Russia's air force has lost 90 planes in Ukraine and is becoming less formidable by overworking its jets, UK intel says

  • Russia's air force has lost 90 planes in Ukraine since February 2022, British intelligence said.

  • Their jets are wearing out faster due to the intensive amount of combat missions, it added.

  • Despite this, Russia still has the ability to fly missions over occupied Ukraine, the update said.

Russia's air force has lost 90 planes since the start of the war in Ukraine and is becoming less formidable by overworking its jets, UK intelligence said.

The British Ministry of Defence said in its latest daily intelligence update on Thursday that Russia is quickly depleting its fleet of warplanes through overuse because the conflict is dragging on for much longer than anticipated.

"All aircraft have a projected lifespan, in flying hours," the update said, adding that it's highly likely that with the extra use, Russia is "eating into many of its airframes' lifespans" far more quickly than planned for.

Some of Russia's military aircraft are flying far more sorties than in peacetime, the update said.

Even so, despite its reduced viability, Russia still "maintains the ability to surge sortie rates over occupied Ukraine," it added.

A sortie is a military term for the deployment of troops from a defensive position or stronghold

Since the early weeks of the conflict, Russia has struggled to establish control over Ukrainian airspace, even with its far larger and more sophisticated air force.

Russian aircraft continue to strike Ukrainian positions, but often from the safety of Russian-held territory.

But the overuse of its jets could hand Ukraine an advantage in air battles, engineering expert Michael Bohnert wrote last month in an article for Defense News.

"Overuse of these aircraft is also costing Russia as the war drags on," Bohnert said, adding: "To make up for it, they'll have to procure more aircraft, increase maintenance, reduce operations, or accept a smaller force — or some combination of those."

Bohnert also said that as the air force devotes a greater share of its dwindling resources to countering Ukrainian jets, cruise missiles, and air defenses, it will have fewer aircraft left to support Russian ground operations.

After a year and a half of fighting, Ukraine's air defenses have remained effective. Its air force has managed to maintain its overall front-line strength by restoring old, grounded airframes and acquiring from NATO countries 18 Su-25s and 27 MiG-29s.

It is also expected to receive several F-16 jets from its Western allies in the coming months, potentially making Russia's air struggles even more pronounced.

Read the original article on Business Insider