Nizhny Tagil Uralvagonzavod is the parent enterprise of the UVZ research and production corporation. Built in 1936 as the main producer of freight rolling stock for the country's railways, the Ural Car Building Works fully justified its name. However, this is the largest enterprise in the world in terms of production volumes and technological areas as the creator of military equipment, primarily tanks.
Since October 11 1936, when the first cargo gondolas left the UVZ conveyor, more than one million cars have been produced at the enterprise so far. In 2012, Uralvagonzavod produced almost 28 thousands of rolling stock products, which is the highest achievement not only in Russia, but also in the world car building industry. During the years of the Nizhny Tagil enterprise’s activity, in addition to wagons, many other products were mastered - cryogenic, road-building, and oil and gas. But still history the country and the world Uralvagonzavod first entered as Tankograd. 100 of thousands of tanks has launched a Nizhny Tagil enterprise since 1941, and this is an unsurpassed world record. Today, Uralvagonzavod remains the only domestic enterprise capable of mass production of tanks and combat and engineering vehicles based on them.
The legendary "thirty"
Tankograd Ural carriage began with the beginning of World War II. By October 1941, 13 enterprises were fully or partially evacuated to the UVZ site. The largest of these were the Kharkov Plant No. 183 named after the Comintern, the Moscow Ordzhonikidze Machine-Tool Plant, the Ordzhonikidzegrad Steel Plant and the armored production of the Ilyich Mariupol Plant. The combination of all these plants and people, or rather, their merger, rafting on the Urals, formed one of the most powerful and sophisticated defense factories in the world, where besides T-34 bombs, artillery pieces and katyusha self-propelled jets were produced , armored hull for aircraft. But still, the history of the Great Patriotic War Nizhny Tagil forever entered as the world's largest production center of the most important weapons era - tanks, the famous "thirty".
T-34 - the best tank of the Second World War. This was recognized both by the allies and by the main opponents in that war, the Wehrmacht generals. He for the first time in the world absorbed the quality of a machine that fully meets the requirements of a combat situation. With the optimal combination of firepower, security and mobility, the thirty-four was distinguished by the maximum possible simplicity of design, reliability, adaptability and high maintainability in field conditions.
From 1940 to 1945, six Soviet factories launched the thirty-four 58 681. This is an absolute, never broken record in world tank building. And more than half, namely 30 627 tanks of the Soviet army gave one factory - № 183. Of these, 28 952 tanks were made after moving this enterprise from Kharkov to Nizhny Tagil, to the site of the Ural Carriage Works. Almost every second T-34, who took part in the hostilities, left the assembly line of the Nizhny Tagil enterprise.
The evacuation of a tank factory in Nizhny Tagil can in no way be considered a random decision of a hectic wartime. Already in the middle of 1940, the government commission was looking for a backup enterprise for the mass production of T-34 tanks during the war period. The initial choice fell on the Stalingrad Tractor Plant, where at the end of the same year the assembly of combat vehicles began. However, the General Headquarters of the Red Army and the People's Commissariat for Medium Machine Building, headed by the future People's Commissar of the Tank Industry, Vyacheslav Malyshev, considered the STZ insufficiently powerful and insisted on the establishment of the Ural Carriage Works as the main backup.
By the beginning of World War II, Uralvagonzavod was on the rise in its development, mastered the most complicated technologies of high-volume conveyor, which was the highest form of the flow organization of large-scale industrial production. UVZ already had powerful metallurgical and stamping redistribution, as well as a strong energy industry and large areas of assembly plants. All of this under the project of an unfinished plant could be significantly expanded. To create such facilities elsewhere would have required at least eight to ten years.
Let us cite the lines from the letter of the representative of the State Planning Committee Kravtsov to SNK from February 2 of the year 1940: “Uralvagonzavod is a handsome factory. Lined enclosures require only some additional equipment and small finishing touches. This plant is the most reliable and reliable reserve of the car-building industry. ”
More than three thousand pieces of equipment were brought and installed, about 70 thousand people were evacuated. In the shortest possible time, in just two months, the production capacity of the Tagil enterprise was completely converted to the production of tanks. Already 18 December 1941-th tank T-34-76 descended from the world's first tank conveyor, and by the end of the year the first echelon of 25 vehicles went to the front.
Designers and technologists had to improve many components and parts based on the capabilities of the UTZ and given the lack of qualified personnel. During the war period, the Uralsky Tank Plant design bureau successfully played the role of the head company for improving the T-34 design. A number of units, parts and even mechanisms had to be developed by the design bureau in several versions, taking into account the technical capabilities of a particular plant.
Was done a lot of work to improve the combat performance of the T-34. In 1942, the OT-34 tank flamethrower version was developed and launched into serial production. The active use by the Germans of the Kursk Bulge in July of the 1943 of the new Tiger and Panther tanks forced domestic designers to dramatically intensify work on equipping models of armored vehicles, including tanks, with more powerful weapons. In the end, after several months of hard work, a new modification of the Thirty-Fours was created - the T-34-85 tank, which was adopted in January 1944, and two months later it began to leave the UTZ conveyor.
To increase the production of tanks, the most progressive technologies of the time were introduced into production. The powerful metallurgical production of Uralvagonzavod allowed the company to quickly master the smelting of tank steels and the mass casting of the necessary details - from massive towers to countless tracked tracks. From 15 August 1942, the Ural tank factory introduced the casting of towers into raw forms, made by machine forming. This technology allowed to increase the production of tower castings from five to six pieces per day at the end of 1941-th to 40 at the end of 1942-th. Thus, the problem of the quality and quantity of the produced towers was finally solved. If before that the UTZ was forced to receive towers from Uralmash (Yekaterinburg), then from now on the Tagil residents themselves began to supply the T-34 tank turrets to other plants.
During 1942 – 1943, specialists from the Kiev Institute of Electric Welding, evacuated to the plant under the direction of Evgeny Oskarovich Paton, together with employees of the armored corps of the UTZ, created a whole complex of automatic machines of various types and purposes. The introduction of automatic welding of armored hulls into production not only improved the quality of welds, but also increased labor productivity fivefold, saved 42 a percentage of electricity.
The main difficulties were associated with the creation of a mechanical assembly and armored case-line conveyor production. At the beginning of 1942, painstaking work began in all the workshops to dismember production operations into the simplest components available to untrained workers. Following this, the equipment was “lined up” in the order of the sequence of operations, that is, in the form of production lines. At the same time, much attention was paid to the debugging of new and already existing lines for a certain rhythm, ensuring the fulfillment of plan targets. The first of them appeared in the shops in the same year. By the end of the war, 150 production lines for the production of tank assemblies and parts were organized at the plant and for the first time in the world a T-34 tank conveyor assembly was introduced.
If production lines were created for machining parts and assemblies, then a conveyor reigned in the assembly. Since May, the X-NUMX tank T-1942 descended every 30 minutes from May. Every day, the Urals Tank Plant sent a line of combat vehicles to the front. A similar conveyor from 34 June 1 of the year entered into commercial operation in armored production. On the whole, the scale of the use of production lines and various conveyors at the factory in wartime is unparalleled in world tank construction.
Thanks to conveyor production, its availability to every unskilled worker, the simplicity of the T-34 tank design, which made it possible to organize its production in huge numbers, a single plant in the production of mass medium tanks surpassed all of Germany’s industry and Western Europe.
The system of the People's Commissariat of the USSR Tank Industry as a whole and the Ural Tank Plant No. 183 in particular demonstrated during the Great Patriotic War a higher level of technology and organization of production than Germany’s considered unsurpassed engineering industry. The leadership of Soviet industry, domestic scientists and engineers made better use of the rather scarce material and human resources at their disposal and created a more efficient high-volume production of military equipment.
After the end of the war, the chief designer of the Ural tank factory, Alexander Morozov, would write the following lines: “Unlike supporters of all sorts of clever decisions, we proceeded from the fact that the design should be simple, have nothing superfluous, random and contrived. Of course, it is always easier to make a complex machine than a simple one, which far from every designer can do ... The constructive simplicity of the T-34 tank made it possible at the most difficult moment for the Motherland not only to have tanks, but to have many, much more than had an adversary. It made it possible to quickly organize the production of combat vehicles in many factories of the country, which had not previously produced such equipment, by people who had previously known about tanks only by hearsay.
For the organization of mass production of tanks, selfless labor of workers and designers, their great contribution to the Great Victory Uralvagonzavod was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1942 and 1943 and the Order of the Patriotic War I degree in 1945 year.
Star Racing "seventy twelve"
Accumulated in wartime, the vast experience of mass flow-conveyor production made it possible to quickly and easily restore the production of freight cars. But at the same time, Uralvagonzavod, which returned its former name, not only retained the status of the largest tank factory in the world, but also turned into a trendsetter for “tank mods”. Among the enterprises producing combat vehicles before and during the war, the Ural armored tank demonstrated the greatest efficiency. The principles of the line production of the enterprise approached the technologies of mass production of tanks. Therefore, the government's decision to maintain tank construction in Nizhny Tagil and after the end of hostilities was quite reasonable. In the design bureau, which was preserved and carefully guarded, under the leadership of Alexander Morozov first, and from Leonid Kartsev's 1953, all medium-sized Soviet tanks produced in the post-war period were created. And each new model was among the strongest in the world, combining the latest technical solutions with traditional reliability.
At the end of the 40-ies on the conveyor is placed the tank T-54. He was born as a result of the generalization of 1941 – 1945 battles experience and was armed with the most powerful 100 caliber millimeter cannon for that time. Equipped with T-54 tanks, numerous Soviet divisions in the 50-ies were a strategic factor compensating for our country's temporary lag in nuclear weapons. For ten years, the absolute superiority of the Fifty-Fours over their opponents — the tanks of the NATO countries — did not allow the Cold War to develop into a third world war.
Since 1959, Uralvagonzavod has launched a mass production of the medium tank T-55 - the first tank in the world equipped with an integrated anti-radiation protection system, which allows it to operate on the affected area after a nuclear attack. The highest reliability, simplicity and combat effectiveness of this vehicle made the T-55 tank the most massive tank in the world in the 60 – 70-ies.
At the beginning of the 60-x adopted the T-62 tank production Uralvagonzavod. He was the first in the world to be equipped with a smooth-bore weapon with a high initial velocity of an armor-piercing-sifter shell. Protection capable of resisting such a BPS attack appeared on NATO’s main tanks only in the 80s.
At the end of 60, the beginning of 70, Uralvagonzavod, on the instructions of the Ministry of Defense Industry, as well as two other enterprises, the Kharkov Transport Engineering Plant and the Kirovsky Design Bureau in Leningrad, received a task to develop a new generation mass tank combining firepower, armor heavy machine protection and medium mobility. As a result, the army received three T-72, T-64A and T-80 tanks, each of which met the requirements of modern combat, and their characteristics with the next modification became more powerful. All of them claimed the title of the main tank of the Soviet army.
To solve the dispute should have been tests, which eventually stretched over a decade. They passed in various regions of the country and in the most difficult operating conditions. When comparing the T-64A and T-72 tanks, it became clear that the Tagil machine had a more reliable engine and undercarriage. The mobility of the "passport" was about equal, but during the runs "seventy-two war" always exceeded the T-64A. Outwardly, the coarser and more massive undercarriage of the T-72 turned out to be more reliable than the elegant design of a Kharkov tank, whose knots often failed.
Soon, the T-80 tank joined the test subjects, which the powerful turbine allowed to achieve unprecedented speed. On the flat roads he had no equal. But on the mountain and steppe routes invariably dominated the "seventy doubles". The gunners of the Ural tanks often surpassed their rivals in the number of shot targets and the accuracy of hitting. The fire control systems of the T-80B and T-64B tanks were difficult to use, in contrast to the simple and convenient T-72 sight. Thus the Tagil "seventy doubles" won the test and later became the most massive fighting tank of modern times. Today, various modifications of the T-72 are in service with armies of more than 40 nations of the world.
Tagil specialists began to improve the T-72 - then still a prototype "172M object" - immediately after its birth in the 1970 year. New modifications were developed by carefully selecting the most successful solutions, both constructive and technological. And their correctness was tested at the test site, test marches and battles. For two decades, the army received serial tanks T-72A, T-72B and engineering vehicles built on their basis - the MTU-72 bridge laying machine and the BREM-1 armored repair and recovery vehicle. Modernization of the "seventy-twos" continues to this day.
The perfect combination of cost and efficiency, along with almost inexhaustible reserves of modernization, made the "seventy-two war" a real star on the battlefield. For the development and development of the production of the T-72 tank, Uralvagonzavod was awarded the Order of Lenin (1970) and the Order of the October Revolution (1976), and the Ural Design Bureau of Transport Engineering in 1986 was awarded the Order of the October Revolution.
The crisis and the collapse of the Soviet Union extremely hard reflected on Uralvagonzavod, as well as on many other large enterprises of the country. In the state, the permanent consumer of military equipment and rolling stock products disappeared, and the place on the world market still had to be won. In spite of everything, the Nizhniy Tagil enterprise not only preserved its integrity, but also saved a unique technological complex and the main part of a highly qualified team.
The development of civilian products, the study of market arts, everyday work and concerns related to elementary survival, did not diminish the defense importance of Uralvagonzavod. Of course, the incredible production volumes of tanks are a thing of the past, but Tagil combat vehicles remained the most important global military-political factor. To save specialists and, consequently, the production potential, Uralvagonzavod had to put a lot of effort into finding additional orders for armored vehicles. During 90-x, the plant was engaged in the restoration of old tanks, as it turned out that the manufacturer is able to ensure the quality of the restoration work is incomparably higher than army tank repair enterprises. A great help - the manufacture of spare parts for previously sold tanks. However, the main achievement of the designers of Uralvagonzavod in 90-ies was the production of the main battle tank of the Russian army today T-90 and the sale of its export version - T-90С abroad.
The T-90 rocket-cannon tank was created based on the vast experience of many years of troop operation and the use of T-72 tanks in various countries of the world in actual conditions of modern combat, as well as the results of their tests in the most severe climatic conditions. T-90 and its export version - T-90С are maximally adapted for combat operations at any time of the day and in extreme situations. The guided weapons complex allows firing from the spot and on the move at fixed and moving targets at ranges up to 5000 meters, and thanks to the ESSA thermal sight with the 2 generation camera, the range of target shooting at night is at least 3500 meters. The T-90 series tanks are characterized by high reliability of the design of all units, assemblies and complexes, they are easy to operate, and the cost of training the crew and specialists are minimized. A four-stroke turbo piston diesel engine with an 1000 horsepower and an economical powerplant provide high mobility and maneuverability regardless of road conditions.
T-90 was submitted to state testing grounds as early as January of 1989, but due to the ambiguous political situation, it was not until October that 1992 issued a decision on its adoption and the sale of the export version of T-90С. Tagil machine was highly appreciated by both domestic and foreign experts. On tests in India in the summer of 1999, three tanks T-90C showed such endurance, which is unlikely to be demonstrated by any other machine in the world. In the desert, with daytime air temperatures up to 53 degrees and night temperatures around 30 degrees, with almost no roads, each Tagil tank traveled more than two thousand kilometers. The Indian military highly appreciated the test results, and a great achievement for Uralvagonzavod was the signing of a contract for the supply of a large batch of T-90С tanks to India. UVZ has been cooperating with the Ministry of Defense of India for many years. So far, Uralvagonzavod has been assisting in the licensed production of delivered large assemblies of T-90C products and their warranty support in the troops.
The experience of creating and mass production of the T-90C tank led to the appearance and adoption by the Russian army of an improved modification of the T-90 - the T-90A tank. In addition to the work on improving the T-90A, the Ural Transport Engineering Design Bureau also continued the modernization of old tanks and the development of new engineering vehicles based on it. The IMR-3М engineering lashing machine was created, designed to clear the way for troops through areas of severe destruction, as well as through minefields, the BMR-3M combat demining machine, capable of conducting tank units in minefields under enemy fire.
The desire of Uralvagonzavod to enter the world market led to the fact that in Nizhny Tagil began to hold their own exhibition of weapons. Since 1999, at the site of the Nizhny Tagil Metal Testing Institute in the village of Tsentral'etely, annually there are exhibitions not only of weapons and military equipment, but also of technical defense and protection equipment, which invariably collect more and more participating enterprises and attract the attention of top officials, domestic and foreign specialists and potential buyers. In 2000, the Terminator fighting machine of fire support was the first to be shown at the exhibition to the general public - the newest model of weapons, of which there are no analogues in the world. In 2011, the modernized T-90С is presented - the next step in the development of domestic tank building, in fact, despite the name, which is an absolutely new combat vehicle. Today, Uralvagonzavod as a part of the UVZ corporation is one of the main implementers of the federal target program “Development of the defense industry complex of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020 of the year”.