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British Intel reveals Russian forces use decoy submarine silhouette.


| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by the UK MoD on March 20, 2024, the Russian military has been found to employ sophisticated camouflage and deception strategies, known as maskirovka, in an effort to protect its naval assets and obscure its strategic objectives.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Decoy silhouette submarine next to a Russian Kilo class submarine. (Picture source: UK MoD)


Recent intelligence reports indicate a concerted effort by Russian forces to refine their maskirovka tactics, particularly within the Black Sea Fleet. This initiative is largely seen as a response to the substantial losses incurred by the fleet over the past two years.

Among the deceptive practices observed, Russian warships have adopted a distinctive camouflage pattern, with black paint applied to the bows and sterns of vessels. This tactic is believed to make the warships appear smaller, thus less attractive targets to adversaries.

Moreover, an intriguing technique has been identified wherein silhouettes of vessels are painted along the quaysides. This tactic is likely aimed at misleading operators of Ukrainian uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), creating the illusion of additional ships where there are none.

Context 

Throughout 2022 and 2023, the Fleet faced significant challenges and losses. Notable incidents include the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, reportedly by Ukrainian anti-ship missiles in April 2022. This event marked a significant blow to Russian naval prestige and capability in the region.

Ukrainian forces have increasingly utilized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and naval drones to target Russian naval assets, demonstrating an innovative approach to countering Russian naval superiority. These tactics have led to several reported attacks on Russian vessels, underlining the growing vulnerability of the Black Sea Fleet to asymmetric warfare tactics.

As of 2024, the Black Sea continues to be a critical theater in the ongoing conflict. Ukraine has intensified its efforts to challenge the Russian naval presence, employing sea drones and other means to attack Russian ships, as evidenced by the sinking of the patrol ship Sergey Kotov.


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