Losses of the Ukrainian Air Force: on the verge of disaster
Unfortunately, the overall information surrounding the current conflict is extremely complex. Information about losses is fragmentary. For example, the militia regularly declare downed aircraft and submit photos or videos with evidence. The new Kiev authorities, in turn, actively deny the facts of destruction of equipment. Nevertheless, the "anti-terrorist operation" continues and both sides of the conflict continue to lose people and equipment.
Let's try to determine the loss of Ukrainian aviation in the current conflict. We will use the Aviation Safety Network database as the main source of information. This service collects information on various accidents and is considered one of the most authoritative sources of information on this topic. An important feature of the Aviation Safety Network service is the simultaneous operation of two databases - the ASN Aviation Safety Database and the ASN Aviation Safety WikiBase. Replenishment first engaged in service editors. To include in it the incident must be confirmed by several sources. The second base is available for editing by the general public. To new records in it also rely to bring sources of information. Some of the entries from WikiBase later fall into the main Database.
In the main database of the ASN Aviation Safety Database at the moment there are only four records of incidents with Ukrainian aircraft that happened this year:
- On April 25, during the shelling of the airfield in the city of Kramatorsk, the An-2 private aircraft (registration number UR-ABAB) was destroyed in the parking lot. The plane at the time of the incident was unmanned and passengers;
- On May 26, during the battle for the airport in Donetsk, the Yak-40 passenger aircraft (UR-MMK registration number) owned by Constanta Airlines was destroyed. The plane was parked without a crew and passengers;
- June 6 near the village Drobyshevo in the north of the Donetsk region was shot down from the ground by the An-30B reconnaissance aircraft (the tail number "80 yellow"). Of the eight crew members, five were killed;
- 14 June, several kilometers from the airport of Lugansk, while approaching with a fire, the Il-76MD military transport aircraft (b / n 76777) was shot down from the ground. On board the aircraft were 9 crew members, 40 fighters of the armed forces of Ukraine and several armored vehicles. The crash killed all 49 people on the plane.
According to the ASN Aviation Safety Base WikiBase, the first case of an attack by a Ukrainian plane militia took place on April 22. From this day to the present, a total of 17 entries have appeared in WikiBase, not counting the four incidents recorded in the main base and the three incidents that occurred outside the combat zone. The following accidents were recorded in the user-populated base:
- On April 22, during an reconnaissance flight over the city of Slavyansk, an An-30B Ukrainian Air Force plane was fired (w / o "80 yellow"). The plane was damaged and went for a forced landing. One crew member was injured. After a minor overhaul, the damaged aircraft returned to service and was hit by 6 June;
- On April 25, during the battle for the airfield in the city of Kramatorsk, the Mi-8 helicopter (w / o "55 yellow") of the Ukrainian Air Force was destroyed in the parking lot. In the cabin of the car was one pilot who managed to save. The helicopter can not be restored;
- May 2 near Slavyansk damaged Mi-8MT helicopter (w / o "69 yellow"). No one was hurt, the damaged car was able to return to the base;
- May 2 militiamen from Slavyansk used MANPADS against a Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter (b / n “02 yellow”). The rocket successfully hit the target, the helicopter crashed to the ground. On board were three pilots, none of them survived;
- On the same day, another Mi-24 (b / n "14 yellow") was destroyed by militia from Slavyansk using MANPADS. Two pilots died, the third was captured;
- On May 5, a Mi-24P helicopter (w / o “29 Red”) was hit by fire from the ground near Slavyansk. The crew made a forced landing and was evacuated by the Ukrainian military. The condition of the damaged car after landing is unknown, but it was left in place and soon destroyed with the help of the Su-25 attack aircraft;
- May 29 near the village of Andreevka near Slavyansk militia shot down a Mi-8МТ helicopter (w / o "16 yellow"), which belonged to the National Guard. Of the 13 people aboard, 12 died. The only survivor was seriously injured and captured;
- June 3 under Slavic fire from the ground was damaged Mi-24VP helicopter (w / o "10 yellow"). The pilots put the wrecked car and were evacuated from the landing site. A little later it became known that the Ukrainian military had managed to take the helicopter from the landing site and send it in for repair;
- June 4 under Slavyansk was damaged by another Mi-24 (w / o "91 yellow"). The helicopter made an emergency landing, the pilots were evacuated. 5 June, Ukrainian media reported that preparations were under way for the evacuation of the damaged car, but on the same day the DPR militia shot the damaged helicopter from a BMD-2 gun;
- also 4 of June near Slavyansk by means of MANPADS was shot down by Mi-24P (w / o “25 red”). The pilots were burned, but were saved. After a forced landing, the helicopter completely burned down;
- The third Ukrainian helicopter that came under attack on 4 June was the Mi-24P (w / o "15 yellow"). After firing from anti-aircraft artillery, the damaged helicopter made an emergency landing. The pilots were not injured and were evacuated. The helicopter was taken from the scene the next day;
- June 5 near Slavyansk was attacked by a Mi-8 helicopter (b / n unknown). It is reported that the car made an emergency landing. Information about the wounded or dead is missing;
- 14 June, while attacking a missile-bombing attack on targets in the city of Gorlovka (DPR), the Su-25 attack aircraft (b / n unknown) was shot down. The pilot successfully ejected, the plane crashed;
- June 24 while trying to take off from Mount Karachun near Slavyansk with the help of artillery, the Mi-8 helicopter was shot down (w / o "63 yellow"). On board the car there were 9 people and various loads. When the helicopter fell, the crew and passengers died;
- July 1 militia fired from anti-aircraft artillery attack aircraft Su-25 (b / n unknown). Despite the damage, the pilot was able to return the car to the airfield;
- also 1 July near the village of Lugansk (LNR), a Su-27 fighter was shot down from the ground by fire (unknown w / n). Two pilots managed to eject. The plane fell to the ground and burned down;
- July 2 on the territory of the unrecognized DNR was seriously damaged bomber Su-24 (b / n unknown). The militia attacked him with MANPADS and damaged one of the two engines. On the remaining engine, the aircraft returned to its aerodrome. After landing, the fire started, but the Ukrainian military managed to cope with it.
Thus, during the so-called. The anti-terrorist operation of the Ukrainian Air Force suffered serious losses. According to the ASN Aviation Safety Database and ASN Aviation Safety WikiBase, from April to the beginning of July, Ukraine lost four aircraft of several types during the fighting. Three times the aircraft was damaged, and one of the damaged (An-30B, b / n "80 yellow") after repair was again attacked and destroyed. Even greater losses suffered helicopters Ukrainian Air Force. Eight helicopters were destroyed, four more helicopters received various damage and can be repaired. In total, about 80 people died.
It should be noted that the Ukrainian Air Force suffers losses not only during the fighting. Over the past few months, the Ukrainian military has lost two strike aircraft outside the war zone:
- 21 of March at the airfield of Starokonstantinov (Khmelnitsky region) bomber Su-24M crashed while landing after a training flight. The crew ejected, no one was hurt on the ground;
- July 2 during landing at the airport in Dnepropetrovsk crashed attack aircraft Su-25 (b / n "25 blue"). The pilot managed to eject, but the aircraft cannot be restored. The cause of the incident could be a malfunction of the control system.
Over the past months, the Ukrainian Air Force suffered serious losses. In total, under different circumstances, they lost:
- 1 reconnaissance An-30B;
- 1 military transport Il-76MD;
- 3 Mi-8 helicopter of various modifications;
- 5 Mi-24 helicopters of various modifications;
- 1 bomber Su-24;
- 2 attack aircraft Su-25.
At first glance, the Ukrainian Air Force lost not so much equipment. However, in the light of the state of this type of armed forces, the losses look much more serious. So, in mid-March, and. Minister of Defense of Ukraine Igor Tenyukh presented a report on the state of the air forces. According to the. the heads of the military department, at that time, the Ukrainian Air Force had 507 combat aircraft and a 121 attack helicopter. At the same time, only 15% of this technology is intact and can fly. Moreover, due to poor training, no more than 10% crews can perform combat missions.
From the report of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine it followed that only 50 airplanes and 10-12 military helicopters could participate in the battles. This means that 13 planes and helicopters destroyed by the militia make up approximately 20% of the combat-ready fleet of the Ukrainian Air Force. Taking into account 6 airplanes and helicopters damaged and under repair, the total losses of the Ukrainian military aviation reach approximately 30% of the fleet.
In mid-June, the new Ukrainian government announced even more shocking figures. According to Tatyana Chornovol, the Commissioner for Anti-Corruption Policy, at that time only 10 helicopters in use remained in the Air Force ranks. In addition, 26 helicopters were rented by some private company, which has not yet returned them.
As we can see, the air forces of Ukraine fully felt the consequences of the ill-conceived and sometimes criminal policy of the past decades. Permanent savings on their own army led to the fact that in the already small number of air forces only a few percent of aircraft and helicopters remained combat-ready. In addition, the constant reduction in defense spending has seriously affected the training of personnel. As a result, the Ukrainian Air Force cannot organize competent actions against the militias and suffer serious losses.
According to reports, the DPR and LNR militia has at its disposal various anti-aircraft artillery mounts (primarily ZU-23), as well as portable missile systems. This allows fighters of the unrecognized republics to protect their cities from air attacks and regularly destroy enemy aircraft or helicopters. July 2 video appeared, according to the description of which the militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic now has an Strela-10 anti-aircraft missile system.
To date, the militia has acquired a fairly wide range of anti-aircraft weapons. Therefore, it is already clear that the Ukrainian Air Force during the “anti-terrorist operation” will continue to suffer losses. The exact number of aircraft and helicopters that will be destroyed over the DPR and the LPR is not yet known. However, it is clear that these losses can turn into a real catastrophe. Militiamen are capable of not only seriously complicating the situation of Ukrainian military aviation, but also completely destroy the fleet of vehicles still capable of carrying out combat missions.
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