Russia | Theories of car tires to be used for protection in fighter aircraft – Photo
Andreas Pogiatzi
Published on 09/09/2023 at 03:09

Days after MAXAR satellite images emerged showing Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers covered in car tires, a new photo of a Su-34 (NATO: Fullback) has surfaced on social media, which is equally covered with car tires.

Theories surrounding the new Russian tire practice are in flux, as the Russian Air Force appears to be trying to develop countermeasures against increasing Ukrainian drone strikes. The new Russian approach appeared after the latest Ukrainian attack, which destroyed bomber and transport aircraft.

Tu-95 strategic bomber aircraft with tires on its roof at Engels Air Base ©MAXAR

The photo of the Su-34 started circulating on Friday, although it is not clear when and where this photo was taken.

The image of the Su-34 is similar to satellite images of the Tu-95 bombers, which went online last week.

Also read: Russia | Exercise canceled due to deficiency in soldiers and equipment

Tire-covered Su-34 ©FighterBomber

Although the rationale for covering the tires in both cases is unclear, “The War Zone” initially reported that close-up analysis of the Tu-95s indicated that the car tires were likely intended to break the planes’ infrared signatures, causing confusion to incoming Ukrainian missiles, such as the R-360 Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles that Ukraine has modified to hit land targets.

Another theory states that the tires were placed on decoys to make them look like real aircraft covered in tires acting as armor against enemy drones.

In late August, a drone attack on a Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire bomber far from the front lines showed how poor Russia’s protection and security measures are 18 months after the war. It was, Western intelligence said, “at least the third successful attack on LRA (Long Range Aviation) airfields, again raising questions about Russia’s ability to protect strategic locations deep inside the country.”

And just last week, Russia’s Pskov air base was hit by drones, leaving several Ilyushin Il-76s, transport aircraft that carry cargo and personnel, damaged.

The attack was more than 400 miles from Russia’s border with Ukraine and the head of Ukraine’s Central Intelligence Directorate told “The War Zone” in an exclusive interview that the attack came from inside Russian territory, highlighting the vulnerabilities of Russian internal security.

Even though the exact time when Russia began fitting tires to its aircraft remains unclear, the photos coincide with the Ukrainian attacks.





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