Russia covered the wings of its Tu-95 bombers with car tires

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There appears to be a palpable sense of apprehension emanating from Russia, stemming from potential threats to one of its critical war assets – the Engels-2 air base. Satellite imagery obtained on the first day of September reveals visuals that, while not necessarily awe-inspiring, are nonetheless disquieting.

Photo credit: Telegram

Stationed at the base, a Tu-95 strategic bomber is uniquely safeguarded by the unconventional use of car tires. These tires are strategically positioned along the entire length of both wings and a small segment of the upper fuselage. This peculiar arrangement serves a specific purpose – to provide a defense mechanism against potential drone attacks.

A photograph was disseminated via a Telegram account. The user of this digital communication platform, in a tone drenched with irony, offered an insightful commentary on the photograph, stating, “The ingenuity of the Russians knows no bounds, seemingly inventing everything except for a bunker for their bombers”.

The role of tires and their performance

Photo by Sergei Fedichev

Russia’s decision to place car tires on the wings of a Tu-95 bomber is an attempt to create a makeshift defense against kamikaze drone attacks. The idea behind this is that the tires will absorb the impact of a drone, preventing it from causing significant damage to the aircraft.

Tires are made of rubber, which is a highly elastic material. When a drone collides with the tires, the rubber will absorb the energy of the impact and deform, reducing the force that is transferred to the aircraft. This can help to prevent damage to the wings and other critical components of the plane.

However, it is important to note that this is not a foolproof defense against drone attacks. The effectiveness of the tires will depend on several factors, including the size and speed of the drone, as well as the angle and location of impact. In addition, there is a risk that the tires could catch fire or explode upon impact, which could pose a danger to the aircraft and crew.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Overall, while the use of car tires on a bomber may seem like an unconventional approach to defense, it is a testament to the ongoing efforts to find new and innovative ways to protect against emerging threats. It remains to be seen how effective this strategy will be in practice, but it is an interesting development in the field of aviation security.

Rubber in military weapons

Rubber components have been used in military vehicles as part of their armor for many years. One example of this is the use of rubber pads on the tracks of tanks. These pads help to reduce the noise and vibration produced by the tracks, making the vehicle less detectable by enemy forces. They also help to protect the tracks from wear and tear, increasing their lifespan.

Another example of the use of rubber components in military vehicle armor is the use of rubber coatings on the exterior of the vehicle. These coatings can help to absorb the impact of projectiles, reducing the damage caused to the vehicle. They can also help to protect the vehicle from environmental factors such as extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions.

The attack on December 5, 2022

As documented by on December 5 of the previous year, an unidentified drone purportedly launched an assault on the Engels airbase in Russia. This strategically significant airbase serves as the launch point for missile strikes aimed at Ukraine. Several Russian Telegram channels disseminated a video allegedly capturing the resultant explosion.

Early morning on December 5, as per initial reports, a mysterious aircraft met an unfortunate fate on the runway of the local aerodrome. The incident was punctuated by an abrupt explosion, the echoes of which were captured by exterior surveillance devices. This unforeseen event occurred after the six o’clock hour, as per the local time standard.

The assault consequently inflicted harm upon numerous bombers, albeit the extent of the destruction was less significant than that sustained during the most recent Ukrainian offensive in Pskov. Indeed, media outlets of the time reported that a minimum of two aircraft suffered damage. Additionally, two individuals were reported to have sustained injuries, necessitating their transportation to a proximate medical facility.

Emerging from the veil of secrecy on December 1, merely four days before the fateful assault, a new set of satellite imagery brought into sharp relief the presence of the Engels Air Base. This military installation, situated a mere 14 kilometers (or 8.7 miles) to the east of Saratov, had previously remained elusive. The most striking features of these satellite images were the unmistakable forms of the Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers, their metallic bodies glinting in the sun. 

Upon closer examination, the photo reveals the presence of at least 12 bombers stationed at the air base. Among these, the Tu-95 bombers accounted for eight, with the remaining four being the more advanced Tu-160 bombers.

Photo credit: Twitter

Furthermore, the scrutiny of satellite imagery reveals an intriguing detail – the conspicuous presence of no less than five cargo aircraft in the immediate vicinity. Notably, the imagery also discloses the existence of carts, typically employed for the transportation of cruise missiles. This compelling evidence implicitly suggests that these cargo planes may have been instrumental in delivering the munitions intended for the bombers.

The importance of Engels-2

Engels-2, a prominent Russian airbase, primarily hosts strategic bombers. The 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Sevastopol Red Banner Regiment, which specifically operates Tu-160M bombers, calls this airbase home. Additionally, the 184th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, known for their proficiency with the Tu-95M bombers, also resides here. Since the war’s commencement, Russia has repeatedly utilized Engels-2 as a crucial launching point for bombing operations into Ukraine.

According to authoritative military analysts and experienced experts, the positioning of the bombers on the runway suggests a significant payload of cruise missiles and bombs. This hypothesis is further substantiated by the coinciding removal of the trolleys typically used for transporting cruise missiles, an event that took place concurrently with the winter preparation of the cargo planes.

Photo credit: Twitter

Given these observable circumstances, these experts anticipate, with a degree of certainty, that Ukraine could face a substantial Russian missile onslaught within the ensuing hours or possibly over the next couple of days.


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