The valiant Defenders of Ukraine

Sober, with German subtitles prepaired for translation:

Recently there has been a lot of talk again at how badly Russia is hurting both economically and militarily and there is a plethora of information out there both showing how Russia is hurting and how it isn’t hurting.

I’ve been lazy lately but due to having some time to kill I watched over 30 hours of videos and read several dozen articles about Russia and it left me a slobbering mess trying to decipher what I watched and read and believe me there is no shortage of misinformation out there and trying to weed that out took a lot of time making my head spin.

How is Russia fairing economically amid sanctions? This is a complicated question with no easy answer. First off while the west is very well aware of the war in Ukraine and its effects many Russians have very little knowledge of how the war is going and how many of their countrymen have been killed or wounded. Also due to many areas of Russia being economically poor many men see the military as a way to escape the poverty that they live in which has afflicted them for many years.

As to how sanctions has affected the day to day lives of Russian civilians this again depends on which area of Russia you live. The closer you live to Europe the more likely you are to see sanctions affecting their daily lives to some degree. Western goods are still available as due to some major loopholes a lot still funnel in through Turkey but the cost has gone up exponentially depending on what it is. Some items like western name brand shoes and small electric appliances have gone up in cost by in some cases 1000% (yes that’s right 1000%). Grocery stores still have many foods available at reasonable prices and still sell western products like soaps, shampoos and beauty products to name a few but other products like like coke and Pepsi are hard to find and rebranded a different name to bypass sanctions.

Vehicles, large appliances and electronics have taken a huge hit as due to the technology used to make them are western supplied and no longer available Russia has turned to China, North Korea and Turkmenistan products which are lower quality and some safety features removed due to not having western computer chips to run the safety aspects has lead to an increase in house fires and vehicle break downs.

One thing many Russians do complain about is the loss of stores like IKEA, Apple and other big name brands as again Russia has turned to China for many products which are often knockoffs and dangerous to use.

Militarily things become even more muddled as Russia is extremely secretive about the losses incurred and how much equipment they have remaining. I will touch on some things that are well known. First the Black Sea fleet is a paper tiger and has become a liability to Russia and a massive black eye with several high profile losses to low tech drones. The same can be said for the Russian Air Force as their losses has been a major black eye for the Russian military and how effective Ukrainian drones and missiles have been at taking out aircraft. What no one really knows yet is the effect if any the F-16s that will start flying at the end of April and May on the war.

As to equipment losses while it is well known that Russia has lost a huge amount of equipment, armour and vehicles they still are managing to replace the losses with stored equipment but the downside is much of the replacement equipment is now Cold War era and poorly protected compared to their modern equivalent.

Where Russia is really hurting and is well documented is loss of trained and competent personnel. Russia lost so many well trained personnel in the first year of the war they have basically sent most ground personnel into the field with minimal training and sometimes no equipment. Average amount of training equates to 3 weeks (although some receive much less or more training depending on where they are trained). Russia has lost about 40-60% of their professional military(army, navy, Air Force combined) and many professional units that they still have Russia is trying to hold on to sending the conscripts in instead as they are basically meat shields.

So is Russia hurting? The answer is both yes and no but the longer the war goes on the more you will see Russia hurt militarily but economically that is more ambiguous as the economy is expected to expand upwards of 3% this year as Russia is now on a war footing and gearing up to build more military equipment providing more jobs and more money to spend.

There is much more to say but this is where I’ll end it for now.

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I have watched Wily for the last several days. He definitely gives a very sobering view of Ukrainian capabilities. They are short reserves, have no rotation off the frontlines and have run out of weapons to deny the air to Russians in key areas. They are giving a little ground everyday in order to punish the Russians.

It’s fairly depressing thought and if you are a Ukrainian soldier, you need help, rest and refit and like as not none of this is coming. Sooner or later a sector will break… no wonder Zelensky is saying just give us the damm missiles.

The US asked them not to attack Russian refineries. If you give little help you get little influence.

If you were Ukraine, what would you do? Everyone in hindsight wondered why Germany fought to the end. Where does Ukraine seek its motivation to keep going?

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Russian Propaganda sold Jewish and Muslim Ukrainians as NAZIS:

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I was reading an American forum about threats to the US and it’s allies and it was really entertaining at how uninformed many people are about the Capabilities of countries like Russia and China.

It is no secret Russian and Soviet aircraft are far more agile than most western aircraft and can outturn and outfly most modern western fighters but their agility is negated by the fact they are very easy targets to find via radar and most western fighters rely on stand-off weapons to keep them safe which also negates the superior agility of the Russian jets. Add to that most Russian fighters have a limited range with no in flight refuelling capabilities meaning unlike their western counterparts they rely heavily on airbases close to the front lines.

The same can be said for the Chinese airforce they are very similar to the Russian having agile aircraft but suffer from short flight times and lack of inflight refuelling. In this respect both the Russian and Chinese airforces they are both regional AirPower’s that rely heavily on airbases close to the front unlike western aircraft that can refuel basically anywhere in the world and do not rely on airbases close to the front.

As to the Russian and Chinese navies both their navies consist mostly of short range ships that cannot stray very far from their ports of call again making both their navies Regional powers. As to Chinas aircraft carrier fleet the 2 older carriers cannot travel far, don’t carry enough fuel for their aircraft and rely heavily on support ships to keep them at sea. At best the 2 older carriers can stay out about 15 days before requiring resupply and refuelling. Their third carrier although modern and can carry quite a few aircraft also suffers from a limited range and require a supply ship to remain in close proximity. By all accounts it is limited to 10 days without resupply.

In short both Russian and Chinese navies are regional powers with powerful but limited range ships that require them to stay close to home port making them ineffective in long range combat roles.

As to the Russian and Chinese ground forces this is where they shine as both have a huge pool of manpower available and a huge amount of vehicles, artillery and armour available to them and both rely heavily on numerical superiority while most western nations rely on technology and superior training to keep them alive. While Russia has had extensive combat China cannot say the same as they have been in mostly limited engagements and have a largely untested military.

In this regard both countries ground forces should be respected and feared even if the Russian military has bungled the Ukraine war badly it still has a formidable ground force. The Chinese military while mostly untested in combat in modern times still has a ground force that can be powerful if used right and in either case this is where both countries outshine their respective naval and airforces.

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I think Chris does a good job of summarizing some of the problems we face. I agree with your summary of Russian and Chinese capabilities. They cannot fight as far from home as we can. But to enforce our defense strategies, we have to take the fight to them. This will be incredibly difficult and I don’t know how it will go. Chinese forces are numerous but almost entirely untested.

In Europe, Russia has experience, they have plans and they gear to fight those plans. I just think they don’t have the numbers to fight nato. NATO is short on everything but the trained manpower gives a huge leg up. They need to take logistics seriously though.

In both theatres, missile defense will be a huge problem. There is not enough to go around anywhere. I also think the sides which employs drones the best will gain major advantages. I don’t know how that would go.

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I feel you are misinformed about agility. Since the F-16 in the 1970’s western fighters have been designed to be aerodynamically unstable requiring computer support to fly. This greatly enhances agility.

Justin Bronk is one of the best analysts I have seen. The first 14 minutes are a general update before turning to F16’s

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Great video, the interviewer was a Tomcat RIO and has a lot of knowledge. And I agree that relearning on a Western jet is much more complicated.

I kinda wonder if with all the escalations and positive reports are becoming another Afghanistan were the pull-out was preceded by slews of reports up the chain claiming progress and success.

Well great channel with people who know planes.

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I did find it interesting that the most experienced pilots can have the hardest times learning new systems. It also makes me think that some of the versatile operations the F16 has done may be unlikely in Ukrainian hands. They have been working with the F16 for over 40 years to innovate. That seems like hard information to transfer.

I m not sure the comparison to Afghanistan is valid. Certainly the propaganda is there but. Ukrainian motivation seems, even with reported morale issues a world different from local Afghani forces. This still feels like stalemate unless Ukraine runs out of trained soldiers. Force generation and training levels are truly the key. Enough troops can bleed Russia, but it’s a long way from retaking territory.

Yes but that is the case. Very few pilots want to fly helicopters and fixed wing on the same day because you need to train different reactions in emergencies. Lots and lots of procedures to learn instantly. Top Gun 2 was unrealistic but the NATOPS giant manual was not.

There also is something like Muscle Memory which can get in the way and there are lots of people who transfered from small planes to much faster planes or smaller planes and then die in a crash because the go-around from a landing at the wrong speed and crash.

In combat flights the decisions are split second life or death and that would be worse I guess. When I moved from French to Eastern European jetwarbirds there was a transition but as it was recreational the risks are limited.

Hope that makes sense, and their points that the F16 is a pretty old airframe is valid too, most telling was that NATO would not send their pilots in F-16s as it is too dangerous.

Chew/Marc

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The training Ukrainian pilots have done from taking English lessons to basic flight manoeuvres to complex engagement scenarios all have been compressed from a 22 month program to roughly 7 months and while they will be competent fighter pilots they will not be on the same level as any western nations fighter pilots. It’s sad but a real truth.

With that being said what I am interested in seeing is how innovative Ukrainian pilots will be in adapting to tactics that the west really hasn’t seen yet. Ukrainians are at the forefront of drone usage so much so that they are now teaching their western allies about drone techniques add to that innovative ways Ukraine uses its armoured vehicles and other resources that western nations either didn’t think of or thought those tactics were viable.

This is why I am interested in seeing how Ukraine will use the F16s

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Both good replies. I am most skeptical of the use for suppression of enemy air defenses missions. That always seemed to me to be extremely dangerous because finding defenses would mean that they get a good chance to shoot at you. The F16 may be a little obsolete for that but I’m no expert. But I recall it was originally called wild weasel missions for a reason.

thanks for the info.

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They are still called ‘Wild Weasel’ missions. Such missions involve HARM missiles that track radar signals to destroy them. Ukraine has and has already used HARM missiles. As for the F16, that plane introduced two new and related technologies to fighter aircraft,. The first was inbuilt aerodynamic instability which greatly improved maneuverability. The second is fly-by-wire to control said instability. That is why the F16 is still competitive for Wild Weasel missions.

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As I understand it and this could be obsolete, wild weasel was a lot more than just firing harm missiles. The dangerous part was getting other radar sites to switch on their radars. It was kind of a cat and mouse game. Once the radars could be located, they could be destroyed. As I said, my info could be obsolete as I was reading about it starting in Vietnam and maybe jungle was a better hiding place.

The f16 is highly maneuverable and I’m sure in the hands of experienced pilots great at this but the learning curve seems steep.

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The “ARM” part of HARM stands for Anti-Radiation Missile. You are correct that in a SEAD or Wild Weasel Mission you "troll’ a oppornts air defence system to get it to switch on and lock and hopefully fire first before it hits you. Its rather like a shootout where he who fires first wins.

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This is a year old but still entertaining to watch this was an international tank competition that Russia hosted which ended up being a comedy show

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