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KB-3 Spetsmash JSC
Special Design Bureau of Transport Engineering
VNII-100 Transmash of Leningrad
VNII TRANSMASH (St. Petersburg)

The tank design bureau of the Kirov Plant was converted into an independent joint stock company in 1991 named Special Design Bureau of Transport Engineering (Spetsmash JSC -- not to be confused with GSKB Spetsmash initially led by Vladimir Barmin). It designed and produced tanks for the military. In 1937, the Bureau became the dominant designer of heavy tanks. The series KV and IS tanks, as well as self-propelled guns SU-100, SU-122 and SU-152, developed by the Design Bureau, contributed greatly to the victory of the Soviet Army in the Great Patriotic War.

The All-Union Research Institute of Transport Mechanical Engineering (VNIITransmash) began its work in 1949. (order on VNIITransmash from 04.06.49 No.1) as the main institution in the fielding and improvement of military tracked vehicles (VGM), and since 1963. and in the field of the development of automatic chassis rovers. The Institute was founded in 1949 on the basis of the Experimental Plant No.100, which created heavy tanks and self-propelled artillery units during the Great Patriotic War. The task of creating the institute and its main areas of activity was to ensure the superiority of the domestic BTVT in terms of firepower, mobility and security over the best foreign counterparts.

The first years of his creative activity, VNIITransmash spent under the same roof with the tank design bureau of the Kirov plant. Many employees of the institute and design bureau for a long time preserved the creative and friendly relations laid down at that time by the chief designer J. Ya. Kotin. Laboratories, bench equipment and pilot production facilities were used together and contributed to the development of research in the field of applied problems. However, it was planned to create for VNIITransmash its own production facilities outside the territory of the Kirov Plant. It was decided to build a complex of buildings and industrial premises for the institute near Leningrad. At the same time, a rather acute problem of expanding the production capabilities of design bureaus was solved. The transfer of VNIITransmash to the premises built for it in the village of Gorelovo began in 1961 and continued until 1964. The design bureaus gradually mastered the vacated production areas, and the total area acquired by the design bureau after separation from the All-Russian Research Institute was 5900 m2. But this was not enough, despite the fact that in 1955 the design bureau on its own made a superstructure in one summer on the main engineering building of the fourth floor, which gave an additional 1200 m2 to design departments of the design bureau. In 1965, the production capabilities of the design bureau expanded due to the creation of a new assembly and assembly workshop with a high span, adapted for assembling not only tanks, but also self-propelled transport and launching installations. In 1967-1968, a major reconstruction of all the premises of the design bureau was made, including those that went after moving the institute. At the same time, further development of the test base of the design bureau was going on: a mechanical workshop and a laboratory building were built, where some laboratories were transferred from the main territory of the design bureau and placed there special larger-sized test benches, including an integrated test bench under load for all chassis systems on an already assembled machine. In connection with the increase in the number of KB employees, the problem of providing them with housing was very serious. On the initiative of J. Ya. Kotin, the design bureau built several Finnish houses in the village of Dachnoe, in which mostly families of young specialists settled. Later, in 1959 - 1960, seven brick two- and three-story houses were built on the same street, which were subsequently built up to 4 floors. All this, together with the housing construction of the Kirov Plant, to a large extent allowed solving the housing problem. The emergence of new and different directions in the work of the design bureau required structural restructuring. If in the 1950s the entire design bureau was divided into branch departments, each of which was engaged in certain systems, for example, engine or transmission, or weapons, etc., then for all new machines developed in the design bureau, separate structural units appeared in September 1961 . At the end of 1967, structural adjustment was largely completed. A tractor bureau stood out, headed by V. A. Polyachenko. The rest of the design team was divided between two design bureaus: a tank, which was headed by A.S. Ermolaev, and artillery systems and launch units, which was headed by N.V. Kurin. The so-called special electrical equipment bureau (TSB) stood out in a separate unit, combining electrical engineering laboratories and design departments. Headed this division I.A. Madera. Other departments were also created: laboratories headed by S. M. Kasavin, test department (head M. G. Pantyukhin), pilot production with mechanical and assembly shops led by G. T. Kabatsky. This restructuring significantly improved the further work of the design bureau. It should be noted that the deputy chief designer P. I. Kuznetsov, who enjoyed great authority among KB employees, played a large role in all these events. The institute has developed and applied the scientific basis of the theory of accuracy and efficiency of shooting, development and optimization of parameters of the complex of weapons, survivability and habitability, methods of calculating systems of motor systems, transmissions, systems of straining, reliability at all stages of the life cycle of armored weapons and equipment (BTVT).

In cooperation with the industry, the institute worked out technical solutions on nodes and chassis systems, weapons and protection for all new and modernized BTVT samples. Search efforts were carried out to create promising samples, their systems and nodes. The Institute was involved in the creation and modernization of more than 150 armored fighting vehicles, their modifications, as well as vehicles at their base, of which more than 100 vehicles were adopted.

Since 1963, on the initiative of S.P. Korolev, the institute begins work on space topics. The Institute has created automatic chassis of moonrovers, rovers, stabilized platforms for orbital space stations, equipment for the study of the physical and mechanical properties of the surfaces of the Moon, Mars, Venus and Phobos. About 30 models of rovers with different principles of movement and traffic control are made. The Institute was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1976 for his great achievements in the creation and development of the production of new equipment. The institute's staff creatively applied the experience gained in the works on military equipment in the creation of special purpose products.

In order to eliminate the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, a robotic complex Klin-1 was created in the institute in a short time (May-June 1986) as part of a non-crew-unmanned robot and control machine. To clear the rubble of radioactive materials in radiation zones unsuitable for long-term work of people in the institute in a short period of time (June-July 1986) was developed and manufactured complex Wedge-2, consisting of two specialized transport robots STR-1. In the development of the complex was used the backlog accumulated in the institute during the work on lunar rovers and rovers. The STR-1 consisted of a self-propelled chassis with instruments and equipment that provided the movement of the radio-technical system for remote control and bulldozer dump to decontaminate the territory. Since 1990, the institute's accumulated scientific and technical potential has been used to create civilian products.

Among the recent developments of the Design Bureau (KB-3), the modern T-80U tank fitted with a 1250 hp gas turbine engine, deserves special mention. The tank has embodied the latest advances in tank construction and armament. When the Soviet Union collapsed, two tanks were still in production: the T-80U developed by the Spetsmash Design Bureau in Leningrad, and the T-72B which had been developed by the Vagonka Design Bureau at the Uralvagon plant in Nizhni Tagil. Another significant development of the KB-3 during the pre-conversion period is a 203.2mm self-propelled gun designated Malka.

The former All-Union Scientific-Research Institute of Transport Machinery (VNIITRANSMASH) in Gorelovo formerly designed and field tested tanks produced by the Kirov plant, and now produces Kirovets tractors. Conversion of a large specialized design bureau is a complex process, particularly at the initial stage of transition to market economy. The transition of the Spetsmash JSC of the Kirov Plant has been no exception. However, the intensive search for customers for new dual-purpose vehicles and maintenance of solid production ties with the Kirov Plant allow the Design Bureau to cope with the conversion problems.

The Shtora-1 EOCMDAS (electro-optical counter-measures defensive aids suite) is one of the several unique features of Russian MBTs that distinguish them from the rest of the world. It was developed by VNII Transmash in St.Petersburg in cooperation with Elers-Elektron in Moscow, and introduced somewhere around 1988. This system effectively protects an MBT against the two most common ATGW types: wire-guided SACLOS systems (e.g. TOW, HOT) and laser-guided ATGMs (e.g. Hellfire, Copperhead).

The proposed building of a high-speed railway between St Petersburg and Moscow, reducing commuting time to three hours, is one of the most significant projects that saw the involvement of more than 50 defence industry companies in the design and building of transport equipment. The St Petersburg-based VNII Transmash, a principal research institute for armored vehicles, and Tikhvin AO Transmash (where the train was built) were previously part of the tank-and-tractor-building concern Kirovskii zavod.

By 2000 the design cell of the Kirov Work's former tank facility was back in the tank design business, with a new design for the St. Petersburg Two-Man Tank. At the heart of the new design is an armored module for the two-man crew. This element, with thick armored walls, occupies the center of the vehicle, with the powerpack to the front and the magazine and ammunition lifting device to the rear. The crew capsule is completely hermetically sealed and is provided with life support equipment such that the crew can operate 72 hours without coming out of the tank. It has been known that the Russian tank design infrastructure has been working on revolutionary new designs for some time.

The Armored Academy in Moscow has been concentrating on articulated tracked vehicles suitable for a variety of roles, while the Omsk bureau has been working on a tank with an unmanned turret. OAO Spetsmash in St. Petersburg, the design cell of the Kirov Work's former tank facility, was also involved in such work, although the tank line itself was closed down in 1991. Besides the concept design, it is also interesting that this marks the reemergence of St. Petersburg as a design bureau. The design comes not from VNII TransMash, the traditional tank advanced development center in St.Petersburg, but from the design cell of a former production unit. The Russian government has been nudging the two remaining tank production centers, Omsk and Nizhny Tagil, towards at least cooperation if not merger, for several years. St. Petersburg may be playing the role of 'honest broker' between the two, having no vested interest in the products of either center.

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Page last modified: 21-08-2019 18:27:33 ZULU