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Staying power: The importance of mid-life upgrades (opinion)

9th July 2024 - 13:06 GMT | by Edward Hunt

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Ukraine’s rapid integration of Western missiles and other technologies onto its legacy Su-27s underlines the importance of upgrades to create new capabilities that are immediately available. (Photo: Armed Forces of Ukraine)

The rapid integration of advanced Western weapons with Soviet-era Ukrainian aircraft and the adaptability shown in makeshift solutions has highlighted the essential role of mid-life upgrades in maintaining effective military forces amid evolving combat and technological challenges.

The frequent references to lessons from Ukraine may seem clichéd, but they remain compelling. Most conflicts challenge pre-war assumptions to varying degrees, and this war is no exception. War often leads to rapid, unplanned advancements, underscoring that nearly all military assumptions are questionable until tested. As boxer Mike Tyson aptly put it, "Everyone has a plan, until they are punched in the face."

From an aerospace perspective, one surprising development is how quickly the Ukrainian military has adopted and adapted new weapons and systems. Previously, integrating components required months of careful planning before implementation. In Ukraine, however, advanced Western equipment

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Edward Hunt

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Edward Hunt


Edward has worked in the aerospace and defence Industry since 2005, initially for Jane’s and then …

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