The Ukrainian assault wave continues to advance inexorably into the Donbas and Zaporizhzhia, fracturing the Russian fortifications. The tactical board has changed; the Russian air force takes center stage.
Defense Russia: A Pertinacious and Astute Bastion
The Russian military has erected a cunning and convoluted defense wall. The Russian air force, or Aerospace Forces, has metamorphosed into an essential strategic piece. This aerodynamic intervention marks a change in the war framework.
Russian steel birds, fighter jets and attack helicopters have spread their wings in support of ground forces in Donbas and Zaporizhzhia. British Military Intelligence postulates that this operational increase responds to Ukrainian offensive operations, while the Russian Aerospace Forces seek to assist ground troops through air raids.
Satellite images of the Berdyansk airfield reveal a warlike mobilization; the Russian military has deployed 20 new attack and transport helicopters and established a new cover at the airfield.
The Russian Air Flank: Innovating in the Sky of War
Russian planes have remodeled their flight tactics to survive in the swarm of anti-aircraft systems. Away from low-flying, Russian planes are using remote munitions such as glide bombs and air-to-surface cruise missiles, allowing them to minimize the risk of being shot down.
British Military Intelligence adds that southern Ukraine has become more amenable to Russian air operations compared to other sectors of the front. However, the recent increase in combat sorties does not mean that the Russian air force dominates the battlefield. During the initial stages of the conflict, the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out an average of 300 sorties per day.
In parallel, Russian forces continue to suffer severe casualties on the ground. The number of Russian casualties continued to rise; on the last day, the Russian army, the private military company Wagner Group and pro-Russian separatist forces suffered approximately 700 casualties.
The Cost of Russian Resistance: The Balance Between Defense and Losses
Though ingenious, Russia’s resistance to the Ukrainian offensive exacts a heavy price. The Russian forces have recorded nearly 8,000 casualties in just over a week. This inordinate price tag is tough for a military force that has been dealing with force-building difficulties for months.
In total, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has reported that Ukrainian forces have inflicted approximately 217,330 casualties on Russian soldiers, in addition to destroying a considerable amount of military vehicles and equipment.
Among the annihilated Russian arsenal, 314 combat, attack, bomber and transport aircraft stand out, 300 attack and transport helicopters, 3,942 tanks, 3,783 artillery pieces, 7,653 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 603 systems rocket launchers, 18 ships and cutters, 6,482 vehicles and fuel tanks, 364 anti-aircraft batteries, 3,324 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 516 special equipment platforms, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems. In addition, Ukrainian air defenses have shot down 1,196 cruise missiles.
The Contest for Air Superiority: A Tug of War in the Skies
Despite the Ukrainian siege, Russia has shown the ability of its air forces to adapt to the changing war scenario. Although the advances are perceptible, the predominance of airspace remains in dispute.
Dogfights and the constant need to innovate on the battlefield paint an uncertain picture. The importance of air superiority in this military confrontation is highlighted with each sky conquered.