US General: In the Ukraine War, Sophisticated Air Defenses Made Fighter Jets Worthless


In the Ukrainian war, both sides’ advanced air defense systems have rendered Ukrainian and Russian fighter jets worthless. Photo/Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace

WASHINGTON – Advanced Ukrainian and Russian air defenses have rendered both sides’ fighter jets, especially those used for close air support missions, rendered worthless in war.

This was explained by the commander of the US Air Forces in Europe and Africa General James Hecker in a roundtable forum “Air and Space Force Association Air Warfare Symposium” in Colorado.

According to him, some 60 Ukrainian and 70 Russian warplanes have crashed since Moscow launched its invasion. That, General Hecker said, was a feat accomplished by both countries’ highly capable air defense systems – which had left large swathes of battlefield airspace into a no-go zone.

“Both of their integrated air defenses, especially when you talk about fighting aircraft, are very effective,” said Hecker, as quoted from Breaking Defense, Thursday (9/3/2023).

“And that’s why they are [jet tempur kedua negara] don’t fly in many areas,” he said.

Russia’s inability to control Ukrainian airspace was the initial surprise of an invasion that has generally continued ever since.

Thus, the militaries of both countries had to adapt their tactics for close air support missions, relying more on response tactics such as the HIMARS-launched rockets to attack ground targets.

According to General Hecker, the aircraft, meanwhile, had to mostly retreat outside the range of air defense systems and use long-range weapons.

“The problem is that the Russian and Ukrainian successes in integrated air and missile defense rendered many of those aircraft worthless because they could not go out and do close air support,” he said.

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