It was confirmed during the war in Ukraine, that the 9M723K1 missiles of the Iskander-M missiles release decoys, designated 9B899. The first images depicting the decoys were circulated on the internet shortly after the war broke out. Back then, no correct ID could have been made, as it was suspected that the mysterious objects were among the submunitions released by cluster munitions.
9M723K1 ballistic missiles of #RussianArmy launched from Iskander-M system have always had a decoy inside to protect themselves from danger of anti-ballistic missile systems. People who have recently discovered them in #Ukraine think these have been recently installed on them! pic.twitter.com/yO63gA97Xn— Babak Taghvaee - Μπάπακ Τακβαίε - بابک تقوایی (@BabakTaghvaee) March 15, 2022
The Iskander system decoys are around 30 centimeters long and similar to the missiles. One Iskander missile features six pods in the rear section, ready to accommodate decoys that are deployed in-flight - it cannot be ruled out that this happens during the terminal phase. Each of the decoys emits an IR signal which incapacitates missiles using IR-seekers, that are unable to track the main missile releasing the decoys. Furthermore, the decoys feature RF signal jammers - this interrupts the operation of interceptors using an RF-seeker.
It remains an open question whether those decoys, which are several centimeters long, are an effective countermeasure that can defeat the Ukrainian, and other, missile defences. One of the Iskander missiles was reportedly shot down by the Ukrainian Air Defences over Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk area - as the Ukrainians claim. The Russians use the Iskander missiles, targeting both the military, and the civil infrastructure, to drive down the defenders' morale. There is proof that Russia is using cluster munitions with the 9K720 Iskander missiles as well.
According to the ArmyInform outlet, quoting the Pentagon’s spokesperson, starting from 24th February, Russia has launched more than 900 missiles, guided and unguided. It is estimated that the cost of all of the missiles used is somewhere between 2 and 3 billion dollars.
ISKANDERS, ISKANDER-M, Russia ISKANDER, Russian Armed Forces, War in Ukraine.