Are Russian 'weapons' just filled with hot air?

The same technology that produces bouncy castles is reportedly a part of Russian military strategy.

MIG-31 fighter jets, T-80 tanks and even a S-300 missile system are all available for sale from a company called Rusbal— and all of them are as solid as a hot air balloon and as deadly as a bouncy castle from a child’s birthday party. The inflatable decoys, which look real from the air, are part of a Russian military strategy that includes deceit and confusion, The New York Times reports.

“There are no gentlemen’s agreements in war,” Rusbal’s director, Maria Oparina, told The New York Times about the idea of trickery in battle. The company is said to provide the decoys to the Russian Ministry of Defence.


The inflatable weapons are made from fabric, not rubber, a material that can withstand punctures better, according to the Times. In the company’s factory, where about 80 people work, employees use sewing machines to construct inflatable tanks and the like.

The company’s website— which features a tagline of “Fantasy from air”— advertises some of its inflatable military products, and offers plenty of other fun inflatable creations as well. Among them are an inflatable Kremlin, an inflatable penguin, and even an inflatable Russian doll that stands over eight feet tall, according to the site.

Deadly force, indeed.