Military Aviation

Against Ukraine, Russia is deploying its Sukhoi Su-34 attack aircraft armed with Dumb Bombs because it lacks PGMs (And Poland Won’t donate its MiG-29s to Kyiv)

The Sukhoi Su-34 is a Russian light bomber, the price tag of which is US$40-50 million. Yet, due to the lack of PGMs, the Russians are deploying it exclusively armed with ‘dumb’ bombs.

Pay attention at the warload carried by the Sukhoi Su-34 featured in the main picture of this post: this aircraft is a Russian light bomber, the price tag of which is US$40-50 million. Yet, due to the lack of PGMs, the Russians are deploying it exclusively armed with ‘dumb’ bombs.

Another point: while many in the West continue to insist that Su-34 is ‘multi-role’, and despite continuous activity of Ukrainian interceptors, the jet is carrying not a single air-to-air missile on a combat sortie (merely launch rails for R-73 short-range/self-defence missiles are visible on outboard underwing pylons).

In the meantime, Moscow first warned that any country offering its airfields to Ukraine for attacks on Russia might be considered as party in the conflict, and then began claiming that ‘warplanes attacking our troops are landing in Romania’. I’m avoiding discussing PRBS, thus let me just stress: ‘thx, noted, and that is nonsense’. No NATO country is permitting Ukraine to base its aircraft – even less so to operate them – from its soil. Moreover, the last I’ve heard: Poland has once again turned down the US request to transfer some of its MiG-29 to Ukraine.

The Russians continued their heavy use of ballistic missiles, the last few days. Over 400 were fired by Friday, and the number might have reached 700 as of today. Several trains bringing in additional SS-21 and SS-26s to Belarus have been monitored ‘even’ by the social media: the NATO is certainly tracking every such Russian move.

Yesterday, Tu-95s and Tu-160s of the Strategic Aviation of the VKS launched eight Kh-55SMs and Kh-555s cruise missiles at the Gavrishkova AB (Vinnytsia Airport). Contrary to media-reports, these have not ‘completely destroyed the airfield’, but completely demolished its main building. At war, this was of no use, anyway. I.e. this was an entirely pointless attack.

For its part, the Ukrainian MOD claims the destruction of 44 Russian aircraft and 48 helicopters in this war so far.

Gauging by its camo, and the terrain visible in the background, the photo below shows the wreckage of the Mi-24P registration RF-94966. Probably this is the Mi-24 shot down by a Piorun MANPAD in the famous video, two days ago.

Pay attention at the (elevated) terrain and vegetation in the background. This photo is probably showing the wreckage of the Mi-24 shot down on 5 Mar, in the Bashtanka area.

Later in the afternoon, the UkAF lost two Su-25s that attempted to strike a Russian column near an important bridge in the Peski area.

TB.2s are in action but, interestingly, the Ukrainians are not releasing any videos. According to Turkish sources, only two TB.2s were shot down by now.

Check out Helion & Company website for books featuring interesting stories written by The Aviation Geek Club contributor Tom Cooper.

Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in the worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialisation in Middle Eastern, African and Asian air forces. As well as authoring and co-authoring 560 books and over 1,000 articles, he has co-authored the Arab MiGs book series – a six-volume, in-depth analysis of the Arab air forces at war with Israel, in the 1955–73 period. Cooper has been working as editor of the five @War series since 2017.

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