The Russian military is using a new strategy to maximize the effects of its missile attacks on critical Ukrainian installations. It sends balloons in an attempt to disrupt air defense systems and waste missiles on the Ukrainians.
You definitely see them everywhere! High-altitude balloons are all the rage these days. The United States has shot down four in recent weeks, including one identified as a Chinese balloon. A gesture that has inflamed tensions between the two countries. A political posture for the Americans, who now claim the right to destroy any flying object that is on their territory. But it’s not just over the United States that we see balloons. This is also the case in Eastern Europe. This week, Romania identified a balloon weather reportweather report lost at 3,350 meters above sea level. Its neighbor, Moldova even briefly closed its airspace because of an unidentified object which could be this same balloon. But it is above all in Ukraine that a vaguevague of balloons has appeared in recent days. Thus, last Wednesday, the day before an attack on missilesmissiles cruising across the country, six balloons were spotted over Kyiv, the capital. Their presence set off the air-raid sirens in the city. These balloons have also been spotted over the Dnipropetrovsk region in the east of the country in recent days.
These balloons carry a cross-shaped structure of rudimentary design. Equipped with reflectors, it is supposed to be used to decoy Ukrainian radar systems during missile bombardments. The idea is to disrupt the missile defense in order to get as many warheads as possible through without being intercepted.
Balloons to decoy defense systems
In the minds of the Russian military, the balloons should induce the Ukrainian army to waste very expensive surface-to-air defense (SAM) missiles on these targets. But, according to the army spokesmanairair Ukrainian, to believe that these balloons are going to be considered as missiles or dronesdrones, does not stand up. Ukrainian radars know how to correctly identify these balloons which evolve slowly by the force of the ventvent. The army also shot and killed two of them. Moreover, still according to the air forces, the Nasams, Iris-T and Patriot defense missiles would be able to discriminate these decoys from the real threats.
In addition to radar reflectors, these balloons could also carry reconnaissance equipment. The Kyiv military authorities collected the remains of those they neutralized for analysis. These are the same types of balloons that are used around the Kerch bridge connecting Crimea to Russia and that the Ukrainians damaged last October. In this case, the balloons are used to protect the bridge from missile attacks by seeking to lock onto that target rather than the infrastructure.