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On paper, Russia’s military prowess implies that with quick land victories, the Russian Air Force should have been able to quickly take control of the skies. At the start of the conflict, Russia’s 1,391 planes against Ukraine’s 132 – supplemented by 948 helicopters against kyiv’s 55 – had yet to give Putin the kind of air dominance needed to wipe out Ukrainian resistance. Russia’s overall defense budget of $45.8 billion is nearly 10 times that of its neighbour.
Experts ranging from former members of the Air Force to government officials believe that Russia’s failure is due to a combination of Moscow’s poor preparation, clever use of resources based on intelligence by Ukraine and targeted arms donations from Western allies to Ukraine.
“As far as I know, they were able to save a lot of their air force by moving the planes from the airfields before the Russians destroyed them, based on intelligence before the attacks,” General Riho said. Terras, former commander of the Estonian army. Defense Forces.
Sophy Antrobus, a research associate at the Freeman Air and Space Institute and a former British Royal Air Force officer, agrees that at the start of the war Ukraine seemed to take some smart moves that are now paying off.
“They were smart in that they didn’t deploy all of their resources that could shoot down the Russian planes. This may have led Russia to a false sense of security, and Ukraine was able to continue to defend her tunes as Allied reinforcements arrive,” she said.
These reinforcements include S-300 anti-aircraft systems, Stingers and Javelin missiles which have been used by Ukraine so far. The presence of such missile systems marks a dramatic upgrade for Ukraine.
Representative Mike McCaul, a senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN that the S-300s, which are Russian-made, have “higher altitude” capability than the S-300s. Stinger missiles, which the United States also sent to Ukraine.
“The S-300s are the high altitude anti-aircraft system – much like our Patriot missile battery. Having them in the country and more coming in will be very effective.” While these missile systems may be effective, there remains a question mark over how long Ukraine can hold off Russia – both in the air and on the ground.
Read the full analysis here.