Decoy Weapons Boom
LONDON (CBS News) — The war in Ukraine has triggered a big demand for weapons, but one company in the Czech Republic is delivering deception to the front lines.
Located in Prague, Inflatech creates inflatable weapons designed to look like the real deal – from tanks to the powerful American HIMARS multiple launch rocket system. The company’s CEO, Vojtech Fresser, says, “without binoculars, from a distance, you can’t tell if it’s real or not.”
Inflatech produces a wide range of decoys, including faux fighter jets. Prices run in the tens of thousands of dollars, which is a small fraction of what the enemy might shell out to destroy them. “They’re wasting a weapon that costs 20 times more, so I win economically,” Fresser says.
Factory workers can stitch together about 4 dozen decoys every month using light synthetic silk. Most inflatables weigh around 200 pounds. A team of four can inflate one in about 10 minutes, and demand has been blowing up since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“We can’t tell you how many countries we sell to, we can’t tell you who we are selling to, but definitely we’re selling to a lot of governments around the world,” says Poven Kumaresan, marketing and sales manager for Inflatech.
While Inflatech won’t confirm they’re selling decoys to Ukraine, they say their goal is to waste Russian missiles. And the tactic might be working, Russia claims it has destroyed more than 40 American supplied HIMARS but the U.S. has reportedly only given about 20.