Seventy Russian aircraft destroyed by Ukrainian defenses since invasion began

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A United States Air Force General has confirmed that Ukraine has lost over 60 aircraft since the Russian invasion but destroyed over 70 enemy planes. 

General James B. Hecker, who serves as the commander of United States Air Forces in Europe, disclosed details while speaking at the AFA Warfare Symposium on March 6, 2023.  

According to Air & Space Forces, Hecker also claimed that the success of both Russia and Ukraine’s integrated air and missile defenses have made “much of those aircraft worthless.” 

“[Russia has] downed over 60 Ukrainian aircraft. Ukraine’s downed over 70 Russian aircraft,” Hecker explained. 

Neither the Russians nor the Ukrainians have so far been able to gain air superiority since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

“So, both of their integrated air and missile defense, especially when you’re talking about going against aircraft, they’ve been very effective,” Hecker added. “And that’s why they’re not flying over one another’s country.” 

The general hinted that new weapons given to the Ukrainians may allow forces to reach further into Russian territory.  

“Recently, we’ve just got them some precision munitions that had some extended range and can go a little bit further than a gravity drop bomb,” Hecker said. 

He also said JDAM precision-guided bombs provided by the US will extend the reach that GMRLS rockets fired by HIMARS launchers can achieve. 

Defense blog Oryx documents the number of Russian and Ukrainian vehicles and equipment that have been destroyed during the conflict, only including “destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available.”  

The website acknowledges that the true figure is “significantly higher” than recorded on the site. However, current data on the blog also has the number of destroyed Ukrainian aircraft at 60 and the figure for downed Russian planes a 70. 

Despite very similar figures between Oryx and the US Air Force, the methodologies used by each to determine whether an aircraft has been destroyed could be entirely different.  

According to Flight Global’s World Air Forces directory, at the end of 2021, the Ukrainian military (the Air Force, the Army and the Navy) had 196 active airplanes and 122 helicopters.   

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