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Ukraine still drastically lacks weapons to defend its airspace, says Ukraine’s Air Force Command

mykolayiv bombed
The Mykolayiv regional state administration was destroyed in a Russian missile strike on 29 March 2022. 20 people died as a result as of 31 March. Photo; state emergency service
Ukraine still drastically lacks weapons to defend its airspace, says Ukraine’s Air Force Command
Article by: Ukraine’s Air Force Command

In a post on Facebook, Ukraine’s Air Force Command stresses that despite statements to the contrary, Ukraine drastically lacks the weapons it needs to defend its airspace in order to win the war against Russia. Ukraine’s requests to western allies to provide air defense has not been met. MANPADS and Javelins are not enough to counter the dominating Russian air force and until Ukraine receives weapons to protect its sky, Russian bombs and cruise missiles will continue to destroy Ukrainian cities and kill civilians. 

Myth: Ukraine’s success on the ground is enough to win.

✔️Reality: Dominance in the air is a decisive factor in this war.

Airspace control has played a vital role in all wars since World War II. Dominance in the air means quick and accurate strikes on enemy troops, logistics centers, and other vital facilities, as well as extremely powerful fire support of its ground and naval forces.

❌Myth: The Ukrainian Air Force has weapons to defend the country effectively.

✔️Reality: Russian aerospace forces are significantly superior to Ukrainian and have access to more modern radars and missile technologies.

The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine cannot completely cover the skies over Ukraine and gain an advantage over Russia in the air. Russian aerospace forces significantly overpower Ukrainian aircraft in number and advanced technologies. Due to this imbalance between the Russian and Ukrainian military forces, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, from the very beginning of the war, urgently asked Western partners to provide more modern fighters and air defense equipment. The Air Force is also suffering losses. Russian troops are destroying more and more equipment, or it is breaking down during operations.

Stingers Ukraine
Stingers from Latvia arrived in Ukraine. 23 Feb 2022. Source

❌Myth: “Stingers” or other MANPADS compensate for the lack of equipment of the Air Force of Ukraine.

✔️Reality: Ukraine needs both fighter jets and medium-range and long-range anti-aircraft missile systems to successfully counter the Russian air force (including cruise missiles) in the sky.

Portable air defense systems, such as the “Stinger,” have a limited range (up to 5 km) and functionality and cannot compensate for the lack of modern medium-range and long-range fighter and anti-aircraft missile systems. Kamikaze UAVs are designed to hit ground targets and cannot withstand Russian planes and missiles.

❌Myth: The United States and NATO provide Ukraine with the necessary weapons. The Allies are doing everything possible except take part in the war.

✔️Reality: To date, our allies have not responded to our call for air defense (fighters and ADMS).

We have not received the weapons we need to protect our skies and achieve victory, except for the already provided short-range portable anti-aircraft missile systems.

Fighters are the most needed in the sky. In these conditions, the Air Force would need an F-15 and F-16 generation 4+, on which Ukrainian pilots will be able to fly after 2-3 weeks of training. Unlike Soviet MiG-29s, these fighters are equipped with the best technology used by the enemy, including modern radars and missiles.

Ground-based air defense systems will be able to prevent airstrikes and missile strikes. Russia has fired more than 1,000 ballistic and cruise missiles and dropped hundreds of tons of unguided bombs on Ukrainian cities and villages. Most of them could be intercepted if the Ukrainian sky was protected by the necessary number of modern air defense systems.

Satellite image of the Mariupol theater bombed out by Russian aircraft on 16 March. Photo by Maxar Technologies, taken on the morning of 19 March 2022.

Currently, Ukraine has S-300 (SA-10) long-range anti-aircraft missile systems and Buk-M1 medium-range missile defense systems. However, these are outdated Soviet-era systems that are much worse than Russian ones, such as the S-400 and others.

Patriot systems (USA) or cheaper and more mobile NASAMS systems (Norway) would be the most effective for protecting Ukrainian airspace. However, in addition, Ukraine could also use the Soviet systems S-300 and Buk-M1, which are also now effective in combating the enemy.

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