Russian airpower on trial

Russian pilots discuss aircraft readiness with a mechanic in syria
Oct. 4, 2015: Russian pilots accept a ready report from the chief ground mechanic before taking off for a combat mission from Khmeimim air base in Syria (source: dpa)
  • Russia’s air operations in Syria show much better logistics and command capabilities
  • Yet this improvement has come against an enemy without sophisticated air defenses
  • In key technologies like stealth or precision guidance, Russia still lags behind the U.S.

Ten years have passed since Russia went to war with Georgia, a conflict that brought its armed forces victory through overwhelming numbers but also humiliation from their abysmal performance against a vastly weaker enemy. Over the past decade, the Russian leadership has responded with a determined and well-financed effort to reform and modernize its military.

One of the main beneficiaries has been the Russian Air Force, which has acquired hundreds of new aircraft, some of them highly sophisticated. If this buildup continues for another decade, as forecast, Russia will field a modern fleet of 1,100-1,200 tactical aircraft and close to 200 long-range bombers by 2027.

Not a subscriber yet?

Subscribe now and get the latest in-depth geopolitical analysis and forecasts from GIS’s unrivaled cadre of experts.

Learn more about our subscription plans.

You can also buy this report for €8.99 Buy

Add your comment