Military Review

Bombodel from Sarov

21 February marks the birth of David Abramovich Fishman (100 – 1917), the creator of Russian nuclear warheads, 1991.

The honored worker of science and technology of the RSFSR, Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of Lenin, two Stalinist and State prizes was well known to all personnel specialists of the nuclear weapons complex. He is from the Pleiad of the first developers. From 1959 to the last day of his life, Fishman supervised all design charging work at the All-Union Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Arzamas-16 (Sarov), creating a distinctive and effective engineering school.

Chief of charge

Born in 1917, Fishman was not only the same age as the great epoch, but also her work, and then one of the creators, becoming a master in the hidden from the general public business of developing Soviet nuclear weapons.

Before the Great Patriotic War, he started as a designer tank diesel engines at the Kirov plant, and during the war years he continued the business in the Urals. In 1948, he was transferred to the atomic KB-11 stationed in the village of Sarov (then Arzamas, and later the Gorky region). Over time, he became one of the leaders of this oldest center for the development of the Soviet nuclear weapons. The essence of the activity of the “atomic” designer seriously differs from all other spheres of engineering practice not only by its particular closeness, but also by the specific features of such unique and subtle systems as nuclear and thermonuclear ammunition. David Abramovich perfectly felt these subtleties, having gone from creating the simplest RDS-1 from a design point of view to the mature and extremely reliable charges that make up the nuclear weapons equipment and modern Russian systems providing containment.

The list of merit, titles and positions Fishman is quite long, but it all comes down to his main position in the end. And she - in the opinion of the uninitiated man - does not sound very loud. The formal top of his career was for David Abramovich the post of first deputy chief designer of the Charging Design Bureau (KB-1) of the All-Union Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov / Arzamas-16. And his main post was very young - in 42, and stayed on it, not having risen higher, until his very death on the eve of the 74 anniversary.

Bombodel from SarovNevertheless, Fishman entered the narrow circle of leaders and organizers of domestic nuclear weapons work as an equal among equals. His authority was first-class testing, and this was explained not only by his personal qualities, but also by the special position of the designer in the Soviet atomic project.

In any field of technical activity, the whole idea of ​​the engineering system, its physical, calculated and constructive appearance is the fruit of thinking, above all, of the main creator. For consultations and assessments he can attract scientists and researchers, but in the center he is a constructive person. This is a simple truth for aviators and rocket engineers, shipbuilders and machine builders, for tank crews and gunners, for the creators of new weaving machines and space ships ...

However, nuclear charge is a unique design in terms of its conditions of implementation, because the physical idea of ​​the charge is determined not by an engineer, but by a scientist. A theoretical physicist, not a constructor. The latter should materialize the scientific idea, embodied in the metal. The occupation for him seems to be familiar from time immemorial, but here for the first time the engineer had to materialize his plans not by him. In this case, the designer (and not the theorist) embodies any ideas into the metal (through the drawing stage). The most original idea of ​​the most talented physicist will remain only a game of the mind, if not adequately transferred to the structure.

In the Soviet atomic project, this objective feature of the new, unusual case was reflected in the fact that the chief theoretical physicist directly responsible for creating the first Soviet bomb, Yuli Borisovich Khariton, headed KB-11 as the chief designer. He was a student of Ioffe, Rutherford, Semenov, led the scientific management of weapons work, but, like any nuclear physicist, was not a designer.

Then who?

The special position of designers in the atomic project was also manifested in the fact that the leading figure was not immediately determined ... At first, these works were headed by Viktor Aleksandrovich Turbiner. Then he was replaced by the famous tank builder, Hero (later three times) of Socialist Labor Nikolai Leonidovich Dukhov.

A prominent role already at the first stage was played by the same age as Fishman - Vladimir Fedorovich Grechishnikov. Having become a Hero of Socialist Labor in KB-11, in 1955 he was appointed deputy chief designer (actually the chief designer) to the new facility in the Urals, but soon before the offensive passed away early.

Since 1959, thematic KB-11 and KB-1 have been formed as part of KB-2. Khariton was relieved of his duties as chief designer of KB-11, while remaining his supervisor. In exchange, the posts of two chief designers were introduced - on the development of nuclear charges and automatic systems for their detonation. The last was taken twice by the future Hero of Socialist Labor Samvel Grigorievich Kocharyants, and the first by Evgeny Arkadyevich Negin, later an academician and lieutenant-general. The first deputy Negin appointed David Abramovich Fishman. And until his death in 1991, he remained the same first deputy ...

However, Negin was also a “pure” gas dynamics scientist. Evgeny Arkadyevich, like Yuli Borisovich, was never engaged in construction. Therefore, the actual leadership of the engineering development of nuclear and thermonuclear charges in the country's largest weapons center fell from the spring of 1959 to the shoulders of Fishman. It was a difficult period. All types and types of Armed Forces were to receive weapons systems that had yet to be created and developed, and the nuclear and thermonuclear charges of the new generation were to be the basis.

In this initial era, Fishman managed a lot. Arriving at the facility at thirty-one, he quickly took a worthy place in the new business. However, the tasks were complicated and enlarged. Both the role and the importance and the responsibility of the designer for the quality and characteristics of the weapon increased. The charges (and now they needed a lot and different) needed to be made hardy, resistant to external and operational effects, reliable, safe, long-lasting from some “mimosa-impatiens” ... David Abramovich was responsible for this. And now he taught those who soon became the professional backbone of the design school "Pope Fishman": "In science, a negative result is also a result. At the designer the negative result is a failure. We have no right to make mistakes. ”

So it was. And it can be said that the “Fishman era” has begun. In a sense, he created charge-making with his approach to the certification of reliability and safety in a unique industry-wide quality system. After all, you will not experience a nuclear charge dozens of times in a full-scale experience, and the requirements for its safety are more than high.

David Abramovich enjoyed particular prestige at YuB - Yuli Borisovich Khariton, and this affected Fishman’s career in a meaningful way. When the Ural scientific research institute 11, which had sprung from KB-1011, unexpectedly lost Grechishnikov, they quickly realized that the best option would be to appoint Fishman as the main designer to the new facility. And here Khariton opposed. As a result, David Abramovich remained in KB-11, taking a unique place in his business. Nikolai Z. Tremasov, chief designer of the Gorky Scientific Research Institute of Measuring Systems, one of his colleagues in sredmash, an expert quite objective, competent and looking at the situation from the side, in his book directly said about Fishman: "Essentially the chief designer of charges."

In such a statement there is nothing offensive to the memory of Academician Negin - Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of the Lenin and State Prizes. Evgeny Arkadyevich entered the atomic history Russia as a magnitude bright, paramount and unique, but above all - scientific.

Thin assembly dap

Fishman got into atomic work with vast experience in designing diesel engines for mobile equipment, but here he had to start over. It helped that his close friend in the Urals, Grechishnikov, had been working in KB-11 since May 1947. Before the war, they met at the Kirov Plant, where Grechishnikov worked with a group of employees of TsIAM - the Central Institute of Aircraft Engine Engineering aviation diesel M-40.

By the time Fishman got into the Grechishnikov group, the engineering development of the RDS-1 was completed, and the first tests at the Semipalatinsk test site were coming. The issues of bringing the charge into a state of final readiness for a nuclear explosion became fundamental. It was at this stage that David Abramovich joined the work on the “firstborn”.

In the first days of the Spirits and Grechishnikov presented it to Khariton. The meeting was held in the Red House - so quick to nicknames, the facility's staff called a complex of intricate buildings made of old red brick, where the management of the famous monastery, the Sarov desert, once housed. The conversation was about the work plan for the construction of "units" (RDS-1).

The first open monograph “Soviet Atomic Project” edited by Academician Negin says: “D. A. Fishman is the author of a number of techniques that are most important for laboratory charge testing, the designs of the central parts of atomic charges that he proposed became prototypes for subsequent generations of charges ... ”However, at first David Abramovich had to deal not so much with the design of the charge as with its high-precision assembly into polygon conditions. And from this followed its uncommon role in the preparation of the first "full-scale" bomb test, tentatively scheduled for the middle of the 1949 year.

The fact that the first in the new business specialization Fishman was defined as a "ground", played in his fate the role is extremely positive. The involvement of RDS-1 in the preparation of field tests allowed him (and this, under the conditions of the then high “fragmentation” of the executors' functions to ensure secrecy) to familiarize himself with the whole technological “chain” of ammunition development, to establish the first wide acquaintances among representatives of related departments of KB-11, both performers and managers. As a result, the understanding of the place and value of individual "links" deepened.

In addition, he immediately came to the attention of the highest persons of the atomic problem right up to Kurchatov. He even had to catch a glimpse, but to shake hands with Beria himself, who had arrived at the training ground at the time of the tests.

Finally, there was an ideal place for the development of self-reliance and the acquisition of skills for organizing dynamic and responsible work. Far from the authorities and the facility, much before the test had to solve a lot and very quickly.

It was a school! And the Kazakh steppes, which housed the nuclear training ground of the Ministry of Armed Forces No. 2 ”(“ Two ”), soon became familiar to Fishman. He was an indispensable participant of all the first field tests up to the first RDS-6 thermonuclear charge, and then the stage RDS-37. In July, 1949 went to these steppes for the first time.

Its main activity proceeded in a building called DAP next to a metal truss tower, to the top of which they were to install RDS-1 for demolition. As reported in the building acceptance certificate from 4 August 1949, it was intended for the fine assembly of the test product. After a fine — final, with the installation of a plutonium core — the assemblies and the last checks of the RDS-1, they were rolled out of DAPF on a trolley and were lifted to the top by an 37-meter steel tower, where they were fixed. From this point on, the time until the explosion went on the clock ...

Building DAP ... What was behind this abbreviation? On the landfill among office buildings was a number of registered. So, the building on the site N, where the installation and control of special equipment of the product was carried out, was listed as one of the deputy chief designers of KB-11, Vladimir Ivanovich Alferov, and was called VIA. There were MAY-1 and MAY-2 - warehouses for storage and uncorking of elements of a collection charge from explosives. The owner of these buildings, fully responsible for them, was Lieutenant Colonel Anatoly Y. Malskyi.

And in the DAP, Fishman was in charge ... His position at that time was, however, small, but the responsibility and range of duties on the contrary was wider ... He even had his chauffeur - Babkin.

DAF was under the complete control of Fishman, he opened it, was present at all the works and participated in them. And he received guests and even some ... In the notepad of Fishman, a funny note is found: “DAP is a tavern with cocoa. I. V. Kurchatov with pleasure in the steppe supported the forces ”.

For David Abramovich, that was, of course, a high honor ... And although “his” building, unlike the other “nominal”, located on the site H in 10 kilometers from the center of the test site of the test site, was to become the first “victim” of a nuclear explosion and to evaporate completely in it, so “to be noted” in history is a rare merit.

Already in 2000, the head of the department of physical research, deputy head of the department of the Institute of Nuclear and Radiation Physics of RFNC-VNIIEF, laureate of the USSR Lenin and State Prize, Valentin Matveevich Gorbachev wrote: “Historically, the names of buildings and structures perpetuate the memory of many managers and senior workers, participating in the first nuclear tests. Among them is David Abramovich ...

The facilities were named after the leaders of the groups that carried out the work. Thus, the building associated with the preparation of the automation system of the experiment was called the VIA (from Vladimir Ivanovich Alferov), the structures of the MAY-1 and MAY-2 (from Anatoly Yakovlevich Malsky), the FAS physical building (from Flerov, Apin, the special department). The group of David Abramovich Fishman, engaged in assembling the main part of the charge, was located in the DAP building.

... These historical facts became known to me in 1959 – 1961, when our experimental groups conducted at UE-2 (training ground No. 2, that is, Semipalatinsk. - S. B.) USSR Ministry of Defense research on so-called non-explosive chain reactions (NCR) ... In the VIA, DAF, FAS premises, in those years, the preparation of works on the NCR was carried out: installation and calibration of measuring equipment, preparation of products, initial processing of experimental data, etc. The names of the pioneers-bombers were hovering over us during our work ... "

Nuclear sun over the steppe

The various stages of assembly and removal to the tower of the RDS-1 product were coded as operations “Forward I”, “Forward II”, “Forward III”, but before that they had conducted a series of training sessions. 13 August 1949 began experience number 1, the evening of August 16 - № 2, August 19 - № 3 ... Gradually revealed shortcomings, accumulated skills, allowing to act calmly and smoothly already on the day of the test.

And 27 August at two o'clock at night Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov approved signed by the head of KB-11 general P. M. Zernov, chief designer of KB-11 Khariton and his deputy Schelkin "Operational plan for final assembly and blasting of the product." Began irrevocable countdown countdown. According to the schedule before the experience remained 48 hours.

On the morning of 28, the highest leadership, headed by Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria, visited DAP. Nobody was “above the soul” at the gunsmiths, but Beria and his associates were given a natural sense of concern in the DAF.

The thin assembly of the RDS-1 in DAP started with a “piston” with a plutonium nucleus and a neutron fuse. After measuring the background of the “piston”, the stage marked on the “Insert the piston into the central part with parallel control background measurement” began. A team of Dukhov, Flerov, Shirshov, Terletsky and Fishman worked here.

The uranium “piston” with a plutonium core weighed more than twenty kilograms. And for some reason Fishman, who was not distinguished by a heroic build, dropped his bomb into the deaf cylindrical "well" of the bomb for some reason. And Avraamy Petrovich Zavenyagin, then the first deputy chief of the First State University, approached Fishman, the main collector at this stage, and felt his muscles in his arms: that you don’t drop it? Unusually heavy knot could really out of the hands and break ...

The charge assembly operation made one worry - insertion into the “piston” channel turned out to be a problem. The design was supposed to be extremely accurate, almost backlash-free due to the need to ensure the maximum possible symmetry of the explosive compression of the plutonium nucleus. Precise articulation of the plug-in parts in the armature channel is not an easy task. It required very high precision manufacturing and it was not easy to assemble such a pair of “cylinder-piston”.

The creators of the RDS-1 were familiar with Smith's book - the open official report of the US government on the development of the American atomic bomb. Through the years, Fishman wrote: “Equipment issues are becoming more significant ... An indication was found that the Americans had difficulty assembling before testing the first atomic bomb. A careful analysis of the difficulties in articulation with a particular structure led to the idea of ​​the need to conduct equipment strictly vertically. " But during the actual assembly in DAP, the “piston”, having gone to some depth into the charge channel, suddenly got stuck.

In Smith’s book, which Fishman also quoted, this possible incident was stated: “During the final experimental assembly, we had to endure several unpleasant moments when there was a delay with one important detail of the bomb. The whole unit was worked out mechanically with the greatest precision. The part was already partially inserted when it suddenly got stuck and did not move on. However, Dr. Baker did not lose his presence of mind and assured the group that only time was needed to eliminate the delay. Three minutes later, Bacher's words came true, and the assembly ended without further incidents. ”

Everything ended with us the same, because the same reason was: compression (compression) of air by a “piston” while advancing it into a deaf “well” ... When the air went out through the thinnest annular gap, the installation continued under the force of gravity and soon he took his place.

Then the assembly channel was closed with an explosive plug (BB), the last electrical socket was connected. It was three in the morning ... The cyclogram was soon followed by the stage of exporting the product from DAP and fixing it in the elevator cage. Then the RDS-1 was to climb the tower to explode.

Beria and Kurchatov stood in the free air by the tower. Schelkin approached them for permission to take out the charge from the DAF. Fishman and his assistants - employees of the plant No. 1 Mochalin, Rybin, Volgin, Sboev and equipment of the department No. 33 Izmailov and Timofeev rolled the product along the rails and installed it in the freight elevator cage. He walked slowly - he worked reliably at wind speeds of up to six meters per second, and the weather was getting worse, the clouds were quickly tightening the sky, and strong gusts could lead to an accident. At Fishman we find the record: “The deteriorated weather on the night of 28 on 29 of August, as it were, repeated the situation during the 1 American bombing in Alamogordo.”

There, before the test, the weather really turned bad, and also unexpectedly, contrary to weather forecasts. Fearing the vagaries of the weather, the Americans were forced to postpone the explosion for some time. We did the opposite ... Kurchatov, fearing surprises from wind and rain, decided to transfer the explosion from 8.00 to 7.00.

For 12 minutes before the blast, the automatic field was turned on. For 10 minutes, he turned on the heat of all the lamps in the instruments placed along both radii of the experimental field. Long minutes dragged on ... On 7.00 29 August 1949, the countdown of the reverse time is over. The real moment of "0" came ... And over the Kazakh feather-grass steppe that morning, as if the sun had risen the second time ...

Then there were the first joys of success, and behind them - years of hard work, new charges.

Fishman and his subordinates collaborated with the developers of practically all domestic missile systems and aircraft carrying nuclear weapons, with all types and genera of the Armed Forces. He worked with S. P. Korolev, A. N. Tupolev, S. V. Ilyushin, M. K. Yangel, V. F. Utkin, V. P. Makeev, A. D. Nadiradze, S. P. Invincible , V.N. Chelomey, G.A. Efremov, S.A. Lavochkin, P.D. Grushin, L.V. Lyulyev, G.A. Efremov, other outstanding designers and “defense industry” scientists. Everyone has their own traditions, approaches, attitudes, requirements ... And here it was important not to lose one's face with everyone, to defend the interests of the cause, not with ambitions, but with arguments and business considerations.

Fishman knew how. There were enough difficulties in his life, and it was not for nothing that he once wrote in his notebook: “I am sitting on the presidium, but there is no happiness.” But he nevertheless more than once experienced a feeling of happiness — a little human, big, personal, collective, and sovereign. And the secret why it happened so, in general, is not. He just worked a lot and honestly. In the name of business. In the name of the motherland.

Therefore, people remained gratitude to him ...

And over the years it is not exhausted.

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  1. parusnik
    parusnik 18 February 2017 15: 53
    Therefore, people remained grateful to him ... And over the years it is not exhausted.
    ..This is true .. one of the creators of the nuclear shield ...
  2. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 18 February 2017 17: 15
    Great Charge Designer. Thanks to the author for the article.
  3. V.ic
    V.ic 18 February 2017 17: 46
    (C) David Abramovich perfectly felt these subtleties,

    Bear Shifman Bashkovit -
    He has foresight. "
    V.S. Vysotsky "Bear Shifman"
    1. Out
      Out 16 June 2017 02: 15
      I don’t like something a surname, Fishman, as it’s not very, I think I’d like to translate it into Russian or something, would there be Rybin, otherwise it’s some kind of shame
  4. ImPerts
    ImPerts 18 February 2017 19: 47
    This is what prevented us from making a toy for the "civilized world."
    This is what made the “Western partners” think and did not finally solve the Russian question.
  5. midshipman
    midshipman 18 February 2017 20: 32
    Once in the military-industrial complex he met by chance with GB Chariton. Respected him in the country. We worked in various fields. But in the system that I created, there was a wave to undermine YaB. Readers noticed that Sakharov was not mentioned in the article. And he is the Hero of Socialist Labor. I have the honor.
    1. Camel
      Camel 22 February 2017 20: 05
      With all due respect, but still "Ю.B. Hariton. " request Well, and Sakharov, unlike Fishman, didn’t bring so much into the theory, and, especially, the practice of creating nuclear weapons. Khariton and Kurchatov, and many others participated in that award received the hero as part of the team.
  6. kuz363
    kuz363 23 March 2017 20: 55
    Why didn’t they remember Sakharov ... And he also participated!
  7. Severomor
    Severomor 27 December 2017 00: 24
    “They didn’t remember Sakharov ....”, L.P. Beria is mentioned 1 time .... so .. without initials.
    And Mr. Sarov remembers who was the main and skillful leader