Russian Air Force begins to fly more sorties, but large-scale air campaign seems unlikely – UK intelligence
The Russian Air Force continues to deploy a similar number of aircraft in support of the Ukraine operation (Photo:Command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine)
The Russian Air Force continues to deploy a similar number of aircraft in support of the Ukraine operation as they have for many months and a large-scale air campaign is unlikely, UK Defense Intelligence wrote in their latest summary on Twitter on Feb.16.
“Russian sortie rates have increased over the last week, following several weeks of quieter activity,” UK experts wrote, adding that air activity remains approximately at the level of the summer of 2022.
The intelligence noted that “overall, Russian air power continues to significantly underperform in the war, constrained by a continued high threat from Ukrainian air defenses and dispersed basing due to the threat of strikes against Russian airfields.”
Russian combat jets operate almost exclusively over Russian-controlled territory, which prevents them from effectively performing their key strike role, the agency added.
“Across Russia, the air force likely maintains a largely intact fleet of approximately 1,500 crewed military aircraft, despite losing over 130 since the start of the invasion,” the experts said.
“However, it is unlikely that the VKS is currently preparing for a dramatically expanded air campaign, as under the current battlefield circumstances it would likely suffer unsustainable aircraft losses,” the report says.
Earlier, the Ukrainian Air Force stated that the Russian military mainly uses remotely controlled aviation, and periodically moves its warplanes between air bases.
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