Ukraine, Russia | Nightmare day for Russia – Ukraine claims to have shot down three fighter jets

Ukraine, Russia |  Nightmare day for Russia – Ukraine claims to have shot down three fighter jets

The Ukrainian Air Force announced on Friday that it had shot down three Russian SU-34 fighter jets on Ukraine's southern front. If this number is correct, this is one of the largest single losses of the Russian fighter fleet in a single day so far in the war.

– Oh!

This is how Assistant Professor at Luftkrigskolen, Lars Peder Haga, responded when Nettavisen contacted him and asked him to comment on the incident, which became known around twelve o'clock Norwegian time.

Listen to Nettavisen in Ukraine podcast here:

We haven't seen numbers like this in two years

– The closest I can come to such numbers was in March of last year. Then the Su-30 and Su-34 were shot down almost daily. Haga explains that Russia at the time tried to fly low over Ukrainian-controlled territory to avoid long-range Ukrainian air defenses.

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Russia's problem at the time was that Ukraine began using its short- and medium-range air defences, which resulted in heavy Russian losses. This time, the Russians tried the same tactic for two weeks, before surrendering.

– After that, they barely flew over Ukrainian territory, says Haga.

It is believed that there are good reasons to doubt this news, because it is very rare for several fighter planes to be shot down on the same day.

– There may be a situation of so-called circular reporting, where the same shooting is reported by several units. This is how one downed plane can turn into several. “I would feel some ice in my stomach before I could fully trust that number,” Haga says.

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Read also: Russia loses attack helicopters on an assembly line: – Huge casualty numbers

Three hypotheses

If the number turns out to be correct, Haga offers several different hypotheses about what might have happened:

  1. Russia may have believed that regular drone strikes against Ukraine had weakened Ukrainian air defenses more than they actually were. This may have meant that the Russian Air Force attempted to fly into Ukrainian-controlled territory more than usual.
  2. Ukraine may have caught the Russians by surprise and moved its long-range air defenses closer to the front. Then they can shoot down Russian planes flying in previously safe places. This has happened at least once before.
  3. Ukraine may have used its fighter jets to shoot down Russian planes.

– it can not be Which first appeared very early in Ukraine?

– It would have been a pleasant surprise, but I highly doubt it. Three planes at once is exciting, and a reason in itself to tread carefully.

Read also: Ukrainian pilots say they were tricked into flying around

Maybe we have to change tactics

The Su-34 is one of the fighter planes the Russians have the most. Russia was also resupplied with as many new aircraft after 22 February 2022 as it lost in combat.

– Replacing crew on board may take longer than the aircraft itself. The big question, Haga says, is whether they were killed, captured or gained access to Russian-controlled territory.

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Lars Peder Haga believes that the most important impact in the short term is that the Russians may have to change their tactics.

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– If this is true, and this is something that surprised the Russians, they may not want to fly where they have flown before. It limits the Russians' freedom of action until they find out what happened, Haga tells Netavisin.

Moreover, Russian aircraft rarely fly in formations of more than two aircraft at a time.

– If these three planes were shot down in the same place, this is an unusually large formation, Al-Hajj concludes.

Read also: Ukrainian pilots say they were tricked into flying around

Russian Telegram channel confirms the loss

Telegram channel “Fighter bomber”He, who is believed to have close ties to the Russian Air Force, confirmed Russian losses in Ukraine on Friday, but did not mention the number of aircraft involved.

As Nettavisen understands the text, Fighterbomber guesses it is a long-range air defense system.”» Who is behind the shooting?

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Jabori Obasanjo

Jabori Obasanjo

"Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer."

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