Inflatech Decoy is a Czech company from Děčín which has become a market leader in the production of high-end inflatable models of real military equipment that can be used to deceive the enemy about real troop deployments. Their products are used for training purposes and, possibly, also in real ongoing conflicts. I spoke to Inflatech’s CEO Vojtěch Fresser and began by asking him how the decoys work and what their purpose is on the battlefield.
“Deception is very important for any type of conflict. Historically, [the ancient Chinese general] Sun Tzu said that the art of war is deception. For me the best solution to a conflict is one that never starts.
“Our inflatable military decoys can be used for training and practice. Especially, during electronic warfare training exercises when pilots need visual contact with the target and have to identify objects on the ground via their optical, thermal and radar sensors.
“This is how our inflatable decoys work. They work on three basic levels – they can generate a signature on the optical and thermal levels. This allows them to mislead the thermal cameras of the enemy and they can produce radar signatures that are same to those of real objects.”
That’s what struck me about your product – that it’s not just a simple decoy, but that it can generate all of these other footprints such as the thermal one. Is that something that is common in contemporary decoys, or is it something unique to your products?
“What is common is that they have to be very light because the difference between using the real metal object and the inflatable one is that the latter has higher mobility. It is important that these decoys can be inflated, deflated and packed within a space of 10 minutes. In order for the equipment to be considered effective, the team that operates the decoy needs to be made up of just two or at most four persons.”
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Author: Thomas McEnchroe