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Russian Air force VS US Air Force

This is a discussion on Russian Air force VS US Air Force within the Air Force & Aviation forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; In my opinion there is currently no other Air Force in the world which match the might of the USAF. ...


View Poll Results: Who wins and WHY?
US Air Force [ plz explain why you think so] 11 78.57%
Russian Air Force [plz explain why you think so] 3 21.43%
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Old February 5th, 2004   #16
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Re: Russian Air force VS US Air Force

In my opinion there is currently no other Air Force in the world which match the might of the USAF.
Only possible exceptions which can hold out against the USAF by employing defensive tactics are probably the Russian and the Chinese air force.
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Old February 5th, 2004   #17
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Re: Russian Air force VS US Air Force

The basic Russian fighter aircraft are very good. Their support capabilities however leave a lot to be desired, as do their electronic capabilities, their "RISTA" (Reconaissance, Intelligence Surveillance and Target acquisition) abilities. This is well known amongst countries operating Russian Equipment. You may have observed that almost invariably countires operating this equipment will opt for Israeli or French Electronics integrated with Russian platforms.If you looked at the USAF"s strike power objectively, there is no way the Russian Air force could defeat the present USAF even if it did have a reasonable budget. Even the greatest air to air fighter isn't much use if the runway it''s supposed to use is nothing but a smoking hole in the ground...
 
Old February 5th, 2004   #18
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Russian may have sweet arse fighters...but..i dont think thier really that good in the training or in fighting anymore, very low budget and stuff makes it hard for them to be a powerful military anymore. So if Russian fighters (with thier pilots) did go out with USAF (with thier pilots) i think the outcome would be USAF winning for sure.
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Old February 8th, 2004   #19
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I wudnt be 2 sure if i were u. Russia has a highly advanced Ground Based Defence system with SAM systems under modernisation and development and more already deployed. If deployed carefully in co-ordination with aircraft they would be able to keep USAF F-16s and F-15s away but not the F-22s.
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Old February 9th, 2004   #20
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I agree, during the cold war, Russians has the most extensive AD network the world have ever seen. No Western bomber except B-2 can penetrate the network without taking heavy losses. It is multilayered and integrated network.
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Old February 9th, 2004   #21
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I agree, during the cold war, Russians has the most extensive AD network the world have ever seen. No Western bomber except B-2 can penetrate the network without taking heavy losses. It is multilayered and integrated network.

Its worth reading the following doco on Russian Doctrine Change since the Iraq War. This is a partial copy of my own notes recieved at an air power conference in 2001.

Operational Art

Operational art defines the Soviet’s method of concentrated employment. Operational art describes how Soviet forces are formed, organized, and employed to achieve the military strategy. It encompasses the operational level commanders’ sphere of actions. As we saw earlier, Soviet operational art had become focused on speed, mass, shock, and firepower of preeminent ground forces, with other services in a supporting role. The success of the Allied air operation in the Gulf War caused Soviet military theorists to reassess their old concept of operational art.

Airpower’s Role

One of the first assessments appearing in the Soviet press as combat actions began in the Gulf War regarded airpower’s ascendancy. The Soviets noted that the priority of actions of the branches of the American Armed Forces (as possibly theirs by inference) had changed. Tass military analyst, Vladimir Chernysev commented

The "classic" form of combat gave the main role to land forces in military actions, and the air force supports them. Here [the Gulf War] everything has been different: I would say the basic blows of strategic, decisive significance were struck by the Air Forces.

In May 1991, General Bogdanov of the General Staff chaired a roundtable discussion focused on the initial air operations of the Gulf War. In attendance were Colonel–General I. Maltsev, chief of staff of the PVO (Air Defense Forces); Lieutenant General A. Maliukov, Chief of Staff of the Air Force; Major General A. Gulko from the General Staff; and Rear Admiral A. Pauk from the naval staff. The conferees agreed the coalition had overwhelmed the Iraqi’s long-range missile radars. General Gulko remarked that the allied air operations had not succeeded in achieving the coalition’s goals single-handedly. He did concede that the intent of the air campaign was to create the preconditions necessary for a consolidated victory by all the forces of the coalition with minimal losses. He noted that coalition airpower had achieved air superiority to the extent that they were able to operate with impunity, and that air strikes denied Iraq freedom of action and initiative.

The Soviets saw the Gulf War as a repudiation of Douhet’s ideas about airpower. They did not feel the Gulf War justified building force structure emphasizing strategic bombardment; however, they felt they needed parity in the ground-air-space weapons to present a credible deterrent to a potential threat. Although the Soviets saw success in war as a joint effort of all the services, Lieutenant General of A. E. Maliukov found Douhet’s ideas of attacks against industrial and population centers as relevant to the Gulf War’s outcome. He viewed these strikes as part of the psychological warfare conducted by the Allies to wear down the Iraqi people. He further noted that airpower’s chief contribution was in interdiction, close air support, and air superiority to enhance the success of ground operations. In a May 1991 issue of Military Thought, he said that the initial period of war confirmed the increased role of aviation to combat power. The Gulf War confirmed the impact of aviation on tactical surprise and its execution. More importantly, he said the defensive cast of the Soviet military doctrine at that time implied an air capability able to repel initial attacks and mount its own air operation. He went on to state that this would only occur by protecting the control of the air and giving air commanders the ability to operate independently.

General Maliukov also said the Gulf War "constituted a textbook example of what air supremacy means — both for the country that gained it and for the country ceding it to the opponent." When asked whether he felt the war had reflected a practical application of the American AirLand Battle doctrine, he answered:

I do not think so. There was no classical ‘air-land battle.’ Why? The point is that this war — and here General Dugan comes to mind — was obviously conceived from the outset as an air war to wear out the opponent by means of air strikes, disorganize his command systems, destroy his air defenses, and weaken the ground forces’ striking power. In terms of the choice of objectives, it was more a case of a classic air offense. And these objectives were achieved. Broadly speaking, this is the first time we have seen a war which aviation took care almost entirely of all the main tasks [emphasis added].

The mobility, speed, and accuracy of modern weapons systems are combat multipliers. This factor makes surprise and initiative, especially in the initial period the most important of all military principles. During the Gulf War, the Soviets defined Allied airpower as devastating. Retired Soviet military scientist, Major General Vorobyev underscored the unique role of airpower when he said it was "the decisive role of fire power in destroying the enemy … this has never been demonstrated so clearly in any operation in the past." He called for a "prompt and fundamental review of existing [Soviet] ideas and propositions in the field of tactics and doctrine." He concluded his remarks by noting that Iraq’s defeat was not caused by "any weakness in weapons or combat equipment, but by the habit, dogmatism, stereotype, and conventionalism in the leadership of the troops … And this is a graphic lesson for everybody. This includes our armed forces." Airpower was less effective against small, highly mobile targets, such as Scud launchers; but, on the operational and tactical level, the Iraqis made errors forced on them by the loss of initiative and Allied air superiority. The Soviets concluded that any force trying to defend without mobility, or without the ability to strike a maneuvering enemy from the air, was doomed to fail. The Soviets watched the Allies maneuver freely, deceive the Iraqis, mask the main attack, and effectively strike at the weakest point.

Maneuvers by large ground forces required air superiority. The Soviets described airpower, electronic warfare, and air defense, or the Iraqis’ lack of it, as significantly more important in future wars. The Soviets asserted that the most important forces for the future would be the strategic rocket forces, air forces, and air defense forces. To a certain degree, aircraft assumed the primary role as the most maneuverable and long-range means of fighting, for example, accurate weapons and air superiority destroyed any potential Iraqi combat advantage in tanks. Another General Staff officer commented that the only counter to the massed aviation strikes was a powerful air defense system equipped with the most modern weapons.

For airpower to be effective over any length of time, operational sustainment was imperative. The numbers of sorties the Allies generated each day impressed the Soviets. In their preliminary calculations, the Soviets never thought that the Allies could sustain the sorties actually produced. Large-scale air operations, involving coalition aircrews, sustaining two and a half sorties each day over one and a half months seemed incredible.

The Soviets gave the Allies' air forces high scores for countering Iraq’s long-range radar systems. This caused the Iraqi’s to substitute short-range and television-optical systems for fire control systems. This in turn led the allies to fly higher and at night. The Soviets drew the conclusion that the allies "owned the night," and could operate their air forces with impunity.

The General Staff examined the air operation in a March 1991 issue of Morskoi Sbornik. The article stressed that command of the air made a systematic air campaign possible. Captain First Rank K. Kzheb, of the Soviet Navy, outlined the allied air operation.

The primary stake in the war was placed in the allies’ massive use of their airpower to keep losses on the ground to an absolute minimum. The immediate goal was to disarm, blind, deafen, and decapitate the enemy from the very outset to achieve control of the air. Then, allied airpower was applied at will to systematically the Iraqi strategic infrastructure and "isolate the area of upcoming combat operations, along with concurrent destruction of Iraq’s troops and military equipment.

In the initial period, the air campaign struck Iraqi command and control, air defense, and military-industrial targets. A shift to interdiction aimed at isolating the region of combat operations followed the initial phase. Following the air interdiction phase, the center of gravity for the air operation shifted to the direct support of the ground forces. The Soviets also realized that space was an element of the future battlefield. The Soviets said that for the first time, the battlefield contained a third coordinate, and they believed it had played a decisive role in the Allied victory.

Some observers from the General Staff were not as enthusiastic about airpower’s success as most. Several officers interviewed for the May 1991 Military Thought article stated that the Allies expected too much from the air operation. They thought the Allies expected more decisive results than were actually attained. They attributed "airpower’s failure" to be decisive to the multinational forces devoting too many assets to the destruction of Iraq’s military-industrial and national command assets. They felt this reduced the ordnance available for interdiction and close support the ground forces — a logical conclusion given how most Soviets viewed the relationship between airpower and ground forces. They also thought Iraq’s efforts at tactical deception were effective in diverting strikes. They also felt that no matter how extensive the Allied reconnaissance efforts had been, they had not located all the decisive targets. One officer stated that the air strikes in the initial period only confirmed an old truth that airpower alone could not achieve victory in war. I provide these comments to show that not all the Soviets were completely convinced about airpower’s potential. It is important to note though, that those high ranking officers of the General Staff most influential in developing military doctrine were convinced of airpower’s decisiveness in creating the conditions that ultimately defeated Saddam Hussein’s military.

During a June 1991 Roundtable, Lieutenant General of Aviation Maliukov noted that the Soviet Air Force needed operational, materiel, and technical support as well as modern equipment, to fight and win a future war. "We need an optimum correlation between combat and backup means. Everything must be developed comprehensively and then, when the whole system comes into play, it will produce the corresponding results." Timely procurement concerned air defenders. They contended Soviet military science was in bad shape; however, nothing could ensure the "fastest possible delivery of necessary weapons to the defense structure."

Perhaps the strongest proponent of airpower’s role in the Gulf War was Major General Slipchenko of the General Staff. He noted that the Allied air campaign set the outcome from the opening moments of the Gulf War. He even intimated that the war had cast serious doubt on the relevance of the ground forces as traditionally structured. "The Gulf War supports the fact that air strikes can by themselves form the basis of victory … airpower was responsible for the victory, because air superiority altered the complexion of the war from the very outset."


Technology, Research, and Development

Commander in Chief of the Air Force, Colonel–General Ye. Shaposhnikov noted in an interview that the Gulf War was giving the General Staff an opportunity to observe and evaluate American airpower. This was the first time they were able to make an assessment under real combat conditions on such an unprecedented scale. He noted much had changed since the Vietnam War, and focused on "air and naval- based cruise missiles, F-15 and F-117A ‘Stealth" aircraft, the multipurpose Tornado aircraft, Patriot anti missile complexes, and the accumulation and processing of information."

Dr. V. Tsygichko, head of Moscow’s National Security and Strategic Stability Studies Center admitted at a lecture at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe on March 5, 1991, that models run by the General Staff before the Gulf War had failed to predict the outcome. Additionally, the models had grossly overestimated the coalition’s losses. He blamed this on the modelers not having reliable parameters to assign to the allied weapons. He pointed out their models contained no factors to account for the Iraqi’s poor discipline and morale. Finally, he noted the air campaign lasted considerably longer than most Soviet analysts had predicted. Of extreme importance was the fact that these models contained algorithms based on their previous notions of the nature of future war. The failure of the models repudiated their previous doctrinal base for predicting what the nature of future war might hold. Marshal Achromeyev supported Dr. Tsygichko’s views by affirming the Soviet estimates "were based on classic AirLand Battle doctrine." Increasing the air campaign to 40 days invalidated the projection models. Achromeyev implied the models were based on a central European scenario by stating "The conduct of air operations of such duration against an enemy approximately equal in strength would have been impossible." These excuses show that perhaps this was but one additional short delay on the "Yellow Brick Road."

The General Staff convened another roundtable in mid-March 1991 to evaluate the performance of the Soviet air defense equipment in the Gulf War, and to determine the research and development impacts. Senior officers stifled the formal presentations trying to avoid criticism and contentious issues. Because of this, some of the junior officers attending noted the delegates made most of the interesting and compelling comments "in the lobby." Among the core issues they thought needed attention was the "lamentable condition" of Soviet military science and defense preparations, and the failure of PVO to provide them with "the most modern systems available." They also commented about their need to replace "obsolete models of weapons that accomplish little, as evidenced by the Gulf War, and should be retired"

Influenced by the allies' success in the Gulf War, Defense Minister Grachev listed the following seven priority items for continued research and development: highly mobile troops, army aviation, long-range ACMs, C3I systems, space systems, air defense systems, and strategic arms. As a result of the General Staff’s analysis of the Gulf War, political and military leaders have reached a consensus on maintaining research and development at the expense of procurement as the Russian defense budget shrinks. The Russians believe they cannot "be second best" in stealth and advanced conventional munitions. Experts within Russia noted they were 7–10 years behind in ACMs.


My notes: added to this were:

There is general concern that the prev Russian Doctrine of massed airpower to attempt saturation attacks is going to change dramatically. Current legacy Sov/Russian and Chinese doctrine is undergoing change as they realise that the old paradigms of war fighting have changed irrecoverably. In essence the Russians and Chinese are literally a generation to half a generation behind the US. Building 21st century platforms does not translate to a viable capability. The doctrine change and the tactical change has to occur concurrently or their evolving RMA issues will be unsynchronised and fatally flawed.
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Old February 10th, 2004   #22
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Re: Russian Air force VS US Air Force

I find it interesting that so many look at the GW1+2 actions as indicators to how future war fighting will occur. And then there's every Air Force generals fantasy that a war can be fought and won with air power alone. Hasn't happened yet, and it never will.
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Old February 10th, 2004   #23
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Re: Russian Air force VS US Air Force

The problem is that they look at the use of air in isolation rather than recognise that there are a whole pile of things that have to be happening concurrently. If its effective then those interactions are transparent. When they are transparent, then the advocates forget about their impact and contribution to the successful outcome.

selective vision.
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Old February 17th, 2004   #24
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By the way, how many aircraft that US lost during GW1?
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Old February 17th, 2004   #25
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By the way, how many aircraft that US lost during GW1?
27 US and 11 Allied out of 65,581 sorties.
232 Iraqi aircraft destroyed
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Old February 17th, 2004   #26
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Originally Posted by Awang se
By the way, how many aircraft that US lost during GW1?
27 US and 11 Allied out of 65,581 sorties.
232 Iraqi aircraft destroyed
With long range detection, ECM, ECCM, and BVR, U.S has total air superiority in all recent wars. To compare a poorly trained ME force, paralyzed between two no-fly zones is fair?
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Old February 17th, 2004   #27
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Originally Posted by Awang se
By the way, how many aircraft that US lost during GW1?
27 US and 11 Allied out of 65,581 sorties.
232 Iraqi aircraft destroyed
With long range detection, ECM, ECCM, and BVR, U.S has total air superiority in all recent wars. To compare a poorly trained ME force, paralyzed between two no-fly zones is fair?
I'm quoting numbers - and war is generally totally unfair and in favour of the power that is able to integrate and bring all its resources to bear.

I suspect though that the speed at which Russia, China, France, UK (and in effect most modern militaries) went through their own RMA's post 91 and then again post 99 is a pretty fair indication of how one sided the fight is at the moment.

Both Russian and Chinese military doctrine coming out of their mil academies has changed direction completely. Chinas turn around is enormous.
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Old February 18th, 2004   #28
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hi,ikm new to this forum.im former army person,i was in the army in the 80s.i was a m1 abrams crewman.anyways about the subject of us airpower vs. russian airpower,theres no doubt we have the edge.during the coldwar the former soviet union and the warsaw pact countries may have been able to give us a run for the money,i dont believe thats the case now.plus,everybody should know that alot of russias jet design and electronic capabilities came from them stealing from us.
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Old February 18th, 2004   #29
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Re: Russian Air force VS US Air Force

A piece of trivia for everyone.

Prior to 2000 when there was a big panic about whether the world would go stupid once the millenium cam around (due to electrical clock timers in computers and components), the russians sought international assistance with safeguarding their nukes. It turns out that the majority of their systems were chipped using stolen american timers and controllers.
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27, Is that true? You know, sometimes i got a feeling that the US military didn't release the real number of casualties. In some of the events, the number of casualties is impossibly low compare to the intensity of the actions.
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