Ukraine made realistic decoys of radars and missile systems and may have even tricked the Russians into taking a shot at one

  • New photos and videos show sophisticated decoys of Ukrainian weapons.

  • One mock-up may have drawn a Russian fire in what milbloggers thought was a real strike.

  • Both sides have employed decoys throughout the war, attempting to waste enemy fire or force the enemy to expose itself.

New photos and videos seem to suggest Ukraine has continued to up its decoy game.

One of the realistic mock-ups may have tricked Russia into wasting a missile on it, highlighting the role decoys play in the war.

Earlier this week, a video of a AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radar system decoy and a photo of an IRIS-T medium-range surface-to-air defense system decoy appeared on open source intel accounts across Telegram and X, with commentators noting how authentic the fakes appeared to be.

The video of the AN/MPQ-64 shows the system actually mechanically functioning with moving parts, an impressive feature that helps sell it as a real radar. And the IRIS-T SLM has a realistic-looking launcher able to lift up into position, giving the appearance of a legitimate air defense system.

As the footage of the decoys was shared online, reports of a successful Russian strike on a Ukrainian air defense system spread across Russian Telegram channels. Milbloggers praised the strike, sharing a video online of what they claimed was a real hit against an IRIS-T system in the village of Lisne in the Kharkiv region.

Ukrainian sources countered that the strike hit a decoy, not a real IRIS-T SLM, which had been placed there after the air defense site had been abandoned.

According to a Telegram post from Insider UA, a Ukrainian news outlet, Russia had launched an Iskander ballistic missile at the IRIS-T system. It compared the cost of the decoy weapon — roughly $10,000 — with the $3 million price tag of the missile.

Business Insider was unable to independently verify the claims that either side made, but Russia has definitely claimed victory after striking nothing more than a decoy in the past.

An inflatable decoy of an M1 Abrams tank.

The Ukrainian decoys seen in the recent photos and videos — fakes that appear a lot better than earlier attempts, such as wooden HIMARS, howitzers made out of pipes, and radar systems from oil barrels — are the latest examples of how both sides have employed decoys to trick and deceive force their enemy into wasting expensive missiles and drones in these attacks.

Back in December, Ukraine got Russia to expend a munition on what looked like a fake Su-25 ground-attack aircraft.

Russia has likewise used decoys. Satellite images have shown fake aircraft painted on the flight line at its airbases. In September 2023, Ukraine's 116th Mechanized Brigade published a video of an inflatable Russian T-72 decoy. At first, the tank looked somewhat deceiving, although the unit said they were able to identify it as a fake.

An expert previously said there's a "decoys arm race" underway in Ukraine, explaining to Business Insider that technological advancements are pushing Ukraine and Russia to make fakes appear as real as possible in order to fool the enemy, not always the easiest of tasks.

Read the original article on Business Insider