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Ukraine’s top general wants more military aircraft to turn the tide of war

The commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces told Reuters that the Western-made attack aircraft would be a game-changer in the ongoing war with Russia.
A-10 Thunderbolt
An A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft over the skies of Afghanistan in May, 2011. Credit: US Air Force photo/Master Sgt. William Greer.

Ukraine needs more military aircraft for combat operations to support infantry, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, told Reuters in an interview.

Ukraine is awaiting the delivery of Western-made fighter jets to deprive Russia of its air superiority, which prevents the Ukrainian Armed Forces from conducting successful counteroffensive operations.

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According to Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine needs reliable aircraft that could support a counteroffensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and planes that could fire long-range cruise missiles behind the front line to create conditions for a breakthrough.

“I would talk about A-10s as an option if they’ll be given to us. This is not a new machine, but a reliable one that has proven itself in many wars and which has a wide array of weapons for destroying land targets to help the infantry,” Oleksandr Syrskyi said.

Colonel-General Syrskyi noted that the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II planes will provide crucial support to ground troops, as these aircraft are designed to destroy ground targets, such as tanks, artillery, etc. According to Oleksandr Syrskyi, A-10s would allow the Ukrainian Armed Forces to seize the initiative against a well-resourced Russian army.

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Oleksandr Syrskyi added that attack helicopters, such as AH-64 Apache, AH-1 Super Cobra, and UH-60 Black Hawk, can also play an important role.

The American A-10 Thunderbolt is a single-seat, twin-turbofan, straight-wing, subsonic attack aircraft developed by Fairchild Republic for the United States Air Force. A-10s have been in service since 1976. The aircraft is commonly referred to as the “Warthog” or simply “Hog.”

Earlier, Oleksandr Syrsky said that the Russian army’s offensive in Ukraine is failing. He added that Russian forces were continually attacking in several parts of the front, with Ukrainian forces conducting small counterattacks.

“This is an active defense when we are not just sitting on the defensive but constantly counterattacking and switching to the offensive in some directions. And the enemy knows this,” Oleksandr Syrskyi said.

In addition to calls for more aircraft, Ukraine has asked the allies to speed up the supply of artillery ammunition, which some Ukrainian units complain is in short supply, Reuters reported.

While drones are increasingly important on the battlefield, artillery is a staple for both Ukrainian and Russian armies. According to Reuters, Ukraine has to balance the use of shells of different calibers based on available stockpiles.

Despite the near-stalemate along the nearly 1,000 km frontline, Oleksandr Syrskyi, who led the defense of Kyiv in early 2022 and Ukraine’s lightning-fast counteroffensive in the Kharkiv Oblast later that year, told Reuters that future breakthroughs are still possible.

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