Russia Painting Fighter Jet Decoys on Airfields Amid Heavy Losses: Intel

The Russian military has been painting images of fighter aircraft on the tarmac of its airfields in an attempt to deceive Ukrainian forces, a recent UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) intelligence report has revealed.

The move comes as the invading forces have reportedly suffered a massive loss of warplanes due to Kyiv’s sophisticated air and ground defense systems.

The intel report included a satellite picture of an Su-30 fighter aircraft decoy painted on the concrete of Kirovskoe Airfield in occupied Crimea.

It said similar paintings have also been spotted in at least 12 more Russian air bases, demonstrating the country’s large-scale use of deception.

According to the MoD, Ukraine’s successful strikes on Russian military locations have likely spurred Moscow to implement a number of decoys to “obfuscate Ukrainian targeting efforts.”

Faulty Deception Technique?

Despite the decoys, the Russian military appeared to have made a costly mistake in its use of deception.

In a photo shared by the UK MoD, a Russian Air Force helicopter had landed on one of the painted planes on the tarmac, undermining the country’s efforts to confuse Ukrainian drone surveillance.

The appearance of painted decoys on Russian airfields would betray the lack of strength of a specific airbase, which Moscow is “likely trying to mask from Ukraine’s intelligence picture.”

Russian Aircraft Losses

Last month, the Ukrainian military reported downing 13 Russian warplanes in a span of two weeks.

The list includes 10 Su-34 fighter bombers, two Su-35 fighter jets, and a rare A-50 military spy plane.

Prior to this, the war-ravaged nation claimed to have destroyed another A-50 aircraft and three Su-34s in a single day over eastern Ukraine.

On Friday, a powerful Ukrainian drone attack reportedly destroyed at least six Russian military planes at the Morozovsk air base in Russia’s southern Rostov region.

Another eight were also heavily damaged, according to a security source in Kyiv.

In total, Russia has lost about 670 aircraft – 345 planes and 325 helicopters – since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022, said Kyiv’s General Staff.

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