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Russian nuclear bombers are covered with tyres in bid to protect from Ukrainian drones

Recent images from satellite show the Tu-95 nuclear bombers with car tyres on the wings, according to MailOnline.

Russia began to cover its Tu-95 nuclear bombers with car tyres in a bizarre bid to protect them from attacks of Ukrainian drones.

One can see on satellite images how the Bear strike aircraft at Engels-2 Air Based in Saratov region completed with tyres. In December two Ukrainian drones hit the base, after this attack Vladimir Putin decided to relocate some Tu-95 strategic bombers to other air bases. These planes are a key piece of his nuclear strike force however during the current war they have been used to strike carnage on Ukraine with conventional weapons.

There is an opinion on The Aviationist website report:

‘While the reason for covering the wings and part of the upper fuselage in this way is not completely clear, the most likely theory is that the car tyres are used to protect the valuable bombers from attacks carried out with kamikaze drones’.

The goal might be to mitigate the force of drones or to protect fuel tanks on the huge planes. This decision was made after two latest alleged Ukrainian attacks on Russian war planes. In one, in Pskov, four Il-76 transporters were disabled, with two aircraft beyond repair after it burst into flame.

In addition Kyiv claimed to have ruined four Su-30 fighter jets, one MiG-29 fighter jet, two Pantsir-S1 close-range air defence systems and a radar linked to a long-range S-300 surface-to-air missile system in a strike in Kursk with aerial drones made of cardboard. However, experts question the effectiveness of the tyre protection. Ukrainian drones could still inflict damage because the tyres do not fully cover the wings and body of the plane.

‘The drone could be guided to detonate below the surface of the wing and still cause the total loss of the aircraft, last but not least, tires are flammable although they need a high temperature to burn. However, when you store plenty of tyres in the same place and conditions for combustion are present, they can become a hazard. When tyres catch fire, they burn with intense heat and produce noxious smoke,’ the report said.

The 121st & 184th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiments are placed on Engels-2 which respectively operate the Russian Aerospace Forces Tu-160M Blackjack and Tu-95M Bear strategic bombers.

Russia has used this base for many air strikes with deadly Kh-101 cruise missiles. It is situated from 435 miles from the Ukrainian border. There are up to eight Tu-95s and four Tu-160Ms at Engel-2.

On 5 December, Ukraine struke the base damaging two Tu-95s. There was a repeat attack on 26 December causing the deaths of three Russian officers. The Tu-95s are the world’s only propeller-powered nuclear bombers. They still remain an integral part of the Russian nuclear armoury however they first flew 70 years ago.


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