TechTu-95MS bombers at Engels air base: Unusual protective measures by Russians

Tu‑95MS bombers at Engels air base: Unusual protective measures by Russians

Tu-95MS Bombers at Engels Base
Tu-95MS Bombers at Engels Base
Images source: © Planet Labs
6:48 PM EST, November 12, 2023

Satellite images indicate that the Russians have opted to camouflage their Tu-95MS bombers at Engels Air Base. To fool potential attackers from Ukraine, two aircraft simulacrums have been painted on the tarmac.

Based on satellite images from Planet Labs, the Russians have painted two decoy Tu-95MS bombers on parking spots at the base. A real aircraft is positioned close by, seemingly shielded by tires. The Russians continue to display creativity with their camouflage techniques, in hope of safeguarding their bombers from possible Ukrainian drone attacks.

Given the notorious flammability of tires and the immense challenge of extinguishing fires in such vast, open space, one could question the efficacy of this protective method. Even the use of painted aircraft is not a novel concept. In July, the Russians sketched out fighter jets that bore a visual resemblance to models manufactured by the Sukhoi company. This painstaking effort spanned several months at the Yeysk air base, aiming to fool low-quality satellite images.

However, attempts at deception have not proven successful previously, and the current situation seems no different. Considering that drones can employ other detection tools such as thermal cameras, the effectiveness of such camouflage techniques remains questionable.

About the strategic bombers Tu-95MS

The Tu-95MS models are Russian strategic bombers, sometimes referred to as the "Russian B-52". Despite production commencing in the 1990s, these planes play a significant role in Russian aviation. With a load capacity of up to 44,092 pounds and a maximum speed of 516 mph, the bombers are equipped primarily with two AM-23 onboard cannons and two double-barrel GSz-23 22 mm cannons. They can carry a variety of bombs and projectiles (including nuclear), such as the maneuvering rockets Kh-101 or Kh-65. Additionally, the Tu-95MS is designed for in-flight refueling.

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