Russia Is Using a Novel Decoy Missile

'New York Times' reports it may be why Ukraine has been struggling to intercept missiles
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2022 11:42 AM CDT
Russia Is Using a Novel Decoy Missile
The Russian army's Iskander missile launchers take their positions during drills in Russia.   (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Ukraine has won praise for its ability to blunt the progress of Russia's military—see this assessment in the Conversation—but footage from Kyiv and elsewhere makes clear that aerial bombardments are still exacting a massive toll. One reason, reports the New York Times, is that Ukraine's anti-missile defenses aren't intercepting as many missiles as they should. And the newspaper sheds some light on a potential reason why—Russia is launching what are essentially decoy missiles that fool defense systems and draw their missiles. Here is how John Ismay of the Times explains things:

  • "The devices are each about a foot long, shaped like a dart and white with an orange tail, according to an American intelligence official. They are released by the Iskander-M short-range ballistic missiles that Russia is firing from mobile launchers across the border, the official said, when the missile senses that it has been targeted by air defense systems." The devices have electronics to jam or otherwise fool radar.
Photos of the missiles have been cropping up—see here and here—and they initially baffled observers. The concept has been employed in years past on nuclear warheads (in the form of devices known as "penetration aids"), but they've never been previously seen on conventional warheads, per the Times. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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