Hide and Seek: Russian camouflage equipment

The faster and less expensive, but not always applicable way to make the weapons invisible is simply to cover it with a net-like camouflage cover.

The faster and less expensive, but not always applicable way to make the weapons invisible is simply to cover it with a net-like camouflage cover.

Alexandr Kryazhev / RIA Novosti
Camouflage of military equipment allows for minimal losses of the valuable equipment. Even if the enemy is equipped with the latest intelligence, creative camouflage of weapons will hinder the aiming at, targeting and destruction of equipment. How are Russia's strategic and anti-aircraft missiles masked on the battlefield, RIR finds out.

Coloration

Camouflage coloration is among the most common methods used to make equipment invisible to enemy eyes, until the right moment. Changing the colour lowers visibility and distorts the appearance of the object. Like a chameleon, the equipment can mimic the background. That is why most of Russian T-72 tanks are greenish-brown in colour, prevalent through central Russia, while the T-90, taken to Peru for trials in 2013, were painted in “desert-steppe” yellow-gray to camouflage them.

Meshing

The faster and less expensive, but not always applicable way to make the weapons invisible is simply to cover it with a net-like camouflage cover. This cover is plaited into ribbons of dyed plastic film. The colour of the net depends on where the fighting is taking place; from ‘Arctic’ white to brown. Such a net maintains its shape even at extreme temperatures. Camouflage nets are not affected either by fire, or moisture, or mold, or direct sunlight. However, the net has a serious drawback; it only protects the equipment from optical detection by the enemy. Drones with photo cameras will not detect anything suspicious but, if equipped with thermal imagers, they will easily detect the hidden tanks or SAM (as their engines and guns are warmer than the ambient temperature).

Smoke-and-mirror

Another way is the use of smoke screens to ensure that the enemy is clueless about where military equipment is based. The smokescreens are usually several times larger than the masked objects, as though the equipment is hidden in a huge cloud. An aerosol veil (this is what masking with smoke is called) matches ideally with camouflage colouring or camouflage nets. However, since this masking method is unreliable, because it is possible to smoke-and-mirror the enemy only in clear, dry weather with low wind speeds. The higher the wind speed, the faster the smokescreen dissipates. Completely calm weather conditions are also undesirable, as well, while heavy rain dissipates the smokescreen without leaving a trace of camouflage.

Source: Artem Zhitenev / RIA Novosti 

Blow trick

A pneumatic deception device or “puffs” are more reliable than aerosol veils and can deceive more effectively. In a few minutes, an inflatable tank, aircraft or SAM is readied and, from the air, it is impossible to distinguish such “puffs” from the real thing. A pneumatic deception device is a frame covered with a pressure shell. Each device is equipped with thermal and radar simulators, power units and fans. The weight of each device can reach from 30 to 100 kilograms, depending on the type. Pneumatic deception devices can be transported by road, sea or air, and some can fit into a simple backpack. The Russian Defence Ministry plans to purchase inflatable models under the state armaments program until 2020. There is a special defence budget segment for “Purchase of camouflage and simulation equipment”.

Imitation

At the Ministry of Defence exhibition ‘Innovation Days’, held on October 5-6, a fundamentally new way to mask strategic missile systems “Yars” is being created. Special lasers will create enormous holograms imitating “Yars” launchers. According to the developers, this visual effect will mislead the enemy, displaying the launchers in places where they are actually are not, while the actual launchers will be blended in with the surroundings or other objects. There is no information about holograms being taken into army service yet.

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