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ISW: Russia ready to risk aviation losses to advance in Avdiivka direction

Previous Russian aircraft losses have prompted Russian forces to temporarily decrease aviation activity throughout Ukraine, according to ISW. However, ISW said that the “15 aircraft and skilled pilots lost in two weeks are not negligible for Russia” given the estimated total of 300 Sukhoi aircraft in its airbase.
Ukrainian Intel: downed Russian A-50 radar plane cost $ 350 million
Russian A-50U AWACS aircraft. Photo: Wikipedia
ISW: Russia ready to risk aviation losses to advance in Avdiivka direction

Russian forces are willing to risk further aviation losses in order to achieve “tactical advantages” on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on 2 March.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces have shot down 15 Russian aircraft since 17 February. On 23 February, Ukraine’s Air Forces reported the downing of the third Russian A-50 long-range radar surveillance aircraft.

Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said Russian forces had not deployed A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft over the Sea of Azov for the past six days following the destruction of an A-50 aircraft on 23 February. He also said that “the absence of A-50 aircraft forces Russian Su-34 and Su-35 aircraft to fly closer to their targets to conduct strikes.”

“Previous Russian aircraft losses have prompted Russian forces to decrease aviation activity throughout Ukraine temporarily, but the increased rate of Russian aviation losses in Ukraine in the past weeks has yet to prompt Russian forces to decrease tactical aviation activity significantly,” analysts believe. ISW estimates say, “Russian forces temporarily established limited and localized air superiority during the final days of the Russian seizure of Avdiivka.”

“Russian forces are likely attempting to reestablish this limited and localized air superiority to support tactical Russian advances in the Avdiivka direction,” the report says. ISW also reported that the Russian military has decided that continued offensive operations with air support outweigh the risk of losing more aircraft

According to ISW estimates, losing 15 aircraft and possibly several highly skilled pilots over two weeks is not “negligible” for the Russian army, which likely has about 300 ‘Sukhoi’ fighters.

The latest data from Ukraine’s military showed that Russia has lost 347 aircraft since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

The Russian forces use the A-50 to guide attacks of their strike aircraft, detect Ukrainian planes and missile attacks in the sky, and transmit radio signals from troops on the front line to headquarters in the rear.

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