Military Review

Excellent performance. What are the prospects?

Excellent performance. What are the prospects?In Russia, the second decade there is no mass production of anti-tank grenade launchers

Most of his life, this man gave "Basalt." More precisely - to the scientific design work and the introduction into mass production of anti-tank grenade launchers for the Ground Forces: LNG-9, RPG-16, RPG-18, RPG-22, RPG-26, RPG-27 with various shots, as well as shooting at different targets, as well as shooting at different targets, as well as shooting at RPG-7, RPG-80 and RPG-XNUMX. RPG-XNUMX. Many of its development adopted by the Air Force and Navy. Recently, he turned XNUMX years, but he is alert and can boast not only a sound mind, but also a phenomenal memory. Meet - Evgeny Ivanovich Dubrovin.

- Yevgeny Ivanovich, what is the novelty of the world's most famous anti-tank melee complex - RPG-7? And what were the greatest difficulties of its creation?

- I’ll start with the prehistory that close combat generally arose during World War II, when it was not possible to give artillery to the Ground Forces in tank dangerous directions, and the military realized that the infantry itself should be able to fight tanks - down to the company, platoon, and even to the individual soldier. The first anti-tank grenade launcher - a jet gun - appeared among the Americans, who first used it in Africa. The Germans, as soon as they captured this trophy, immediately reproduced this gun and put it into production. And at the same time began to develop a series of "Panzerfausts." In the memo for the soldier it was written: "Panzerfaust is your anti-tank gun." In my opinion, the meaning of close combat lies precisely in this phrase. 70% of our tank losses during the capture of Berlin were from the Faustpatrons. And this was the impetus for the fact that in the Soviet Union, even with a delay, they began to develop anti-tank grenade launchers. Finally, in 1949, an RPG-2 grenade launcher was adopted. But, when they began to master its mass production, a significant drawback appeared - deformation of the tube of the grenade stabilizer, which could even lead to premature operation. Already in serial production I had to change the design documentation and replace products that were already in the army’s warehouses. Between 1949 and 1961 no new grenade launcher was created in our country. Everyone - both designers and superiors - had plates of comparative characteristics of domestic and foreign samples, according to which it was clear that there were a good two dozen such samples abroad, and we had nothing. And so, when we surrendered the “seven” with a direct firing range of 330 m, we not only replaced the RPG-2 with the same indicator of 100 meters, but immediately went up to a much higher level compared to foreign models. At that time, there was nothing better than RPG-7 in the armies of the whole world, and if we speak essentially, then there is nothing better today!

Yevgeny Ivanovich DUBROVIN was born on December 17 1929 in Arzamas, Gorky Region. In 1953 he graduated with honors from the Leningrad Military Mechanical Institute. In 1953-1957 worked as a design engineer, senior engineer, deputy. Head of SKB at the plant them. S.Ordzhonikidze in Chelyabinsk. In 1957-1958 - Head of the sector in Pavlograd SKB. 1958 to 1994 Worked in GSKB-47 - GSKBP - NPO "Bazalt" - SNNP "Bazalt" in various positions: chief engineer, head of department, deputy. chief designer directions, deputy. Head of the SCPP - Head of Department, Deputy Chief of the State Specialized Design and Construction Department for R & D - 1 Chief of the HCSP, Deputy gene. Director of Research and Development GNPP "Basalt" - 1-th Deputy. gene. Director of the GNPP "Basalt". Author of more than 300 scientific reports, more than 10 of printed scientific articles, 39 inventions, most of which are introduced into production. Winner of the Lenin Prize (1978 g.), State Prize of the USSR (1989 g.). He was awarded the Order of Lenin, the Labor Red Banner, three medals. He is married, raised two children, has a grandson.

And the most difficult element of working out the "seven" was, of course, a shot, since the very starting device in the RPG-7 carries a small load - all the energy and all the "charm" of this system lies precisely in the shot. In the 1958 year, when the State All-Union Design Bureau No. 47 (later “Basalt” - author's note) was assigned to be the head company for the development of anti-tank grenade melee complexes, it was a problem of enormous complexity. Based on the probability of hitting a tank, for example, the requirement was set that all shots at a range of a direct shot of 300 meters should fall into a square of 2x2 meters. At certain moments this task put us in a dead end - at that time it was believed that it was technically impossible to provide such accuracy to a shot with a jet engine operating on a trajectory. In addition, when a jet engine is in operation, the wind spins the axis of the projectile and it is not demolished downwind, but goes to the wind. And for this reason, the first "seven", which passed, at a distance of 300 meters had wind demolition 1,8 meters per meter of the lateral component. It was on these problems: the working out of accuracy, the working out of armor penetration — and almost all the forces were concentrated. At the same time, of course, they tried to minimize the burden on the soldier’s shoulders.

The requirement for armor penetration was given to us - 260 mm along the normal. The charge to the shot for us was worked out by the scientific research institute-6, because due to the clear distribution of responsibilities between the institutes we did not have the right to design the combat unit. But one of our groups, headed by Vasily Petrovich Zaitsev, still developed its own version of the shaped charge. As a result, at the technical project stage, we presented both options to the technical department of the ministry. There they were compared in terms of technology, armor penetration, technology, and they decided to assemble a shot of the “seven” with a projectile with a shaped charge, used by GSKB-47. Since then, the cumulative charges worked out ourselves. And, a little running ahead, I will say without boasting that the best cumulative charges in the Soviet Union and in the world have been worked out in GSKB-47.

However, the issue of ensuring accuracy was accompanied by the “seven” to the end, even in mass production. When an RPG-1961 grenade launcher with a PG-7В shotgun was adopted in 7, it was a technically based decision to consider the accuracy of 0,6X0,6 meters at a range of 330 meters direct shot acceptable. A good grenade launcher turned out, and accuracy in the wind left much to be desired. But later on the shots PG-7ВМ and PG-7ВС, we still reduced wind demolition by 1,8 times and provided the accuracy indicator 0,5х0,5 m.

- Please tell us more about the stages of evolution of shots to the RPG-7 up to its highest level - PG-7BP (for which you received the State Prize in the 1989 year).

- When we looked at the results on the accuracy of the RPG-7, we immediately formulated proposals for the development of a new shot. And in 1969 I passed, as I believe, the best shot on external ballistics, which now exists for the “seven” - PG-7ВМ. But even after this, our cumulative workers constantly conducted work to improve cumulative combat units. When, in 1973, in the 72 mm caliber, a PG-7 BC shot was developed with a more advanced cumulative charge and a more powerful explosive from the mark ogol, they increased the armor penetration from 300 to 400 mm. I do not know what decoding the letter “C” has, I personally decode it as “perfect”. PG-7ВС - this is the most perfect shot by the ratio of the direct shot, mass and armor penetration.

With the advent of the requirements for penetration of composite armor, which were formalized into two types of armored vehicles, it was necessary to sacrifice the characteristic of the direct shot range (reducing it to 250 meters), but increasing the caliber and weight of the warhead. The diameter of the warhead of the shot was changed from 72 mm to 90 mm, and the mass of the explosive charge of explosives of the mark “okfol” increased. So in 1977, our army received a PG-7LV ("Beam") shot, which at that time was piercing the armor of all existing tanks in the world.

The impetus to the next development was the events in the Middle East, when messages from there began to come in that the G-7s were not being punched by old American M-48 tanks, with which Israel fought against Egypt. It turned out that the Israelis had installed so-called reactive armor on the tanks (in our terminology, dynamic protection). We call this dynamo-reactive protection “soap cases” - boxes with metal plates at an angle and plastic charge of explosives. When a projectile hits a soapbox, a shock wave is formed with shards of plates that disrupt the cumulative jet, reducing 50% or more armor penetration. Upon learning of this, we immediately began research work on creating a shot that would overcome this dynamic defense. For a long time they worked to create a tandem warhead to increase armor penetration, and ultimately the first in the world to work out such a grenade shot - PG-7BP called “Summary”. Our tandem shot consists of two charges: the first removes the dynamic protection and makes the hole as large as possible in diameter, after which the cumulative jet of the second charge pierces the tank armor. For the precharge, the caliber 64 mm was chosen and it was equipped with a conventional piezoelectric fuse, which ensured the normal firing of the shot at angles up to 70 degrees from the normal. The main charge is made in caliber 105 mm and is equipped with a bottom fuse, which is triggered by the explosion of the first part with some delay. Acceptance tests on mass production showed that 80% grenades (from the number of punched) punched 800 mm of armor instead of the specified 600 mm. This shot - PG-7BP (“Summary”) was handed over to 1987, in 1988, it was put into production and put into service, and in 1993, it was first shown at the international exhibition in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Thus, the "seven" today ensures the defeat of all modern tanks, including those equipped with dynamic protection. We immediately put the tandem warhead developed in the Summary into the Tavolga disposable system - the RPG-27 and the PG-29В shot to the reusable Vampire grenade launcher - the RPG-29. It is to this day the best examples of manual anti-tank weaponsbecause in our country after my retirement, no new cumulative shots to grenade launchers have been created.

- It is noted that the work of GSKB-47 specialists was fruitful because it was a closed-cycle enterprise that included design development, manufacturing, and testing. How did this factor affect the work on the LNG-9 - “Spear”?

- “Nine” was put into service in 1963 year instead of the outdated LNG-82, recoilless B-10 gun with a cumulative mine and instead of anti-tank 57 mm ZIS-2 cannon, which pierced 1000 mm armor during the removal of 105 meters and armors. tons. For comparison: the LNG-9 had a direct shot range of 800 meters, an aimed range of 1300 meters, and in armor penetration in 3-4 times exceeded the above-mentioned gun, which, in general, won the last war.

We put forward the subject of an easel grenade launcher, on the basis of the results of research, which significantly accelerated the work as a whole. The production capabilities of the enterprise allowed us to design the ballistic barrels of grenade launchers ourselves, to make them in our homework, and to start their development, regardless of the state of work of the subcontractors. Customers set requirements: the weight of the complex is 30 kg, the armor penetration of the shot is 300 mm, the shot entering the barrel after the 35 shots without cleaning the grenade launcher for 5 days. The problem with the weight was up to the introduction of the LNG-9 into service, and we finally proved that less than 50 kg would not work. With the caliber of the barrel 70 mm, we squeezed everything possible from the weight of the grenade, while ensuring the required armor penetration. We have a group on accuracy - 7 shots. They made them, made the necessary measurements in targets, charge the eighth shot - does not go into the barrel! Because of soot. What to do? They came to the conclusion that it is necessary to make a centering belt 1,5 mm thick on the head of the shot, which would scrap the resulting soot. So a very original caliber appeared - 73 mm. And, again, the production capabilities of our design bureau helped us to get out of this situation very quickly: they carried the grenade launcher from the ballistic platform to the machine shop with instructions to bore it to the required diameter, and the very next test sample was ready the next day.

Then they went to the training ground, shot out on an armor plate, but there is no one-hundred percent penetration. To average the eccentricity of reactive power and improve the accuracy of the battle, the grenade was cranked up. At that time, the NII-24 was the developer of all the shells, and it was believed there that if the fired projectile makes up to 3-x thousand revolutions per minute, then this does not affect its combat characteristics. Our grenades made no more than 2,5 thousands of turns, but then we found out that the reason for the failures is still in them. The fact is that we have so fully worked out the cumulative part of the shot that these turns worsened armor penetration. To reduce the number of revolutions required to replace the stabilizer blades - "feathers". We had “blanks” for the next test stage, so we quickly “drew” and made the necessary number of different options. Then, in our test site, we began to choose the variants of the “feathers” according to the accuracy of the battle, immediately reporting them to the testers at the Sofrinsky research and development site, who, in turn, had already fired armor at the test site. In this case, the tail of the shots changed directly on the position, which was not encouraged, but we were allowed. And so for some 3 of the day, we chose the right version of the plumage. And if they acted according to the rules, in a planned manner, it would take 5-6 months to organize this process.

The director of our GSKB-47 was then Dmitry Dmitrievich Rukazenkov, a very witty and talented person. When something did not work out for us for a long time, he first of all received in the higher instances: in the ministry, in the military industrial complex and in the Central Committee - wailing out, scams and all sorts of suggestions. But I never transferred the tension of the governing bodies to us, the developers. We were always loyal to us, and we never received a single punishment from him. That is, I always tried to create a working environment for us: “Guys, do it, look for it and find it!” That was a paternal, then the attitude of the leadership towards us was amazing.

RPG-7 is so easy to use that even a woman can use it effectively.

- Can we say that all the products developed with your participation were widely tested in Afghanistan?

- There is such data: in Afghanistan in the first 3 months after the introduction of our troops there, 30 thousands of shots were spent for the RPG-7 in the absence of armor clamps. And why? These shots were very effective in dealing with the firing points in the mountains and dvulyah, so their consumption was great. And the "nine" has proven itself in the defeat of these firing points. There was such an episode: I was once invited to my office by the Minister of Defense Industry of the USSR, Finogenov Pavel Vasilyevich, when he had the head of the Frontier Forces, Army General Vadim Aleksandrovich Matrosov. From the point of view of Finogenov, I needed to be present there as a developer of weapons that are used by Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Even without knowing that I am the developer of the Nines, Matrosov says: “LNG-9 is what kind of weapon we need ... In the guns of the rifle-“ borax ”. When they hit from the mountains sighting on 600 meters from somewhere, we cannot do anything with these arrows with machine guns - there is no escape from them. But from the LNG-9 we remove any firing point from the first shot. ”

- And you yourself did not have to travel to Afghanistan?

- In Afghanistan, no. But in April, 1982, I happened to be on a mission in Iraq, where, so to speak, "alive" appreciated the capabilities of various means of defeating tanks. I was already in the rank of first deputy director of the NGO Basalt, and went there as part of a solid delegation of representatives of the national defense industry, just during the Iran-Iraq war. Our task was to study the defeat of armored vehicles on both sides - with what weapon and what type of defeat is being applied. The trip was very informative, since the Iraqis were fighting offensively at that time, and took all the wounded equipment on trailers inland. We were allowed to all tank repair plants, warehouses or special scrap sites, having a unique opportunity to inspect any equipment. There was presented a fairly wide range of British, French, Soviet tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Everything was very informative, but I was, above all, interested in the defeat from cumulative shells.

For example, I remember the blown up English tank “Chiefen”: from the explosion, it opened up all along the weld seams. At the entrance holes, a “seven-dimensional” hit was clearly guessed, then the cumulative jet apparently hit the 120 mm projectile, and in its high-explosive warhead, which detonated, and from this the power of the explosion increased many times. There could be no such consequences from the cumulative jet itself, but due to the secondary explosive effect, the tank literally “glowed” from all sides. Unfortunately, I watched another sample - our tank T-72. There, a cumulative jet of a grenade launcher shot, breaking through the turret, got into the ammunition, from the explosion of which the tower was blown off, and the whole tank was turned upside down. Just one hit!

- Our experts borrowed any foreign developments in creating their anti-tank grenade launchers?

- In close combat, we did not have a single foreign sample, only textual information, which was used mainly to assess our level of development. Although the creation of the first one-off system "Fly" - RPG-18, without further ado, borrowed a constructive scheme of the American M-72 grenade launcher. But only because they did not have anything but an image for M-72. Creating the "Fly", we used only our own materials and technical solutions, fixings. Therefore, these grenade launchers are completely different - they differ in caliber and in other TTX. And, starting with the RPG-26 with the conditional name "Aglena", our disposable samples began to significantly exceed foreign ones even in operational terms.

- Your products are in service with fifty countries of the world. What is most pleasing to you: the fact of their worldwide fame or reports on the effectiveness of their work?

- I was certainly pleased with the information about their combat use, which we receive from the press and used to receive from sealed sources. For example, such as the report of the US Deputy Secretary of Defense to the Congress in the middle of the 80s. Defending the next year’s draft budget, he said that the Soviet Union had an absolute advantage on melee anti-tank weapons, having armed with LNG-9 and constantly improving the shot to RPG-7. To get such an assessment from the Americans was very flattering. When the war was going on in Vietnam, I also happened to read some report of the American military. Its meaning was reduced to the fact that the "seven" is very popular among the Vietnamese - the Americans have never found an abandoned RPG-7, they only saw this grenade launcher near the bodies of the dead Vietnamese soldiers. It also speaks of great confidence in our weapons.

But what a drawback: in our country, 20 has not been mass-produced for the anti-tank grenade-launched melee complexes and their ammunition for years. Products that are now stored in the army warehouses, we guarantee trouble-free operation for 10 years, and then their technical characteristics are reduced. What's next? In the USSR, the "seven" did 2 mechanical plant and 2 equipment factory. RPG-7 produced more than 3-million shots a year! Anti-tank ammunition was not even enough - we were still in Bulgaria ordered a shot of "Modern" - PG-7ВМ. Ammunition needs to be updated regularly, and now there is no mass production - that's what's scary.

After the Georgian events occurred, our officer in the television report told how he had knocked out a tank from the "seven": he waited until the tank turned to him with the back of the tower, where there was no dynamic defense, and only then fired. He waited for this moment, since the grenade launcher was with a PG-7ВМ shot. And where is PG-7BP - “Summary”? Moreover, the RPG-7 is available in the state in each motorized infantry unit. It turns out that even advanced units of the troops did not supply tandem shots. In this regard, we can also recall television reports from Chechnya of the past years, after reviewing which it became unclear why our soldiers there are fighting “sevens” with “Ray” - PG-7LL shot, and the militants, to my surprise, show more modern shots in front of the cameras “Summary "- PG-7BP.

In the second half of the 80-s, the arsenal of RPG-26 - Aglene, RPG-27 - Tavolga and RPG-29 - Vampire were adopted by our army. Unfortunately, the mass production of the last complex did not start - they released an experimental batch and sold it abroad. Then there was information that our RPG-29 participated in the fighting in the territory of Lebanon, and a very substantial number of Israeli Merkava tanks were hit by these tandem shots. It was curious, of course, to hear that our product was successfully working in one of the most advanced tanks in the world. But, believe that it would be more pleasant for us, developers, to realize that this formidable weapon serves as a reliable protection for our fellow citizens.
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  1. Draz
    Draz 12 May 2011 18: 54
  2. lars
    lars 12 March 2012 08: 49
    Oh! What old people leave request
  3. rustron
    rustron 25 March 2013 18: 10
    I worked at the Bazalt NPO branch near Moscow and participated in the creation of RPG-22 and RPG-28. I can say that Evgeny Ivanovich is a rare gift a person combining a talented designer and organizer. I spoke to him more than once about current work, and he always amazed me with his grasp of mind, the friendliness and fidelity of the decisions made.
    I keep this person in my memory as an example of a true Engineer and Leader. I regret that, by the will of circumstances, I switched to another job and could not continue to cooperate with Evgeny Ivanovich.
  4. smershspy
    smershspy April 26 2013 16: 23
    Quote: lars
    Oh! What old people leave request

    I agree! Too bad this is happening! We must prepare a worthy replacement!