Editor’s Note:  SOFREP is pleased to present this article from best-selling author Colonel Eric “Ferris” Buer, USMC (Ret). –GDM

Since the Russians invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Russian Federation has pushed its forces beyond the point of exhaustion and, in their lust for a quick victory, have left themselves vulnerable. The Ukrainian forces, having defended valiantly, are now themselves engaged in a risky counteroffensive. With the war in Ukraine often being fought with dated tactics, dated equipment, and highly centralized command and control, the destruction and devastation brought by both sides have been obvious.

Picture cities turned to rubble and the countryside set ablaze. It paints a drab landscape reminiscent of 1940s Europe. With no military or political end in sight, Ukraine needs a new strategy besides fighting Russian tanks with Ukrainian tanks and infantry squad against infantry squad. The need focuses on modern and available tactical aviation assets. With a limited supply of capable attack jet aircraft and even with a more expansive use of drones, Ukraine is without a credible means to project air power as a component in a combined arms strategy.

What can or should the Ukrainians bring to this ongoing counteroffensive outside of long-range artillery, unguided missiles, heavy machine gun, and tank fire? The answer is rotary wing or helicopter airpower beyond the highly touted modern strike fighter. These airpower assets need to be purpose-designed and built for a counteroffensive that will last months and likely bleed into next year. The Ukrainian air forces should focus spending, of the international community’s significant financial contributions, on procuring and employing both fixed-wing attack aircraft, such as the F-16C Fighting Falcon, and modern attack and special mission helicopters.

Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopters in Action