The Russians are forced to employ retired pilots to operate warplanes over the high death toll in the air force during the invasion of Ukraine.
That’s according to a tweet by the British Defense Intelligence, seen by Ukrinform.
Ukrainian forces have announced that the pilot of a Russian Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack aircraft shot down on June 17 was captured shortly afterwards, according to the report. The pilot has confessed to being a former Russian air force Major, who had taken employment as a Wagner military contractor and had flown several missions during the conflict.
“The use of retired personnel, now working as Wagner contractors, to conduct close air support missions indicates that the Russian air force likely is struggling to support the invasion of Ukraine with sufficient aircrew,” the report stresses. “This is likely due to a combination of Russia’s insufficient numbers of suitably trained personnel and its combat losses.”
Also worth noting is that, whilst conducting his missions, the Russian pilot reportedly used commercial GPS devices rather than Russian military navigation equipment.
“This likely indicates that Wagner aircraft are older models of the Su-25 and that the Russian air force is not providing Wagner with up-to-date avionics equipment,” the report concludes.
Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been failing to consistently deliver air power.
That’s according to the British Defense Ministry, Ukrinform reports.
“In the conflict to date, Russia’s air force has underperformed. Its failure to consistently deliver air power is likely one of the most important factors behind Russia’s very limited campaign success,” the report read.
“For years, much of Russia’s air combat training has highly likely been heavily scripted and designed to impress senior officials, rather than to develop dynamic initiative amongst air crews,” the British intelligence suggests.
“While Russia has an impressive roster of relatively modern and capable combat jets, the air force has also almost certainly failed to develop the institutional culture and skill-sets required for its personnel to meet Russia’s aspiration of delivering a more Western-style modern air campaign. This has led to a greater than planned weight of effort falling to ground troops, who are becoming exhausted; and on advanced cruise missiles, stocks of which are likely running low,” concludes the report.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, as of June 20, Russian death toll in Ukraine amounted to 40,800.
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