“The record is stark,” Hoffman writes. “For every six enemy aircraft air force pilots shot down in Korea, the United States lost one. In Vietnam, the United States lost one airplane for every two enemy planes shot down.”Thus, the kill ratios went from six to one in Korea, and two to one in Vietnam, to 48-to-zero for the air force in the wars in Iraq and the Balkans.”As a partial result of Tolkachev’s espionage, “The United States has enjoyed almost total air superiority over Soviet-built fighters for more than two decades,” he writes.
Of course, it’s not solely due to espionage. One major factor is that an entire community of the Air Force, the F-15C crowd, is entirely devoted to air-to-air. That’s a situation that didn’t exist in the 50s and 60s. When all you think about is how to kill enemy planes, you tend to develop some good tactics and techniques. Of course, having valid information on the threat aircraft makes developing those tactics and techniques a lot easier.