European Contributions to NATO’s Future Combat Airpower,

[…] First, Russian political and military leadership remains concerned about NATO’s relative advantage in the air domain—a dynamic that will likely intensify over the next five years as large numbers of fifth-generation fighters enter NATO inventories. Russia enjoys a relative advantage in rapidly deployable ground forces in regions close to Russian borders, notably the Baltic states and Poland.

However, Russian strategy documents, statements, and actions indicate particular concern about the depth and speed provided by NATO’s advanced platforms and munitions, which could serve to blunt Russia’s ground advantage. Furthermore, observations of Western targeting practices over the past two decades have raised Russian concerns about the vulnerability of Russian ground forces, military bases, and critical infrastructure, as well as political leadership, to NATO’s combat air capabilities. Although the perceived extent of NATO’s relative airpower advantage is unclear, Russian defense analysts evaluating the combat potential of Western military aircraft have historically considered qualities such as firepower, mobility, survivability, and command and control, as well as a platform type’s contributions to units and larger formations.

These are all areas where the increase in capability resulting from NATO’s modernization efforts will become more pronounced in the next five years. Extensive Russian investment in integrated air defense systems (IADS) underscores the significance with which Russia views the air domain a central dimension of its military planning. Läs rapporten