Neither Russia nor Ukraine have not been able to establish air superiority after over a year and a half of conflict, according to the commander of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa.
Speaking to reporters at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker said the ongoing war in Eastern Europe would have looked very differently if the Russians were able to gain air superiority.
However, even after more sophisticated weapons on the battlefield, both sides had “very good integrated air and missile defense systems” that prevented either force from gaining an advantage in the domain.
Hecker, who is in charge of air and missile defense across the 31 alliance member nations of NATO, noted that the situation in Ukraine is guiding the Department of Defense’s tactics in Europe. His priority, the general shared, is to improve anti-access and area denial capabilities among NATO states to prevent Russia from dominating the airspace.
NATO must also understand and prepare for how Russia will fight if it cannot gain air superiority. Allies must have air and missile defense systems to protect themselves from one-way attack drones and cruise missiles, Hecker added.