi-24 helicopter. Credit: twitter/@visegrad24

“It’s very likely that the Russian aerospace forces have changed the way they conduct their operations,” reportedly said Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at CNA, a Virginia-based think tank. “Either there is attrition in a significant percentage of Ukrainian air defenses or they are much more careful about how they perform these sorties,” he added.

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