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Can Ukrainian Air Defenses Hold off Russian Attacks?

The Russians have about a four to one advantage over the Ukrainian Air Force.

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

Intv. with Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Hello and welcome to Warrior Maven, the Center for Military Modernization. I'm Kris Osborn, very significant guest today and amazing American, the Commander of the Gulf War air campaign as well as Operation Enduring Freedom, retired Lieutenant Colonel David Deptula. He is a former F-15 pilot as well and currently serves as the Dean of the very prestigious Mitchell Institute for Aerospace studies. Sir, it's a pleasure to have you thank you for your expertise.

Ukrainian Air Defenses

Kris Osborn

Well, certainly one has to think that perhaps the Ukrainian air defenses are performing quite well. A quick look at their arsenal will will show you that most of their stuff is 1980s, Soviet era stuff from 1986. Yet the Pentagon and others are saying without specifics, they are getting air defenses. You have to think, sir, that they're working? 

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Well, I think the resolve of Ukraine has surprised virtually everyone but especially Vladimir Putin, and their air defenses are working, which once again reiterates the importance of being able to resupply them as time goes on. Neither side has air superiority, and so is contested airspace. But one of the ways to enhance the probability that Ukraine can survive the assault of Putin's military is by ensuring they have sufficient forces to sustain their both their air defenses from the ground, as well as their air force from the air. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

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Kris Osborn

Roger that. Now, I have to ask you, with reports saying that only 10% of Putin's available combat power is being used , is there any way that longer term Ukrainians with their tenacity with their resolve with their effective tactics on the ground, they can hold up? 

Ret. Lt. Gen. David Deptula

Well, I you know, that's a that's a the the major question here I think that you know, prior to the initiation of this aggression on the part of Putin, and most people thought that the Russians would roll over the Ukrainians very quickly. Clearly, that has not happened. The reason why is because a combination of the incompetency of the Russian military, as well as the on the other hand, the tenacity of the Ukrainian forces. 

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The Russians have about a four to one advantage over the Ukrainian Air Force. But we'll see how this all plays out. It's it's really too early to tell. But I think all indicators are that a probably now it's a 50/50 chance on whether the Ukrainians can hold them off.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization