Sales of inflatable gun decoys peak as the war rages in Ukraine
DECíN, Czech Republic: A Czech company that makes inflatable dummy weapons, including Himars missile launchers and Abrams tanks, said Monday demand had surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began last year.
Inflated with an electric or petrol inflator, the synthetic silk baits are used to deceive the enemy on the battlefield by targeting the air-filled baits instead of real weapons.
Managers of the inflatech company have refused to confirm sales of their products to Ukraine, citing military secrecy, but admitted production has increased by 100 percent over the past 12 months.
“Definitely we sell to many governments around the world, not just in Europe,” sales and marketing director Poven Kumaresan told reporters.
He added that Inflatech’s three dozen employees currently produce 30 to 40 baits a month.
These decoys, including tanks, armored vehicles and even jet fighters, weigh between 50 and 200 pounds and require two to four people to handle on the battlefield.
Kumaresan said the company can come up with a new design in 72 hours if it has the exact blueprints of the original piece of military hardware, while it can take up to two weeks if it’s working “from scratch.”
He added that it took 60 days to ship a replica Himars rocket launcher after the order was placed.
Inflatech has so far released “dozens” of fake Himars rocket launchers while the real weapon is ravaging the Russian invaders in Ukraine.
Inflated to be blown apart
Inflatech’s products are classified as military material and must be approved by government agencies.
The Czech government said last month it had provided about half a billion dollars worth of military aid to Ukraine since the invasion began on February 24, 2022.
Vojtech Fresser, CEO of Inflatech, said one of the most important features was a faithful appearance.
“If I don’t have binoculars and I’m looking from 150 to 200 meters (yards) away, I can’t tell if it’s a real gun or a decoy,” he said.
The engine used to inflate the guns also emits heat that will fool the enemy’s infrared sensors.
He said the inflatable decoys cost between $10,000 and $100,000, much less than the rockets used to destroy them.
“If I force the opponent to destroy my product with something that is at least four times as expensive – in practice it is even 20 times as expensive – then I win economically,” said Fresser.
Kumaresan said the company is constantly upgrading its products to make the baits mobile in the future.
Inflatech, which originally made the lures for training purposes, used to produce toys or bespoke models to customer specifications.
“We produce customer-specifically. We are not an e-shop where you can choose,” says Fresser.
He added that there is “no cap” on production or product range and that the company expects rapid growth over the next three years.
“Of course I would rather produce toys for children. But first we have to make the world safe for them,” Fresser said.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch