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Russians painting Tu-95 decoys at the Engels airbase

Russians painting Tu-95 decoys at the Engels airbase Russians are painting decoy Tu-95 aircraft at the airbase in Engels (Getty Images)

Russian military personnel are creating silhouettes of Tu-95 strategic bombers at the Engels airbase, according to The War Zone.

Satellite images from Planet Labs, captured on September 29, depict two-dimensional representations on the Engels airbase tarmac. These silhouettes may be constructed from fabric or canvas, but it is more likely that they are painted representations.

One of the painted aircraft even features tires depicted to make the decoy appear more realistic. It is worth recalling that in September 2023, it became known that Russians had begun equipping Tu-95 bombers with tires in the hope of protecting them from drone attacks.

Russians may employ decoys for various purposes, including potentially attempting to deceive satellites and disrupt Ukrainian operations. However, the publication suggests that this tactic is unlikely to be effective, as even limited commercial satellite imagery with high resolution can clearly distinguish between the silhouette of an aircraft and the real thing.

Indeed, the use of multiple sources of intelligence data, such as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imagery, can help discern that the decoy is not a three-dimensional object.

However, The War Zone suggests that Russian tactics might work with satellites utilizing low-resolution imaging. Terrorists might hope that in such conditions, erroneous targets could confuse drone operators, causing them to miss real aircraft.

It's entirely possible that such images may be intended to confuse infrared targeting sensors on weapons, as seen in guided missiles that employ autonomous image matching. How effective this strategy might be, though, remains unclear.

Attacks on Russian airfields

Ukrainian forces have been increasingly targeting airfields in Russia and in occupied territories in recent times. For instance, a recent incident involved a drone explosion at the Khalino airfield in Kursk, resulting in casualties and injuries among the leadership of the enemy's aviation regiment.

Furthermore, at the end of August, an attack occurred on the airfield in Pskov, where four Il-76 aircraft were destroyed, and several others were damaged.