A Technical Twist Arises
Rather unsurprisingly, some of the Russian missiles are using highly sophisticated and effective penetration aids to avoid interception, which has surprised military analysts in the west.
There is precedent for this. During the US invasion of Iraq, US air forces had a nasty shock when they discovered that the Russian/Soviet supplied flares that much more effective that had been anticipated.
Given that various western defense companies have been claiming amazing results at intercepting short and medium range missiles, you see a report in Aviation Week & Space Technology on a regular basis, it is not surprising that Russia has developed countermeasures.
I would note that this significantly complicates any potential “no fly zone” because it means that retaliatory strikes against NATO airfields have a far higher possibility of success.
This may be a good thing, because it means that the crazy people in the US state security and foreign policy apparatuses won’t blow us all up in an effort to protect our, “Purity of Essence.”
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 a 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 use of the decoys may help explain why Ukrainian air-defense weapons have had difficulty intercepting Russia’s Iskander missiles.
Powered by a solid-fuel rocket motor, the Iskander can reach targets more than 200 miles away, according to U.S. government documents. Each mobile launcher can fire two Iskanders before it must be reloaded.
This could be an indication that the Russians are pulling out the stops, or it could be a shot across the bow of the interventionists who are salivating for war, or both.
Which, if any, of these is actually the case is above my pay grade.