In the last 20 months of the war Russia has lost around “90 fixed-wing aircraft in combat” since the war started on 24 February 2022.
What’s left of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ (VKS) are facing significant challenges as all aircraft have a lifespan the extra wartime use eats into their airframes more quickly.
Sanctions are another problem as Russia are unable to buy the extra parts needed for maintenance leaving the viability of their long-term air power in question.
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The British Ministry of Defence said in their latest intelligence update on Thursday, “The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) have lost approximately 90 fixed-wing aircraft in combat since February 2022.
“It has also been flying some of its combat aircraft types far more intensively than in peace time.
This video from the Ukrainian attack on Pskov Air Base appears to confirm the theory that one of those destroyed Russian planes wasn't a usual Ilyushin Il-76 transport plane.
— Status-6 (@Archer83Able) September 1, 2023
“All aircraft have a projected lifespan, in flying hours. It is highly likely that with this extra wartime use, Russia is eating into many of its airframes’ lifespans far more quickly than the VKS planned for.
“The need for extra maintenance is complicated by a shortage of spare parts because of increasing demand and international sanctions.”
The MoD warned, “The VKS maintains the ability to surge sortie rates over occupied Ukraine.”
However, the VKS are conducting fewer sorties compared to 300 per day when the war in Ukraine started.