- Mar 8, 2013
Since the beginning of the invasion, Russians have kept repeating that they had destroyed the Ukrainian air force. In fact, they had claimed on the first day of invasion that UAF had been destroyed. In March 2022., Russian Ministry of Defense again claimed that all Ukrainian aircraft had been destroyed or disabled, and repeated the claim yet again in June. Yet Ukrainian Su-27s bombed Snake Island in May, and Ukrainian Su-27s have been spotted over Donbass in mid-August. During August, Ukrainian MiG-29s had been filmed firing HARM. Russian Defense Ministry claimed to have shot down two Su-25s over Zaporizhzia on August 29. Like Lazarus, Ukrainian air force has risen from the dead time and again, zombified aircraft taking off to haunt the Russians.
Or have they? Rather than Ukrainians using witchcraft to raise their pilots and aircraft from the dead, more likely is that the Ukrainian air force had never been destroyed in the first place. And this has some important lessons for the future.
Before continuing however, I have to note that official kill claims – as so ofteen seen through history – are complete bullshit. If official kill claims were correct, Russians will have destroyed the entire Ukrainian Air Force at least twice over, whereas Russian Air Force would be fielding museum MiG-15s instead of Su-35s. This is simply a product of confusion and fog of war. If fighter shoots a missile at a target and target disappears from the radar, logical assumption is that target had been destroyed – when the most likely outcome was that the target had broken radar contact by diving to the ground and notching the missile. Attacking pilot is then likely to conclude that target had been destroyed.
List of acronyms I had used in the text is located at the end.