Ukraine uses wooden decoy missile trucks to waste Russian missiles

Ukraine uses wooden dummies to defend its American-made Himars missiles.

The fake kit was hit by Russian missiles, which are increasingly rare as the real M142 High Mobility Rocket Systems (Himars) support plans for a promised counter-offensive.

Washington sent 16 Himars to Ukraine, including an armored truck with six GPS-guided 227mm rockets bolted to a flatbed trailer. The rockets exceed speeds of Mach 3, or 3,700 km/h, at a range of 80 km (although this is apparently an underestimate) with an 80 kg warhead.

The Himars launch rockets at a target and quickly move away to a safe location.

GPS allows missiles to land within 3 meters of a target, Washington claims.

Kyiv is trying to close the gap with Russia’s arms stockpiles.

Russia has years of artillery munitions, Britain’s Royal United Services Institute reported in August. He said Russia was firing about 20,000 shells a day, compared to 6,000 fired by Ukrainian forces.

The himars reportedly hit Russian fuel depots, headquarters, air defense batteries, other key targets and communications networks. Russian troops away from the front are now aware that they are in danger, says Ukraine.

Russian military losses form the backdrop for the counter-offensive aimed at retaking southern Ukraine.

Moscow Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said hitting Himars was a top priority.

The location of the trucks is kept secret in eastern Ukraine with little fanfare on social media and they are normally used at night.

The Washington Post reported that full-size wooden decoys are regularly deployed and have been hit by at least 10 precision-guided subsonic 3M-14 Kalibr land-attack cruise missiles. They are launched from submarines and ships in the Black Sea and cost Russian authorities around $1.2 million each. As the war in Ukraine becomes more attritional, the resupply of precision weapons becomes a major challenge for both sides.

Retired US Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in July that the 16 Himars trucks sent to Ukraine could fire about 192 missiles a day, squeezing out a year’s production in less than two months.

The Himars’ M31 rockets are made by Lockheed Martin and are much more complex than the trucks that launch them. Each missile contains a complex computer with chips, antennas and processors built to exacting standards to survive high speeds.

Himar trucks. Photo credit: Wikimedia