The Russian military is expanding its “ghost army” of fake tanks and jets with inflatable missile launchers to be used to fool enemy satellites and surveillance planes.
These new war machines are actually made of rubber. All fitted out to their natural size, they are aimed at distracting the enemy and protecting real combat units from strikes.
Even from a distance of only 100 meters, the fake military hardware looks exactly like the real thing, so it is effectively used on battlefield positions.
The decoys even omit the same amount of heat, so radars will identify them as true pieces of hardware. It means that the decoys can deceive not only enemy bombers and protect real hardware, but also fool satellites and secure strategic installations.
In addition, they are very light and easy to maneuver and replace. It takes just five minutes to assemble a full-scale S-300 missile launcher, and plastic and rubber models even faster.
Last not least, the rubber weapons are quite cost-effective. The price of one inflatable tank is 1 or 2 percent of the real machinery’s cost.
The idea has been mocked and criticized in both the British and Russian press. Some skeptics recommended Russia buy inflatable soldiers and generals.
Russian military specialists agree that an idea to expand the existing military potential with “toy” weaponry may at first sound ridiculous, but they also argue that such warfare may actually become one of Russia’s best purchases.
“Replica military has been used since Middle Ages because no victory is possible if you do not deceive your enemy,” military expert Igor Khokhlov, from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told RT. “For years, Soviet military doctrine was dominated by the experience of World War II. Now Russians think differently, because NATO countries, for example, rely heavily on air power.”