A special military operation in Ukraine revealed many weaknesses of the Russian military. At the beginning of the conflict, it became clear that the Russian tanks, designed in the early seventies, were no longer superior to the modern battlefield. The same applies to armored personnel carriers, and there is also the problem of the apparently low morale of certain units. This applies especially to the troops that recently literally ran away from the Ukrainians in the offensive east and south of Kharkiv. The area, which the Russians spent months to conquer, was lost in just a few days.
However, the biggest surprise of the conflict so far is the absence of Russian aviation. Apart from some footage of Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft firing rockets from honeycomb launchers somewhere over the front line and immediately turning back to safety, there is no information about significant use of the air force. After all, if the Russians were flying, the Ukrainians would not have regained thousands of square kilometers of territory so easily. It is an open, flat area where there is little room for hiding equipment and personnel, but the Russians, for some reason unknown to us, did not send aviation to stop the penetrations.
Why this is so is currently unknown. But what can be said with certainty is that the Russian Federation has the infrastructure and means to literally clean up the east of Ukraine.
An hour’s flight from the battlefields around Kharkiv is the airport in Voronezh. Su-24 front-line bombers and Su-25 attack fighters are based there. Tu-22 and Tu-95 bombers were also spotted, as well as Migos 31 and Sukhoi 27. Then, at the airport in Engles, next to Saratov, Russian strategic aviation is based. Along with numerous Tu-95 bombers, there are also “white swans” TU 160. Vladimir Putin also flew one of these bombers, and in 2018, two planes of this type flew to Venezuela and back. They showed that they can reach America. By the way, part of the TU-160 aircraft was bought by Russia from Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR.
If Russia had used its air force more actively in the “special military operation”, not only would the Ukrainian counter-offensive not have succeeded, but the conflict might have already ended. It remains unclear why Russia did not apply the formula from Syria, where it reversed that civil war with persistent bombing. In favor of a regime that was on the verge of collapse before that.
The Russians were able to slow down the arrival of NATO equipment by bombing the transport infrastructure in the west of Ukraine. Aviation could destroy the concentration of troops and equipment ahead of the offensive near Kharkov. It was all possible but…
It remains to be speculated that the Russians may not have enough pilots, the technique is not correct. This should not happen to a country and an army that is considered a superpower. And if there is a lack of ideas and initiatives, the Russians could follow the example of the Americans from Vietnam. They flew daily over North Vietnam, which at the time had perhaps the strongest anti-aircraft defense in the world. The slow B 52 bombers flew in formation and were shot down but would be over Hanoi again tomorrow evening.