In recent months, Russian forces have increasingly focused their efforts on taking out U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems in Ukraine.
The Western rocket launchers have proven essential to Ukraine’s defense, allowing its troops to push back invading forces in the southeast, take out supply bridges over the Dnieper River, and destroy a multitude of Russian ammunition depots. The missile systems were also used in offenses in Russian-occupied Crimea, and have destroyed more than 100 “high value” Russian targets in recent months. The weapons systems have even contributed significantly to Ukraine’s ability to launch a major counter-offensive in Kherson on Monday.
As Russia fights back – despite having nothing equivalent to the advanced long-range rocket systems – Ukrainian forces have resorted to creative tactics to prevent further HIMARS losses.
Decoy HIMARS Rockets
According to a report by The Washington Post on Tuesday, Ukraine is using wooden decoys designed to look like HIMARS missile launchers to trick Russian forces into wasting their missiles on them. The decors are designed to look enough like the rocket systems from the view of Russian drones.
Once located, the Russian drones send the location back to Russia’s cruise missile carriers stationed in the Black Sea. As Ukrainian troops stay clear of the decoy rockets, Russian forces waste valuable missile on striking those targets while the real HIMARS are hidden away and being used in combat elsewhere.
The information was gathered from interviews with senior United State and Ukrainian officials, and the outlet even claimed to have seen photographs of the wooden decoys.
One senior Ukrainian official told the outlet that within the first few weeks of implementing the strategy, Russian forces wasted more than 10 Kalibr cruise missiles on taking out the decoy missile launchers. As a result, Ukrainian forces have constructed more of the decoys and will continue to use them for as long as the strategy works.
The news could, however, prompt Russia to adopt a new approach – whether that’s flying drones closer to the targets to get a better look or refraining from striking Ukrainian positions until they have more information. The latter, of course, could prove beneficial to Ukrainian forces as they launch a fresh offensive to reclaim Kherson and other occupied regions in the southeast.
According to the report, Russia spent weeks completely unaware that the HIMARS systems their cruise missiles were destroying were decoys – suggesting that recent reports of Russian forces taking out the valuable rocket systems could have been wrong.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.
August 30, 2022 at 2:56 pm
I’m pretty sure Ukraine now will never cross the Dnipro river again.
They wanted a rump state, they have got it.
August 30, 2022 at 3:41 pm
Russia has and is still condeming the world to starvation deliberately it is tantamount to murder with holding the grain badly needed desperately needed for people to survive through out the world,what Kind of mind has this man I am telling you now he is a tormented pathetic despot lost in a delusional fantasy in his mind he cannot control, the man is an evil Russian terrorist head of the designated terrorist state russia, he aswe all know is a committed of atrocities,warriors and genocide in Ukraine and Syria and he’s a ugly thug a murdering little despot who is so obsessed and jealous of the Western life style alas he cannot have it so he will try to destroy it so Russians and other nations are kept well away from it by means of authoritarian governing of Russia and his allies do the same they are all tarred with the same brush and birds of a feather covered in black hearted oil,utter and vulgar nation of scum is Russia,shame putin came to power.
August 30, 2022 at 3:59 pm
Third paragraph says, ‘prevent further HIMARS losses’. There has been no confirmation of the loss of any HIMARS.
August 30, 2022 at 5:57 pm
And now Russia has to consider that any HIMARs spotted may be a dummy, and possibly waste a missile.