| 30 March 2023, Thursday |

Czech company sees boom in market for fake tanks, HIMARS

Losing a tank or important American-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) can be less damaging to an army if the weapon is a low-cost inflatable decoy used to fool the adversary.

The situation in Ukraine has increased demand for heavy military vehicles, weapons, and aircraft, which has benefited Inflactech Decoys, a Czech manufacturer of fictitious military hardware.

Chief Executive Vojtech Fresser announced on Monday that the company has added HIMARS to its fleet of more than 30 different varieties of inflatable real-size decoys that it offers to customers worldwide.

Inflatech would not confirm Ukraine is among the destinations, but Fresser said he would expect them to find their way there.

“I can imagine that if we want to support a partner country which is in trouble, we will send them Inflatech inflatable decoys and they are already there or certainly will be,” he said.

The Czech Defense Ministry, which helps organize Czech military supplies to Ukraine, was not immediately available for comment.

The decoys are made out of synthetic silk and, apart from misleading the adversary visually, have a thermal footprint and appear on radars to fool enemy reconnaissance.

They pack into sacks that two to four soldiers can carry, and can be inflated within 10 minutes.

The HIMARS inflatable top, without the heat generator and compressor equipment, weighs 43 kg, Fresser told reporters at the company’s factory in the northern Czech city of Decin.

The decoys cost from $10,000 to $100,000.

“If you lead the enemy to destroy my piece of equipment by something that is four, or maybe 20 times more expensive, then you are winning economically,” Fresser said.

Inflatech has seen its business boom over the past year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, raising production to dozens of decoys per month, and sees big growth this year – in tens and maybe over 100%, Fresser said.

  • Reuters