Saturday, January 28, 2023

Freezing rain could cause big problems for Ukrainian Air Force

An ice storm sweeping across Eastern Europe, bringing freezing rain, sleet and snow could cause big problems for the Ukrainian Air Force.

Photos posted on Facebook on Dec. 13 by the Ukrainian tail spotters appear to show how ice covers MiG-29 fighter jets after a record-shattering freeze.

Ukrainian combat aircraft were exposed to the effect of the so-called freezing rain when precipitation that exists in supercooled liquid form below temperatures of 0°C and freezes on contact with surfaces that have a temperature lower than 0°C.


Fighter jets on the ground during freezing rain becomes covered in thick layers of ice which will be difficult to remove; airfield operating surfaces and runways will also be affected, and all aircraft movement on the ground may be severely disrupted. Therefore, since Ukraine is practicing the Soviet experience of storing aircraft without hangars and shelters, the flight of aircraft on a combat mission is delayed.

According to publicity U.S. Air Force reports, during an ice storm, a typical hold over time can be as 15-30 minutes in light freezing rain, which can often mean that it is not possible to receive maintenance and then take off within the allowable time frame.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.