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UK intel: Ukraine’s disruption of Russian tactical air likely to force Russia to further disperse aircraft

Ukraine’s April 27 drone strike on Russia’s Kushchevskaya airfield disrupted Russian air operations, likely forcing Russia to disperse its aircraft and reallocate air defenses, impacting its aerial bombardment campaign against Ukraine, per UK intelligence.
Ukrainian drone strike Kushchyovskaya airfield
Geolocated footage of the aftermath of the Ukrainian drone strike at Kushshyovskaya airfield on 27 April. Credit: Dnipro OSINT
UK intel: Ukraine’s disruption of Russian tactical air likely to force Russia to further disperse aircraft

Ukraine’s April 27 successful drone attack on Russia’s Kushchevskaya airfield will likely force Russia to further disperse its aircraft and reallocate air defenses, impeding its aerial bombardment campaign, the British Defense Ministry says in its April 30 intelligence update.

The ministry wrote:

  • On 27 April 2024, Ukraine Interfax stated that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) used Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to strike Kushchevskaya airfield and the Ilsky and Slavyanskoil refineries in Krasnodar Krai. In total, the Russian MOD reportedly downed 66 UAVs, illustrating the scale of the attack.
  • Kushchevskaya airfield hosts a number of Russian fighter jets, including SU-34 FULLBACK and Su-35S FLANKER M. These are used daily in strike missions against Ukrainian frontline positions, including the heavy use of glide bombs. Open source videos show several glide bomb kits destroyed in a storage location at the airfield.
  • Russian fighters, from Kushchevskaya and a number of other airbases, typically conduct 100 to 150 sorties per day, a significant percentage of those launching munitions all along the frontlines as Russia attempts to force breakthroughs through sheer firepower.
  • Ukraine’s ability to disrupt Russian tactical air, particularly glide bomb usage, is key to the wider defence of the frontlines. This successful strike is likely to force further Russian dispersals of fighters as well as reallocation of air defence assets to plug gaps.

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