A case study in the value of Western weaponry
Thank you for this. It occurs to me that Ukraine is really turning into a showcase for weapons, a testing ground, and even an exhibition, convention of sorts. This may be appealing to some and push innovation as well. That is not to take away from the godawful seriousness, senselessness, and suffering and destructiveness, the deaths, of this war Russia /Putin is visiting upon Ukraine and the rest of us. This could stop tomorrow. Putin could conceivably withdraw. But I hear (listening to Mark Galeotti) that Russia has turned that whole country onto a war footing. It's pure evil. They are in this "for the long haul". Countering this, to be similarly in it "as long as it takes" by allies may be the only way to come to an end. It's been said again and again. The war rests on Putin and the war structure he has built around him. We have been too weak in response... fearful.
I am unable to understand why the West is so concerned that Ukraine should not attack mainland Russia. Russia is sending missiles from deep inside its own territory to destroy Ukrainian targets, many of them non-military. But Ukraine cannot respond? The abject fear of western leaders from the very start of this invasion that Putin might escalate if his country was directly attacked should by now be seen to be ridiculous. Putin has shown that he needs no excuse or reason to escalate his attacks.
The linked RUSI paper (www.cna.org/reports/2023/04/Russian-Combat-Air-Strengths-and-Limitations.pdf) is an American report on the Russian air force dealing with warfare in Ukraine and Syria, threats against NATO countries, strategic differences, etc. There is a list of abbreviations at the end.
Noting some of the comments below and in the light of the announcements yesterday by President Biden and also the NATO Secretary General of support in principle for the supply of advanced jets to Ukraine (BBC News website), just in time, perhaps, to miss the start of the anticipated Ukrainian offensive, it would be interesting to read more about strategy from the NATO/Western perspective in responding to the Russian invasion. How has the strategy been developed amongst the allies, what have been the constraints on that strategy, and why have the allies always (or so it seems to some outsiders) been behind the game in terms of supplying Ukraine,, when it seems obvious what is needed on the ground (or in the air).
What number of F16s would allow Ukraine to achieve air superiority?
Was that ammunition explosion a serious Russian victory? Is it possible for the counteroffensive to be stopped in its tracks by a few of these onslaughts? Worry and fear