Russian Military is Full of Hot Air

via mailonline

They wouldn’t be much good in a dogfight. In fact, they wouldn’t be much good in a stiff breeze.

But despite their somewhat comical appearance, these inflatable warplanes and tanks serve a vital role in the Russian military.

Seen from even a short distance, they are indistinguishable from the real thing – meaning they can be effectively used to confuse and distract an enemy.

These inflatables are made by the Russian manufacturer Rusbal.

The company was approached by the Russian defence ministry to supply full-scale decoys to protect the true capabilities of their strategic installations from being seen by surveillance satellites.

Weighing around 220lb (100kg), the decoys can easily be transported and installed by small teams of soldiers in minutes.

They imitate the heat signature of combat units, fooling enemy infra-red detectors. And they even stay intact after suffering minor damage from bullets or explosions.

Demand from other nations has been so strong that Rusbal is now offering imitations of Western military equipment as well as Russian.

It is not the first time armies have used decoys to fool their enemies. Such tactics were used during the Cold War and extensively in the Second World War.