Skip to main content

Ukrainian Iris-T SLM air defense decoy outsmarts Russian Lancet kamikaze drones

According to a Telegram post on January 5, 2023, Russian soldiers claimed to have destroyed an Iris-T SLM air defense system supplied by Germany to Ukraine using two Lancet kamikaze drones. However, several individuals have raised doubts about the authenticity of the targeted equipment, suggesting it may have been a decoy intended to divert Russian attention.
Follow Army Recognition on Google News at this link

Army Recognition Global Defense and Security news
Ukraine has employed various high-quality decoys and dummies as a tactical measure against Russian Lancet drones, as proven by this view of the Iris-T SLM decoy. (Picture source: Ne_Donskoy via Twitter/Julian Röpcke)

Notably, the absence of a command post or soldiers near the equipment in the video, which is vital for any air defense capabilities, has raised questions. Moreover, critical equipment of this nature is typically not left exposed in open fields or without proper housing. Additionally, discrepancies have been noted, including the different shapes of the cab seen in the video compared to the trucks used in the Iris-T SLM system. Rear-view mirrors, a common feature of trucks, appear to be conspicuously absent under the camouflage net.

Further examination of the video reveals a second rectangular block behind the cab, which differs from the spare wheels typically found in that space in Iris-T photos. The camouflage pattern on the supposed Iris-T SLS also raises concerns, as it does not align with the expected shape at the back of the vehicle, given the launcher's erector system.

Regarding the impact, we can see two Lancet drones targeting what is under the camouflage net. The first drone crashes into the base of this object, which might do the trick, as the drone can be armed either with high explosive (HE) or HE-fragmentation warheads. As for the second, he hits the flank head-on, right into the launchers.

If this was indeed a real working Iris-T SLM, with flammable fluids like gasoline and hydraulic oil, there should have been more visible smoke or even flames, perhaps even during the first impact. Additionally, the presence of missiles inside the Iris-T launchers would likely have resulted in a massive explosion on the second impact, given the Lancet's ability to cause explosions in better-protected vehicles, including tanks and self-propelled howitzers.

However, only a small piece was torn off the structure during the impact of the second drone, perhaps just a piece of plywood. Typically, when equipment is destroyed, the Russians and Ukrainians often document the aftermath, including fires, explosions, and plumes of smoke. There are no similar images in this case, although the Russian claimed destruction or damage of a highly symbolic target like a HIMARS was immediately documented.

Furthermore, this attack took place near the village of Krynychanka, in the Kherson Oblast, the same location where another Ukrainian decoy, resembling a Buk launcher, also served its purpose, indicating the presence of personnel skilled enough for such deceptions.

Ukraine Iris T decoy 925 002

Although of high quality at first glance, numerous small details prove that it is a decoy of the Iris-T. (Picture source: Ne_Donskoy via Twitter/Julian Röpcke and Timm Ziegenthaler)

This incident, therefore, highlights the continued use of "maskirovka," a military doctrine focused on deception, originally developed by the Soviets in the early 20th century. This doctrine includes various deception tactics, from camouflage to denial and deception. During World War II, maskirovka played a significant role in Soviet victories against Germany, influencing post-war Soviet doctrine. This doctrine has also influenced the military strategies of former USSR countries, including Russia and Ukraine.

In this doctrine, the term used for grouping decoys and military dummies is 'imitatsiya,' which can be translated as 'imitation' or 'mimicry.' In biology, mimicry refers to an evolved resemblance between an organism and another object. A common example is the stick insect, which, when observed from a distance, can be easily mistaken for a twig. The effectiveness of such mimicry lies in its convincing resemblance, which can potentially deceive the enemy, as seems to have been the case in this situation.

Ukraine has employed various high-quality decoys and dummies as a tactical measure against Russian Lancet drones. These decoys are carefully crafted to mimic genuine military equipment, with the aim of misleading enemy forces, safeguarding real military assets, and potentially diverting resources away from actual targets.

An illustrative example occurred on November 30, 2023, when a Russian Lancet drone targeted what appeared to be a Ukrainian Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft at Dolgintsevo airbase near Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine. Initially perceived as a successful attack, a closer examination revealed that the targeted Su-25 was, in fact, a well-manufactured decoy. The decoy exhibited detailed features, including digital gray camouflage and common markings. However, discrepancies such as a simplistic cockpit cover and irregularities in the engine nacelles and landing gear exposed its true nature.

Decoys are not limited to aircraft and encompass various military equipment types, including armored vehicles, rocket systems, and air defense systems. The production of these decoys involves meticulous attention to detail to ensure they closely resemble the original equipment, effectively misleading enemy reconnaissance efforts.

Ukraine has been producing these decoys for over a year, collaborating closely with manufacturers to enhance their realism and durability against reconnaissance means, such as drones. The effectiveness of these decoys is measured by their ability to attract enemy fire, protect genuine military assets, and cause the enemy to expend valuable resources on false targets. The range of decoys includes replicas of Soviet-era and US howitzers, radar stations, radio-electronic warfare equipment, and mobile systems like tanks or multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).


Copyright © 2019 - 2024 Army Recognition | Webdesign by Zzam