A NATO general explains why neither Russia nor Ukraine can achieve air superiority in the war

The Ukrainian war It is carefully scrutinized by the major military powers to draw strategic conclusions in the face of a hypothetical major war scenario. After a year and a half of conflict, the NATO He did his private reading and came to some particularly valuable conclusions. “The most important lesson we have learned is that neither side has been able to achieve air superiority,” the US general said recently. James Hecker, Chief of the US Air Force in Europe and Director of the NATO Joint Air Power Competence Center.

Both Russia and Ukraine had “very good integrated air and missile defense systems,” Hecker said, which prevented “achieving air superiority” over both rivals. The military high command stated that Moscow has advanced air defense systems like that Buk-M3, Pantsir, S-300, S-400 and Tor-M1. The lack of air cover was one of the great surprises of the war, as most analysts assumed that Russia, particularly in the initial stages of the invasion, would be quick to assert air supremacy to consolidate advances, but that was not the case.

In this regard, he stated that NATO’s top priority in relation to air forces is to strengthen the enemy’s Air Denial of Access (A2AD) capability and “make great efforts to improve our capabilities and deploy all allies to this.” to achieve the goal”.

The conflict in Ukraine is driving the Pentagon to focus on tactics rather than strategic-level gambits that have shaped US-Russian military relations in Europe since the late 20th century Cold WarHecker, in a statement quoted by the Air Force Times, said that Allied air forces “are no longer passively flying over Europe for visibility reasons.” American pilots and their colleagues are now using air patrol missions to practice offensive and defensive maneuvers along NATO’s eastern border”.

Another lesson from Ukraine is Russia’s reaction after failing to gain air superiority. Hecker emphasized that The Kremlin has opted for the use of single-use attack drones, particularly the Iranian-made Shahed 136, as well as air-launched cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, as well as ships and submarines in the Black Sea. “We need to make sure we have a good integrated air and missile defense system in NATO because we know we need that to protect ourselves.”

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The third lesson the NATO general cited is the need to share information between the organization’s 31 member countries to “make us all better.” “It’s amazing what you can do when you share information among your allies,” and “for free.”

Priority number four is based on what is known as Agile Combat Employment, known as ACE or Agile Combat Employment, This consists of developing a radial network of small bases and facilities to minimize casualties should a base be reached. The general said that with accurate weapons it was possible to destroy all the planes in a base, no matter how scattered they were. “What we need to do now is to distribute our planes to different airfields and even roads.” In this regard, he recalled that one of the main reasons that the Ukrainian Air Force was able to continue fighting was its mobility all over the country and maintain enough runways.

Hecker pointed out that Ukraine has had some success with Western air defense systems donated by several NATO countries, and while he stated that the Russians are “putting some of these through,” Ukraine overall “is doing pretty well with a lot of Western help.” on the way”. in the form of surface-to-air missiles,” he added. So far, Ukraine has received Patriot missile defense system, NASAMS, IRIS-T SLM, SAMP/T and Gepard, among others.

Since then, there hasn’t been a fight like the one in Ukraine, says Hecker First World War, “Where two sides face each other and in some cases throw 155mm ammunition indiscriminately, hitting hospitals and schools and leaving many casualties on one side and the other.”

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