Military Review

"Penguin" reached the Pole of inaccessibility. Unique polar all-terrain vehicle based on the BTR-50P

55 years ago, an all-terrain vehicle, officially named “Penguin”, was created at the Kirov Plant. It was developed in the design bureau of the plant (now Spetsmash OJSC), which was led by an outstanding designer tanks Joseph Yakovlevich Kotin.

"Penguin" reached the Pole of inaccessibility. Unique polar all-terrain vehicle based on the BTR-50P

Penguin tracked all-terrain vehicle (209 object)

In 1957, the design bureau of the Kirov Plant, it was then called OKBT, was a famous polar explorer, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, M. Somov.

The fact is that the polar explorers urgently needed a powerful all-terrain vehicle for a comprehensive study of Antarctica. Somov told Kotin about the prospects that had opened up to the researchers of a distant and mysterious continent, and managed to captivate the chief designer with the idea of ​​creating a mobile all-terrain laboratory for polar explorers, and Joseph Yakovlevich enthusiastically took up a completely new matter for him.

Extreme conditions of operation in unprecedented low temperatures, unimpeded movement of loose snow and smooth ice required new approaches to the design of the machine.

Somov often visited the chief designer, they came together and became friends, without losing touch with each other until the end of life.

The Antarctic all-terrain vehicle received the official name "Penguin" and the factory code - "209 object". Given the extremely tight development timeframes and the requirement for high reliability of the new machine, design solutions that were tested and tested by practice were required. As a base, we chose a floating tank PT-76 and an armored personnel carrier BTR-50P, previously developed by the design bureau, which have proven themselves well in the armed forces when operating in the Arctic.

For this, along with the creation of reliable logging for the work of researchers, special astronavigation instruments and serious modifications of the chassis and running gear were required. A new caterpillar was developed with an unusually low specific ground pressure of less than 300 g / cm. With the weight of "Penguin" almost 16 tons, this figure was commensurate with the specific pressure on human soil.

Recalling the great urgency of this work, N. Kurin. - while the deputy. the chief designer wrote: “It was in the spring, somewhere in the middle of May, and another expedition had to sail no later than October, in time for the summer season, starting there in December ...”.

Considering the time limits for making the Penguin party (the image of a penguin appeared on board the car), which should have been prepared by the time the Antarctic expedition departed, Kotin made an extraordinary decision: from the very beginning of the assembly he attached to each of the five machines he created responsible for the operational solution of problems arising during the assembly. As such "nannies" he appointed initiative young designers - recent university graduates. Among them were Popov N.S. - subsequently the general designer; Strahal A.I. - the future chief designer of the project; and also already experienced tank builders of the Kotinsky Guard - MS Passas, I. Gelman, N. Kurin; young engineers Sharapanovsky BM and Tkachenko Yu.D.

... According to the conclusion of polar explorers, the Penguin proved to be a very convenient machine for route studies. It differed by a number of advantages, and the main thing - high reliability in work. The cross-country vehicle confidently overcame the 1,5 m height. The researchers liked the engine, which provided towing the sled with a load of 12 tons, and the work under reduced atmospheric pressure characteristic of the Antarctic. The advantage of the machine is good living conditions, which allow working in the wheelhouse without outerwear, with an outdoor temperature of minus 50 ° C. Hit a power reserve - without refueling - 3,5 thousand. Km.

The first expedition to the central regions of Antarctica was led by the famous polar explorer Tolstikov E.I. 27 September 1958, a detachment of researchers, among whom were four Penguin all-terrain vehicles, took the route from Pionerskaya station. Two months later, after passing 2.100 km, the region of the sixth continent, the furthest from all points of the coast, was reached - where the polar station “Inaccessibility Pole” was organized. Among the researchers were employees of the Kotinsky Design Bureau Burkhanov GF, and later, already as part of the 5 Antarctic Expedition, the second envoy of the Kirov workers - design engineer Krasnikov B.A.

As a sign of respect to the creators of this car, two Penguin all-terrain vehicles were installed at the Mirny and Novo-Lazarevskaya stations for eternal parking. Member of the expedition, mechanic-driver NP Pugachev received a government award, and the chief designer Kotin Z.Ya. - Honorary badge "Honored polar explorer".

During the work of five Antarctic expeditions, more than ten trips into the interior of the continent were carried out using ground-based all-terrain vehicles, transported over 15 thousand tons, reached the Pole of Inaccessibility and the South Geographical Pole. Good "traces" remained in Antarctica from the tank crews of the design bureau of the Kirov factory.
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  1. Vodrak
    Vodrak 22 August 2013 08: 11
    Well, why have we always been able and able to make special, just great equipment. But for the people it’s always .....
    1. DimychDV
      DimychDV 23 August 2013 10: 07
      Yeah, you buy a pressure cooker without instructions - when assembling a mortar it turns out. )))
  2. Ivan79
    Ivan79 22 August 2013 08: 28
    I wonder why he has such small windows?
    1. Poppy
      Poppy 22 August 2013 11: 10
      due to the cold
  3. Poppy
    Poppy 22 August 2013 11: 11
    if only the technical features of the construction would tell and there would be no price
  4. Hort
    Hort 22 August 2013 11: 59
    we have developed a mobile nuclear station for Antarctic expeditions ... If my memory serves me, based on an elongated chassis or Is-7 or T-10M
    1. vek21
      vek21 11 September 2013 20: 24
      This installation was developed at the RIAR in Dimitrovgrad (then - Melekess) on the basis of "Penguin". It was called ARBUS and was mounted on two or three cars. The power of the reactor made it possible to provide a small city with electricity, heat and water for more than two years in a turnaround cycle. I don’t know for what reason, but the Ministry of Defense “laid its paws” on her, and ARBUS quickly disappeared from civilian life. It is a pity that now Rosatom, exploiting previous developments, "creates" mobile nuclear power plants on watercraft for the needs of the Arctic. And RIAR is slowly vegetating on commercial orders. An institute that had the world leadership in the development of super-reactors, including such as BOR or reactors for our nuclear-powered missile carriers. By the way, the reactor was also built on the "goldfish" by RIAR-ov design. Nobody knows how to do such things.
  5. Ka-52
    Ka-52 22 August 2013 14: 01
    That's interesting, but is it possible to resume the construction of these all-terrain vehicles. For residents of the Far North and those who live in the Arctic Circle an indispensable car!
    Does anyone know if there are at least plans to create such machines?
    For example, for the Ministry of Emergencies or border guards?
  6. svp67
    svp67 22 August 2013 18: 54
    But there were also such machines of the Kharkov plant (Malyshev Plant)

    Moreover, the converted serial artillery tractors of the same factory worked there ... This is quality.

    1. Hort
      Hort 23 August 2013 07: 02
      The first is similar to "Vityaz". Without coupling
  7. michajlo
    michajlo 23 August 2013 00: 37
    Good evening everyone!

    Nice to read about such reliable and high-quality cars.

    In a word, the UNION wanted and knew how to make unique products that the whole world envied us.

    And now many of us gnaw at each other on trifles, forgetting that we all need to look for WHAT TO CONNECT!

    After all, the troubled times from the 80s were not over yet, and it is quite possible that our political nomenclatures will plunge us into the bloody rivers.
  8. carbofo
    carbofo 23 August 2013 12: 01
    I am confused by the range!, 3500 km for a heavy tracked vehicle is a bit too much.
    Even the GAZ 34039-22
    Average fuel consumption 50l / 100km
    Cruising range on the highway, km 900
    The mass of equipped snow and swamp-going vehicle (without cargo and crew), kg 4800
    Carrying capacity, kg 1200

    I admit that 3.5 thousand km is a reserve at full load. I mean the so-called distillation range, when fuel is taken instead of cargo.
    The real working minimum is 2 times less.
    1. bairat
      bairat 23 August 2013 14: 37
      They write about a towed trailer weighing 12 tons, where I think half the payload is fuel.
  9. Ka-52
    Ka-52 26 August 2013 13: 13
    Here is an interesting film about "72 degrees below zero, a film about the working conditions of people and technology."
    there is about the penguin!