Russia’s failure to target Ukrainian integrated air defenses at the outset of hostilities in February have cost it at least 55 fixed-wing combat aircraft, while about 80 percent of Ukraine’s Air Force remains intact according to a senior U.S. Air Force general.
Most if not all of those shootdowns were caused by Ukrainian surface-to-air missile (SAM) attacks on Russian aircraft, according to Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa.
“We’re pretty sure all of those losses were due to surface-to-air missile attacks from Ukraine on the Russians, primarily SA-10 and SA-11s,” Hecker told The War Zone and other outlets on Sept. 19 at the Air Force Association’s annual Sea-Air-Space conference outside Washington, D.C. As The War Zone pointed out in this previous story, air defense systems are more critical to the defense of Ukraine than fighters.
Hecker’s numbers match the database of visually-confirmed equipment losses being kept by Oryx, an independent open-source analyst, which lists 53 Russian fixed-wing military aircraft destroyed and two damaged beyond repair.
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