Afraid of Ukraine, Russia is Now Putting Car Tires on the Wings of its Best Bombers

Wes O'Donnell
5 min readSep 6, 2023

In what appears to be the final chapter in my unplanned trilogy of Ukraine drone articles, Russia has stunned the world with its unrivaled ingenuity by showcasing its solution to continuous Ukrainian drone attacks.

By the way, you can catch my first two articles in this unexpected series here:

But in case you’re short on time, here’s a summary of where we’re at now…

Ukraine has been stepping up drone attacks deep inside Russia over the past several months. For the cost of a used 2005 Honda Civic, Ukraine has been destroying Russian military aircraft with price tags upwards of $5 million.

Bang for the buck.

As of this writing, Russia has lost 258 military aircraft in their war of aggression — a growing number of those are being destroyed while their planes are parked on the ground at airbases inside the Russian Federation — seven were destroyed by drones just last week.

These Ukrainian strikes reveal embarrassing weaknesses in Russia’s ability to protect its hardware inside its borders.

In my previous article, I outlined ways that Russia could better protect its aircraft, including increasing sentry personnel, moving aircraft deeper into the Russian interior, or moving more air defense assets from Ukraine to Russia.

But the Russian Ministry of Offense has gone in a completely different direction.

First spotted by the eagle-eyed analysts over at The War Zone, Russia is now placing tires on the upper surfaces of some aircraft in various patterns.

This newest force protection measure was then blasted out on Twitter (ahem, sorry, I mean X) by Ukrainian military reserve officer Tatarigami_UA.

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Wes O'Donnell

Army & Air Force Veteran | Global Security guy at War is Boring, GEN, OneZero | Intel Forecaster | Law Student | TEDx Speaker | Pro-Democracy | Pro-Human Rights