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Better Than Tires: russians Show New Anti-Drone Protection for Su-34 Bombers

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Su-27 under an improvised anti-drone canopy, September 2023 / Open source photo
Su-27 under an improvised anti-drone canopy, September 2023 / Open source photo

The russian military is looking for more reliable and systematic solutions to keep their aircraft safe from Ukrainian attacks on air bases

New photos published on the web show that russians are working on new technological solutions to protect their tactical aviation against Ukrainian drones. In this case, it is an improvised light hangar made of metal framework covered with mesh wire.

Su-27 under an improvised anti-drone canopy, September 2023
Su-27 under an improvised anti-drone canopy, September 2023 / Open source photo

Perhaps the expectation here is that the hostile drones will get caught up in the wire the same way Ukrainians catch russian Lancet drones attacking artillery positions. Or maybe this structure will deter the shrapnel or fragments falling onto the aircraft after the enemy suicide drone explodes.

Read more: The Purpose of Car Tires on russian Tu-95 Bombers, or How Neptun Got New Controversial "Eyes" to Hit Land Targets
Ukrainian soldiers use anti-drone nets to protect their positions from russian Lancet drones, February 2023
Ukrainian soldiers use anti-drone nets to protect their positions from russian Lancet drones / Open source photo

There is an interesting detail here: they took a decommissioned Su-27 for the demonstration of their new invention. It may indicate that this method of protecting the aircraft is still in making and can transform later on.

On the part of Defense Express, we should note that this sort of protection is indeed a more effective choice than covering the planes with car tires in an attempt to hide heat signatures and make them "invisible" to the drones' heat seekers. Previously, this unconventional method of protection was seen on strategic aircraft and even on Su-34 tactical bombers.

russian Su-34 covered with car tires, apparently, to protect it from drone attacks, September 2023
russian Su-34 covered with car tires, apparently, to protect it from drone attacks, September 2023 / Open source photo

In fact, however, "tire coat" cannot hide either tactical or strategic aviation from reconnaissance techniques, Western missile guidance systems or explosions of attack drones, instead only increases the time needed to prepare aircraft for a sortie.

Notably, in early August this year, russian media already revealed that similar shelters were built for the Su-34 aircraft stationed at the Baltimor air base in Voronezh. Although only four improvised "hangars" were built and there was no mesh or roof to cover from shrapnel.

Earlier Defense Express reported that russians recently de-facto officially admitted that a single Tu-141 Strizh managed to damage three Tu-22M3 strategic bombers and a Kh-32 missile during an attack taking place in December 2022.

Improvised aircraft shelters at Baltimor air base, russia, August 2023
Improvised aircraft shelters at Baltimor air base, russia, August 2023 / Open source satellite photo
Read more: ​Russian Governor Organizes Volunteer Security Patrols to Counter UAV Attacks near Estonian Border