Posted by: futurevehicles | April 19, 2009

I despise war, but you have to hand it to those Russians.

I heard a story on the news today about the Russian military making full-scale inflatable replicas of their military vehicles ie. Tanks, trucks and APV’s, in order to fool unmanned military drones.

The inflatables emit the same heat signature as a regular vehicle and from a distance, look fairly realistic. It seems like a novelty when you first look at it, but I like to compare this tactic to a wolf dressing up in sheeps clothing.

Just so you know, I hate war and every person associated with it.

Shame on all those who designed these.

Here’s an article and a video.

Security is not all about super modern technology and powerful weapons. The Russian Army is being equipped with dummies and decoys: inflatable tanks, planes and rocket launchers.


Even from a distance of only100 metres, fake military hardware looks exactly like the real thing and it’s effectively used on battlefield positions and to protect Russian strategic installations from the eagle eye of surveillance satellites.

Their main task is to distract attention and protect real combat units from strikes.

All fitted out to their natural size, the equipment that’s intended to deceive the enemy is produced by ‘Rusbal’, a Research and Development enterprise in the Moscow region.

Read more

Channel One reports it’s been three years since the Russian Army began purchasing military dummies. Initially, mock-up models were made of plywood, rubber or plastic. But in addition to being heavy, those dummies looked unnatural.

Rusbal designers came up with an idea to inflate tanks like air balloons. That the new dummies look very similar to real military hardware is by far not their only virtue.

Aleksandr Talanov, the plant’s Director General, told Channel One:

“They can reproduce a radar band, a thermal and near infra-red band similar to those produced by night vision instruments. All these makeshift models appear as real hardware on all these instruments.”

The dummies irradiate warmth, making an impression of engines being warmed up and repel the radio waves of enemy radars as if they were real combat vehicles.

Image from

Moreover, to make the illusion more convincing a launcher, for example, can assume traveling or combat positions when photographed from air or from outer space.

Yury Stepanov, the enterprise’s laboratory chief explained:

“In a real district, a tank’s tower can be fixed more to the left or more to the right, so we show all these positions. There can be additional fuel tanks. The real vehicles can have them.”

It takes an inflatable tank four minutes and a missile launcher five minutes to be set up on the battlefield.

Aleksandr Talanov said that his company plans to create models not only with radar but also with radio-technical bands to enable them to imitate radio traffic and the appearance of working radar aids.

Still, the best way to make this sham equipment look real to spy satellites and reconnaissance planes other than to send a group of soldiers to allegedly service this hardware: they can mount guards, carry out repairs and engage in training.

In a long-term perspective, Rusbal plans to create dummies of all military equipment that is in the service of the Russian army. Well, maybe except for inflatable soldiers.

Whether it’s moral or not, dummies have been used throughout world history as part of military deception.



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