War in Ukraine – Russian troops cannot achieve air superiority

The inability to consistently apply air power is probably one of the most important factors behind the very limited success of the Russian campaign. It cannot achieve complete air superiority and operates in a risk-averse style, rarely penetrating deep behind Ukrainian lines.

The department stressed that some of the reasons underlying the difficulties repeat the problems of the Russian ground forces.

“Over the years, much of the combat training of the Russian Air Force was most likely carried out according to a rigid scenario and was calculated to impress high-ranking officials, and not to develop a dynamic initiative among the aircrew,” British intelligence suggested.

However, while Russia has an impressive roster of relatively modern and capable combat aircraft, the Air Force has failed to develop the institutional culture and skills needed by its personnel to match Russia’s desire for a modern, Western-style air campaign.

“This has resulted in a larger-than-planned share of the effort being placed on ground troops, which are dwindling, and advanced cruise missiles, which are likely to be running out of supplies,” the statement said.

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