Ukraine Says Successfully Duped Russia With ‘Realistic’ Fighter Decoys

A Ukrainian military commander claimed that his troops were able to dupe Russia into believing that it had successfully taken out Ukrainian fighter jets.

Last week, Moscow’s defense ministry released footage that purportedly showed an Iskander ballistic missile destroying a Ukrainian MiG-29 fighter jet at an air base near the central city of Kriviy Rih.

But a recent statement by Ukrainian Air Force commander Mykola Oleshchuk on Telegram revealed that the invading forces actually destroyed a “realistic” decoy.

He said the strategy was part of a passive defense measure to exhaust the capabilities of the Russian military.

“Thank you to everyone who helped with the top-quality mock-ups of aircraft and [surface-to-air] systems,” Oleshchuk wrote. “The enemy now has fewer Iskander missiles and more mock-ups will be delivered.”

An Effective Tactic?

Since the invasion began in February 2022, Ukraine has deployed various replicas of its strategic assets to trick the enemy.

In September 2023, steel and mining company Metinvest said it was producing several copies of M777 155-millimeter howitzers using old sewer pipes to be sold to Kyiv for $1,000 each.

A Czech company also disclosed that it had seen a spike in demand for inflatable decoys of US-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers and Abrams tanks for use in Ukraine.

According to Ukrainian officials, the use of mock-ups is meant to get Moscow’s forces to fire and waste drones, missiles, and artillery shells.

Even Russia is reportedly employing this strategy by painting images of fighter aircraft on the tarmac of its airfields in an attempt to deceive Ukrainian forces.

Oleshchuk said he could have gone silent about the latest development, but he decided to expose it anyway to “show the public that not everything is straightforward.”

It remains unclear if the five Ukrainian Su-27 multi-role fighters that Moscow claimed to have destroyed earlier this month were decoys or not.

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