Russia Deploys a Mystery Munition in Ukraine

“American intelligence officials have discovered that the barrage of ballistic missiles Russia has fired into Ukraine contain a surprise: decoys that trick air-defense radars and fool heat-seeking missiles.

The devices are each about 1 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.

Each is packed with electronics and produces radio signals to jam or spoof enemy radars attempting to locate the Iskander-M, and contains a heat source to attract incoming missiles. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about intelligence matters, described the devices on the condition of anonymity.”

“The devices are similar to Cold War decoys called “penetration aids,” the intelligence official said, that have accompanied nuclear warheads since the 1970s and were designed to evade anti-missile systems and allow individual warheads to reach their targets. The incorporation of the devices into weapons such as the Iskander-M that have conventional warheads has not been previously documented in military arsenals.”

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