The Russian warship Admiral Essen was seen attempting to disguise itself in the Black Sea in Sevastopol on June 19 and in Novorossiysk on June 21, according to a report from Naval News dated June 22.
The Admiral Essen is one of the Russian Navy’s two Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates in the Black Sea. According to Nava News, the ship had been repainted, with the once-gray bow and stern disguised in black paint.
Thes ship is armed with an 8 Kalibr land missile - a type of missile that has been regularly launched at Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.
The purpose of the disguise
It is believed that the new paint job serves a strategic purpose, not just an aesthetic one. Naval News reported that it was likely an attempt to confuse Ukrainian drone operators into believing that it is a less valuable target. A fake bow and wake were also added.
The intention behind this action, according to Naval News, is to reduce the apparent size of the ship so that it is harder to identify from afar.
Historic use of naval camouflage
This is not the first time that such a strategy was employed - the German battleship KMS. Bismarck received a similar makeover during World War II.
Also during World War II, zoology professor John Graham Kerr advised then-prime minister Winston Churchill to employ similar methods, sending a three-page memorandum outlining his "method of diminishing the visibility of ships at a distance," according to journalist Peter Forbes' 2009 book Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage.