The popular meme around the Ukraine conflict is the idea of establishing a ‘no-fly zone’ over the nation…..
First, so far I have not seen any reports of Russian air superiority much less many shots of Russian planes at all…….
My question is if Russia has such a massive air force…..where are they?
The Russian Air Force is ranked third in the world by the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, whose ranking takes into account factors like modernization, logistical support, and attack capabilities. By the numbers, it’s also third, with its current active inventory of about 3,800 aircraft coming in behind only the US Air Force and US Army’s fleets, reports Flying Magazine. So … where is it? It’s the question Reuters is asking after a week in which it says Russia has “act[ed] far more delicately with its air power” than expected, “so much so that US officials can’t exactly explain what’s driving Russia’s apparent risk-averse behavior.”
An unnamed senior US official says it’s believed Russia is only using about 75 aircraft currently, and the RUSI think-tank in London on Monday wrote “the roughly 300 modern combat aircraft … positioned within easy range of the main contact zones in northern, eastern, and southern Ukraine appear to have largely stayed on the ground throughout the first four days of fighting.” Just as perplexing is the fact that Ukraine’s air force is still airborne. As RUSI wrote, as with “almost every military conflict since 1938,” the expectation was that one of Russia’s first steps would be to wipe out Ukraine’s air force and air defenses, but Ukraine’s air force fighter jets are still in play.
RUSI shares a number of possible explanations, among them that what Russia wrought on Aleppo and Homs was the kind of indiscriminate bombing that didn’t seek to minimize civilian casualties; it’s possible the air force could be on deck, waiting for a change in strategy. Foreign Policy flags some perspective from Seth Jones and Philip Wasielewski of the Center for Strategic and International Studies ahead of the invasion, who noted that “the Russian military also has limited experience in coordinating a large number of aircraft that will support the ground attack”—what occurred over Syria and Chechnya “do not compare with the number of sorties that could be required in Ukraine across a front possibly several hundred miles wide.”
Are they waiting until the air power is needed?
Will we see the planes in action soon?
Can the Ukrainian air force handle the possible influx of Russian air force?
Many questions to be answered later as the situation becomes more violent and more destructive.
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