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Ukraine - Superthread

Recently listened to a War on the Rocks podcast that interviewed Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and Counselor to the Secretary of State Derek Chollet. There were a couple of interesting comments made in relation to providing the Ukrainians with 4th Generation Fighters (among other things).

On a practical level much of it has to do with funding for the security assistance being provided by the USA. Congress has released funding in tranches and the support provided has to be within those funding envelopes. When the US and Ukraine sit down and list the weapons/equipment they want they have to prioritize these items. For example, if a single F-16 costs $1 billion and won't actually be useable in the field for 6-12 months do they want to spend that $1 billion on that F-16 or spend it on a mix of Stingers, Javelins and other items that they can have right away?

Of course Ukraine is going to ask for everything on their list...from their #1 priority (SAMs) to their #16 priority (fighters), but typically what they are getting is what they want/need most.

The other question regarding 4th Generation fighters is their impact/effectiveness. A single 6-pack of F-16s in reality is going to have minimal impact on the outcome of the conflict in relation to their high cost. To really have an impact you'd need 30 x F-16s...the cost of which would basically be the total sum of all the security assistance provided by the US to date. All those other items together are obviously much more impactful for Ukraine than only getting fighters. The Ukrainian Air Force will have to be re-built and it will be with Western fighters, but it will most likely be after the conflict has ended/stabilized.

Another interesting point was made about the early discussions about NATO imposing a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine. I can't remember which guest it was but he said that at the time he asked his Int O to provide him daily tracks of where the Russian fighters were flying and there was very little actually over Ukrainian territory. Almost all strikes were stand-off strikes from Russian/Belorussian territory so a No-Fly Zone would have had virtually no military impact on the conflict.

As a side note, the guests both indicated that despite the Ukraine war the US DOD was devoting 100% of their modernization focus on China.
We dithered on getting them tanks and now are under the gun to get tanks to stem the Russian advances. It's painfully clear that Ukraine needs new fighters and pilots(plus maintainers). Current pilots should be getting training months ago and new pilots should be going through Western training pipelines as well as maintainers right now.
We dithered on getting them tanks and now are under the gun to get tanks to stem the Russian advances. It's painfully clear that Ukraine needs new fighters and pilots(plus maintainers). Current pilots should be getting training months ago and new pilots should be going through Western training pipelines as well as maintainers right now.
Yes they should but lets give them a crapload of precision 155 and 155 and ATACMS now. Not next summer, now. And even better, cruise missiles for the black sea fleet and long range missiles they can use on their Migs
Radio report states the Drone had enough time to scrub all info. Can't find that info printed.

If the drone was flying around 50,000 ft or so, I would think it disintegrated on impact.
I saw a similar report. Apparently, the US forces were able to do it remotely.
I would imagine that would not be a good look for Turkey. They're already on thin ice with NATO for the whole Sweden/Finland thing...
Not sure who would spend $$$ on an exit blockade either overt or covert. Just a thought.
"Hard pounding, this, gentlemen: let's see who will pound the longest." Wellington

Ukraine’s leadership under fire for dismissing commander who revealed Bakhmut battle death toll​

The decision to remove the popular officer has led to a rare show of dissent as tensions rise over President Zelensky’s strategy in the city​

Ukrainian MPs, soldiers, and war correspondents have attacked the decision to remove a battlefield commander from his post after he publicly aired concerns about resources and casualties in the bloody battle for Bakhmut.

Lieutenant Colonel Anatolii Kupol, said to be one of Ukraine’s most experienced commanders, told the Washington Post that his men were taking heavy losses and suffering from a lack of ammunition and training.

“There are only a few soldiers with combat experience,” he said in an interview published on Monday. “Unfortunately, they are all already dead or wounded.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian army said the officer had been demoted for giving an unauthorised interview, and claimed that he had exaggerated Ukrainian losses. Commander Kupol had described an entire battalion of 500 men being wiped out with 100 dead and 400 wounded.

Commander Kupol has since resigned, the spokesperson said. The contents of his resignation letter have not been made public.

The decision to discipline the officer has triggered a domestic backlash and rare public criticism of Ukraine’s leadership, which insists that there will be no retreat from Bakhmut, despite mounting casualties and increasingly unfavourable conditions as Russian forces tighten their grip on the city in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

MP Oleksiy Goncharenko said of Commander Kupol: “I have heard only the best about him – an experienced warrior, a responsible commander. He has been fighting since 2014. These are exactly the kind of people we need at the front.

“He emphasised in an interview that soldiers need to be trained even better. Of course, the better trained a soldier is, the better he fights. What’s wrong with that?”

Soldiers who served under Commander Kupol have come to his defence and attacked the decision to discipline him.

Volodymyr Shevchenko, a member of the dismissed officer’s brigade, said the comments that cost him his job were “a balanced expert opinion of a top-class professional. A person who enjoys the absolute and unconditional respect of his subordinates and all other units that have interacted with him.”

“The main consequences will be the demotivation of the army,” Mr Shevchenko warned in a post on Facebook. “They won their right to expert assessment and opinion with blood, sweat and years of war.

“There is no other, more appropriate time … Without this expert opinion we will lose (the war).

One of Ukraine’s longest-serving war correspondents, Yuriy Butusov, also attacked the decision and echoed Commander Kupol’s concerns.
“Realism is needed to form an objective picture,” he said. “We need to recognise the insufficient efforts to train and organise our troops.

“Instead of shutting our mouths, we have to start thinking and acting to improve ourselves.”

The controversy has erupted at a time when Kyiv is facing growing dissent over its strategy in Bakhmut, where both sides are believed to have lost thousands of soldiers over months of fighting that has reduced the city to rubble.

Recent visitors to the city described low morale among Ukrainian forces and increasingly open criticism of military leaders, with Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, increasingly derided.

Kyiv insists it will continue to hold the city, despite the assessment of military analysts and international partners that Bakhmut has limited strategic value and is draining Ukrainian resources ahead of a vital counter-offensive expected this Spring. President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that if Russia took the city it could open a path further into Ukrainian territory.

Sources close to Ukraine’s leadership decline to publicly comment, with one describing Commander Kupol’s case as a hugely sensitive subject. Another suggested that they could face disciplinary action if they spoke about it.

There are concerns that Ukraine’s leadership is becoming increasingly authoritarian as the war enters a critical phase, with a spate of dismissals of senior officials for undisclosed reasons.

But the dismissal of popular officers such as Commander Kupol are unlikely to quell criticism of Ukraine’s increasingly controversial strategy in Bakhmut.

Ukraine looks like they are finally getting those Mig-29s

If Poland, Slovakia. and Bulgaria hand over their Migs Ukraine will be able to keep the air battle going and open the door for more F16s

Slovakia is set to send Ukraine its fleet of 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, making it the second Nato country to heed Kyiv’s pleas for warplanes to help defend against Russia's invasion.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger told a news conference that his government is “on the right side of history” as he announced his decision.

"We will hand over 13 of our MiG-19 jets to Ukraine," Mr Heger said, adding that Bratislava would also deliver a Kub air defence system to Ukraine.

Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said Slovakia will receive 200 million euros ($213 million) from the European Union as compensation and unspecified arms from the United States worth 700 million euros ($745 million).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly asked Western countries for fighter jets, but Nato allies have held off, citing concern about escalating the alliance’s role in the war.

It comes after Poland’s president said on Thursday that his country would give Ukraine around a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets.

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Slovakia sends entire fleet of Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine

Poland has a total of 28 MiG-29 jets.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda announced Thursday that the country plans to give Ukraine about a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets.

Poland plans to replace the MiGs with South Korean FA-50s Golden Eagle light fighter jets and American F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters.

Slovakia approved a plan to send a fleet of 13 MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, a day after Poland became the first NATO country to say it would send warplanes to Ukraine.


MiG-29AS/MiG-29UBS Slovak Air Force performed an upgrade on their MiG-29/-29UB for NATO compatibility. Work is done by RAC MiG and Western firms, starting from 2005. The aircraft now has navigation and communications systems from Rockwell Collins, an IFF system from BAE Systems, new glass cockpit features multi-function LC displays and digital processors and also fitted to be integrate with Western equipment in the future. However, the armaments of the aircraft remain unchanged. 12 out of 21 of the entire MiG-29 fleet were upgraded and had been delivered as of late February 2008.[citation needed]


A German Air Force MiG-29
East Germany bought 24 MiG-29s (20 MiG-29As, four MiG-29UBs), which entered service in 1988–1989 in 1./JG3 "Wladimir Komarow" in Preschen in Brandenburg.[104] After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and reunification of Germany in October 1990, the MiG-29s and other aircraft of the East German Air Forces of the National People's Army were integrated into the West German Luftwaffe.[105] Initially the 1./JG3 kept its designation. In April 1991 both 1./JG3's MiG-29 squadrons were reorganised into the MiG-29 test wing ("Erprobungsgeschwader MiG-29"), which became JG73 "Steinhoff" and was transferred to Laage near Rostock in June 1993.

The Federation of American Scientists claims the MiG-29 is equal to, or better than the F-15C in short aerial engagements because of the Helmet Mounted Weapons Sight (HMS) and better maneuverability at slow speeds.[106][self-published source?] This was demonstrated when MiG-29s of the German Air Force participated in joint DACT exercises with US fighters.[107][108] The HMS was a great help, allowing the Germans to achieve a lock on any target the pilot could see within the missile field of view, including those almost 45 degrees off boresight.[109] However, the German pilots who flew the MiG-29 admitted that while the Fulcrum was more maneuverable at slow speeds than the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-14 Tomcat, and F/A-18 Hornet and its Vympel R-73 dogfight missile system was superior to the AIM-9 Sidewinder of the time, in engagements that went into the beyond visual range arena, the German pilots found it difficult to multi-task locking and firing the MiG-29's Vympel R-27 missile (German MiG-29s did not have access to the more advanced Vympel R-77 that equips more advanced MiG-29 versions) while trying to avoid the longer range and advanced search and track capabilities of the American fighters' radars and AIM-120 AMRAAM. The Germans also stated that the American fighters had the advantage in both night and bad weather combat conditions. The Luftwaffe's assessment of the MiG-29 was that the Fulcrum was best used as a point defense interceptor over cities and military installations, not for fighter sweeps over hostile airspace. This assessment ultimately led Germany to not deploy its MiG-29s in the Kosovo War during Operation Allied Force, though Luftwaffe pilots who flew the MiG-29 admitted that even if they were permitted to fly combat missions over the former Yugoslavia they would have been hampered by the lack of NATO-specific communication tools and identification friend or foe systems.[110][111]

Beginning in 1993, the German MiGs were stationed with JG73 "Steinhoff" in Laage near Rostock. During the service in the German Air Force, one MiG-29 ("29+09") was destroyed in an accident on 25 June 1996 due to pilot error. By 2003, German Air Force pilots had flown over 30,000 hours in the MiG-29. In September 2003, 22 of the 23 remaining machines were sold to the Polish Air Force for the symbolic price of 1 per item.[112] The last aircraft were transferred in August 2004.[113] The 23rd MiG-29 ("29+03") was put on display at Laage


A Polish Air Force MiG-29 with a USAF F-16.
The first 12 MiG-29s delivered to Poland were nine MiG-29As and three MiG-29UBs in 1989–1990. The aircraft were based at Mińsk Mazowiecki and used by the 1st Fighter Aviation Regiment, which was reorganized in 2001 as 1 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego (1. elt), or 1st Tactical Squadron (TS). In 1995–1996, 10 used examples were acquired from the Czech Republic (nine MiG-29As, one MiG-29UB). After the retirement of its MiG-23s in 1999, and MiG-21s in 2004, Poland was left for a time with only these 22 MiG-29s in the interceptor role.

Of the 22 MiG-29s Poland received from the German Air Force in 2004, a total of 14 were overhauled and taken into service.
They were used to equip the 41st Tactical Squadron (41. elt), replacing its MiG-21s. As of 2008, Poland was the biggest NATO MiG-29 user. Poland had 31 active MiG-29s (25 MiG-29As, six MiG-29UBs) as of 2017.[119] They are stationed with the 1st Tactical Squadron at the 23rd Air Base near Mińsk Mazowiecki and the 41st TS at the 22nd Air Base near Malbork.

On 8 March 2022, Poland announced a willingness to transfer their operational fleet of MiG-29 aircraft to the US via the Ramstein Air Base, in exchange for aircraft of a similar role and operational capability, with the intent of transferring the MiG-29s to Ukraine to use in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[126]

On 16 March 2023, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced Poland would transfer 4 operational MIG-29s to Ukraine, with the understanding that additional aircraft would be delivered after servicing and preparation. Poland is the first NATO country to provide Ukraine with fighter aircraft. [127]
Those who speak truth to power, often regret that power is wielded by those who don't like the truth.

This happens routinely in the CAF as well.

I can empathize with a man holding the line for 8 years and watching his people die getting to the point that he has to say something.

At the same time I can see why his command wouldn't like him making his thoughts public.

They messed up if they demoted him. Extended leave and a medal would be a better response.
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