Bolstering the Ukrainian Air Force

Undeniably, Russia outnumbers and outguns the Ukraine on the ground, on the sea, and in the air. The latter matters because Ukraine’s air attacks have devastated Russian convoys. But beyond drones, Ukraine could use additional combat aircraft: both ground attack aircraft and fighter jets to try and defend Ukrainian airspace.

The problem is that Ukrainians would need to be trained how to to use any new aircraft they purchase or receive. American F-16s would make sense, but they would require significant training time to make the switch from Soviet-made to American-made hardware. Enter European countries. A few former Eastern Bloc countries still have Soviet-made equipment and Ukraine has asked them for those same aircraft.

Bulgaria, Poland, and Slovakia all operate MiG-29 Fulcrums, which Ukraine does as well. Bulgaria also operates Su-25 Frogfoots, which is a ground attack aircraft the Ukraine flies (and has already lost at least two in combat). It’s not clear how many Fulcrums Ukraine may have lost thus far in the war.

Ukraine claims that the three countries have announced they will provide 70 aircraft to Ukraine and bolster the Ukrainian air force. Here is how that breaks down.

All the MiGs

I should note that after I wrote this and designed this, there are indications that Bulgaria has now refused to send the MiGs. Things change fast in war, so take this all with a grain of salt.

Credit for the piece is mine.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? Well, they asked me not to say. But to be clear, this blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of…my employers. I think what I can say is that given my interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I have become an amateur genealogist and family historian. You will sometimes see that area of work bleed into my posts.