Ukrainian pilot tells about the overwhelming superiority of the Russian air force

Juice during a sortie on a MiG 29 fighter
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According to the Ukrainian MiG-29 pilot, the Russian Air Force has improved its tactics throughout the course of the conflict and still has the upper hand in terms of firepower.

“After learning from their mistakes in the beginning of the war, the Russian Air Force is now making far more strategic decisions. With the help of A-50 aircraft and command aircraft, they often send out fighter patrols. Observational aircraft type Il-20 “,

“Juice,” a Ukrainian MiG-29 jet pilot, was quoted on December 16 by the military news outlet War Zone.

The Il-20 electronic intelligence and reconnaissance aircraft’s sophisticated sensor array allows for high-resolution topographical reconnaissance using radar, making it a major reason for concern for the Ukrainian government.

The Il-20’s ability to listen in on conversations and pinpoint distant adversary radar emitters is a result of its radio data collecting technology.

The Il-22PP has been updated with jammer technology to counter anti-aircraft radars. In addition to Su-34 bombers with jamming and electronic intelligence complexes, Su-24MR reconnaissance aircraft, and Mi-8 helicopters with the Rychag-AV complex, this is part of Russia’s formidable electronic warfare capability.

“They operate almost 24/7, always putting the Ukrainian air defense forces in danger. The main threat to us is the Su-35S heavy fighter on patrol duty. It does not only carry missiles. 

“We’ll use the anti-aircraft missile, the Kh-31 anti-radar missile, and the Khibiny jamming system to stop air defence complexes from working,” Juice said.

A report from the Royal United Services Research Institute (RUSI) in London said that the Russian Air Force (VKS) is putting two MiG fighters in each of the eight combat airspaces over Ukraine. -31BM or Su-35S is on patrol all the time.

Russian Su-35S fighters carrying R-37M and Kh-31P missiles fight in Ukraine
Russian Su-35S fighters carrying R-37M and Kh-31P missiles fight in Ukraine

Since the middle of the year, the R-37M long-range surface-to-air missile has been standard equipment for both MiG-31BM and Su-35S squadrons.

Based on information provided by the manufacturer, the R-37M missile is over 4 metres in length, approximately 0.4 metres in diameter, weighs 510 kilogrammes, and can travel up to 200 kilometres.

Other reports, however, claim that the R-37M has a range of up to 300 km and has successfully hit targets at a distance of 304 km during testing. The missile’s radar seeker is active, so it may find its target after launch without any intervention from the pilot.

“It is extremely dangerous. Fortunately, we understand Russia’s tactics and have developed plans to avoid confrontation with this type of missile.

Unfortunately, it severely hampers our efficiency in carrying out the task at hand. In the air, things are extremely complicated and dangerous. “If the rocket comes and you don’t realise it’s coming, your fate is already sealed,” Juice said.

The Ukrainian pilots weren’t just up against the Russian air force, but also the private security troops of Wagner. Wagner pilots don’t have to worry about following safety procedures like staying out of our air defence zone’s deeper levels.

Constantly volunteering for dangerous missions on the spur of the moment. Juice added, “Very closely.”

While the Russian air defence has become more cautious in response to the introduction of the HARM anti-radar missile into the Ukrainian air force, this is still a serious opponent of Ukrainian pilots.

Since any passing plane poses a threat to air defence batteries, the radar is frequently disabled. Yet, Russia’s air defences are extensive and well-organized. They have to stop using it.

Tracking targets from multiple directions at once using radar in one direction. The Ukrainian pilot noted that “complexes like Pantsir also have an electro-optical radio, which allows them to combat without radar.”

Although HARM missiles make Ukrainian aircraft safer during operations, Russian air defence is still a significant impediment, as admitted by Juice. It’s always risky out there, the pilot said frankly.

Russia’s military appears to be boosting the number of planes stationed in Crimea. Nonetheless, several air defence sites meant to protect Crimea from afar have been lost as a result of the evacuation of soldiers from the city of Kherson.

Based on information gathered from open sources by the Ukrainian government, it appears that Russia has sent two additional Su-35S squadrons, one Su-30SM squadron, and one Su-34 unit to the region.

Though it’s not expected to happen anytime soon, Juice acknowledged that there is some cause for concern regarding Russia’s ability to recover damaged units.

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