Military Review

Parity creators

Parity creators

In the spring of 2014, 55 marks the anniversary of the formation of KB-11 - the oldest and largest nuclear weapons center in Russia, a separate design bureau No. 1 for charge development. Now, the Charger KB-1 is one of the leading teams of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center, the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics in Sarov (Arzamas-16). The chargers of Sarov - nice история, large-scale contemporary tasks and their problems, which must be solved jointly ...


The history of the development of the nuclear design component armory work logically follows from those new defense tasks that were formed towards the end of the 40s, when Russia became nuclear. From the first, highly sensitive to external influences, designs of charges to structures, which, figuratively speaking, can be beaten with a sledgehammer without fear of abnormal operation - this is the path that the Arzamas-16 designers-chargers have traveled in more than half a century of their work.

However, their tasks, deepening and expanding over the years, remained the same as at the founding of the KB. This is a design development of nuclear and thermonuclear charges for domestic systems of nuclear weapons, including laboratory design and ground testing, and the author's support during mass production and military operation at all stages of the life cycle.

The Decree of the USSR Council of Ministers of 9 on April 1946 of the year marked the beginning of Design Bureau No. 11 - a research and development complex with an experimental plant to develop the design and ensure the testing of an atomic bomb. Gen. Pavel Mikhailovich Zernov was appointed head of KB-11, Professor Yu. Khariton was appointed Chief Designer. There were no such complex organizations in the country before.

On August 29, 1949, the RDS-1 Soviet atomic bomb was successfully tested. The US atomic monopoly was liquidated, and now it was necessary to develop success - physicists had original ideas for improving weapons, but designers also had them. At the same time, the experience of the first works showed that new forms of relationships are needed between scientists who acted as participants in all stages of the work from a scientific concept to a specific product, and charging designers. Through the designers, the connection of scientists with production also extended.

From the very beginning, experienced, talented designers who have already established themselves in other areas of engineering came into the new business. The future three times Hero of Socialist Labor Nikolai Leonidovich Dukhov was a famous designer of heavy tank "IS", the future Hero of Socialist Labor Vladimir Fedorovich Grechishnikov also worked the whole war in "Tankograd". Nikolai Aleksandrovich Terletsky, who was awarded the Order of Lenin after the RDS-1 test and was awarded the title of Stalin Prize laureate, later received two more orders of Lenin and twice became a Stalin Prize laureate, but received his first modest Order of the Red Star in 1944 for weapons work during the war ...

Each of the "founding fathers" contributed to the formation of a common style and organizational and psychological principles of design development charges. And if in the initial period the theoretical physicists played the leading role in shaping the appearance of the charge, over time these issues began to pass into the hands of designers. It is indicative that just such a turn of affairs was foreseen by the outstanding gunsmith three times Hero of Socialist Labor Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov.

By 1955, the period of initial “storms and onslaught” in nuclear weapons work was over, the country and its main gunsmiths could breathe a little freer. Not long ago, one of the leaders of the First Main Directorate at the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Avraamy Pavlovich Zavenyagin, said: “We must hurry. Otherwise, they will bombard us, crush us. ” And by the year of 1955, Russia's capability for a nuclear response to a potential aggressor was no longer in any doubt.

The first serial nuclear charges were already developed, the affectionate name “Tatyana” appeared in the slang of gunsmiths - this is how the tactical was called aviation a bomb that went into service with the troops. The first Soviet thermonuclear charge RDS-6s was successfully tested.

In 1953, work began on the RDS-9 charge for nuclear combat equipment of the Soviet Navy's weapon systems fleet. The charge was tested in the charge compartment of a torpedo in an underwater position at a depth of 12 meters in the area of ​​Novaya Zemlya on September 21, 1955. During the tests, experimental ships located at different distances from the detonated torpedo were damaged to one degree or another, and the Reut squadron destroyer, which was 250 m from the epicenter of the explosion, sank, receiving great damage to the hull in the middle part. Thus was created the first torpedo in the country with an atomic charge.

On the basis of the RDS-9 charge, the combat unit of the Zen-215 anti-aircraft guided missile was also developed. After successful tests at the 19 anti-aircraft test site in January 1957, the combat unit was put into service. The launch of the missile defense system and the active explosion of a nuclear charge were the final stage of the state flight tests. As a result, two IL-28 radio-controlled target aircraft, located approximately 600 – 1000 m from the epicenter, were destroyed. RDS-9 was also in service with the tactical missiles Mars and Luna.

A special place in the history of Sarov chargers took the development of a charge for our first intercontinental ballistic missile - the famous royal P-7, the "seven". This epic deserves not only a separate article, but also a whole book about how “charitons” and “queens” “gotten together” to each other ...

And the above is only a part of what was done then in Sarov. At the same time new charges became more and more unpretentious, more and more safe and more and more perfect. We can say that the charge "mimosa" was replaced by the charge "cobblestone".


The tasks became more complex, the armaments nomenclature grew and it became clear that a new field of engineering activity in the country, charge engineering, had emerged. New cadres were needed for only the emerging design directions, for laboratory and field testing and charge tests. New design methods, new test methods and structural studies, linking the characteristics of charges and their carriers, new technologies and equipment were also required.

In 1959, two separate design bureaus were formed in KB-11 - in charge and in combat units, 38-year-old Hero of Socialist Labor Yevgeny Negin (1921 – 1998) —the future academician — was appointed chief designer, and 42 was his first deputy -year-old Hero of Socialist Labor Professor David Abramovich Fishman.

Then they were replaced in 90 and zero years by Lenin and State Prize of the USSR, Honored Designer of the Russian Federation, Corresponding Member of RARAN Stanislav Nikolaevich Voronin and Laureate of State Prizes of the USSR and Russia, Honored Designer of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Dmitrievich Yakovlev.

Currently, the design bureau is headed by Honored Designer of the Russian Federation Viktor Yulianovich Verezhansky.

For more than half a century, hundreds of experimental and dozens of serial nuclear and thermonuclear charges have been developed at the Charging Bureau of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center, All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC VNIIEF). Many of them are in service to this day. However, it is impossible to tell in detail about the modern work of nuclear charge designers. This is a very delicate matter - information about the nuclear weapons sphere, especially about the development of nuclear weapons themselves.

Even the closest associates of nuclear-weapon warheads, the developers of nuclear warheads working with them in the same walls of the same nuclear center, do not immediately recognize in detail what they place in their combat units.

The warhead developer needs to work for quite a few years, to reach such a position in his profession, when you are invited to the great scientific and technical councils of the entire institute, held under a high neck, in order to be able to see detailed design diagrams, cuts and drawings of a nuclear or thermonuclear charge. Yes, and many of the nuances remain unknown to him - they are known only to those who design the charges and conducts their laboratory and design testing.

Today, in open museums of nuclear weapons (there are only two of them in Russia - in two nuclear weapons centers) one can see real nuclear combat units and at least make an external view of them. However, in no museum of nuclear weapons, you will not see a single “bare” nuclear charge, except for the very first, hopelessly outdated, nuclear weapons in the early years. This refers to the first Soviet charge of the RDS-1, which was tested in the USSR at the Semipalatinsk test site 29 in August 1949, and is now on display in the RFNC VNIIEF museum. At the same time, the declassification of the appearance of even this oldest nuclear charge was a problem even when quite modern nuclear warheads were openly presented in the museum.


However, there is a certain professional peculiarity in the work of domestic battery kits in Sarov and in the Urals, about which it is not only possible, but necessary to speak openly, and the jubilee of the leading battery charger gives a good reason for this. We are talking about the problem of the formation of professional competence, which has a special coloring for designers-chargers. The creation of a nuclear warhead is a complex and knowledge-intensive process. At the same time, work in the nuclear weapons complex differs from all other modern scientific engineering spheres with a completely specific personnel specificity - only for developers of nuclear charges a full-fledged preliminary university preparation is impossible due to the high level of secrecy of the subject matter.

Perhaps, this needs to be repeated once again: only in the field of nuclear charging, preliminary specialized university training is impossible due to the high level of closeness of the subject matter.

A graduate is becoming a specialist in the field of nuclear weapons development in the process of direct communication with experienced professionals and acquaintance with closed scientific and technical reports.

The exit in this situation has always been post-graduate training. Not just the traditional implanting of a young specialist into a team, but precisely his training. However, the armory CB is still not a university. He has other tasks, and therefore the transformation of just an engineer into a charger engineer should take place “in battle”, in the process of work, the essence of which the young specialist didn’t know recently!

For example, rocket specialists are trained from the student’s seat. So, any graduate of an aviation institute with a degree in liquid rocket engines knows well what it is like an liquid propellant rocket engine, what are its design features, how to design it, improve it, work it out.

Already by students, the future rocket engineers leaf through top-secret rocket design bureau albums with detailed drawings of the LRE; they know the physical fundamentals of their work, study the real constructions, test the nozzles of the very engines that raised the Vostok Gagarin into space, the newest Soyuz, dispersed the interplanetary automatic stations to Mars.

The construction of those nuclear charges, in the development of which some of them will participate in a year or two, they have no more an idea than life on distant Mars. Nuclear weapons work from them is as professionally and psychologically distant as this Mars.

In all other areas of the scientific and engineering activities of the society, a university graduate is already largely formed as a professional. And only the designer-charge builder, the designer of the battle charge, the experimental engineer, the charge tester were and remain specialists, in some respects, "homegrown."

The personnel engineering core of the current KB-1 is the well-trained 70 – 80-s graduates from the best engineering universities in the country. However, it was only within the walls of his native KB, in daily live communication with elder comrades, that young specialists learned to turn physical and engineering ideas into such a unique military-political means of ensuring national security and global stability, like nuclear weapons.

The circle of nuclear charge builders - scientists, engineers and technologists - is very narrow. It is difficult, almost impossible, even for an excellent “just” engineer “from the outside”, using only reports, documentation sets, etc. Including because the subtle features of a particular charge are known only to its developers themselves. Only this relatively narrow layer of specialists possesses experience in charge design development after receiving a technical assignment from theoretical physicists. The release of a complete, up to the last screw, set of working and assembly drawings, control of manufacturing and assembly of the charge, sending it to the landfill to conduct full-scale tests, experience in improving the developed charges and the final result — transfer of charges into serial production with the implementation of designer supervision — all this is full of thin nuances ...

And all this can be fully transferred only “from hand to hand”, from specialist to specialist.

It’s customary to ask ourselves: “What about them?” And this approach is quite legitimate if we don’t stray into the path of stupid monkeys and non-critical copying. So, back in the middle of the 90s, the US Department of Energy declared that "the continued provision of reliable and safe nuclear deterrent potential is the cornerstone of US national security policy." To this end, pursuant to the directive of the President of the United States and the decision of Congress, the Ministry launched a program to preserve the core of US intellectual and technical competence in the field of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, the state of the US nuclear arsenal was directly and unequivocally associated with the problem of competent personnel. In particular, it was emphasized: “Confidence in the deterrence potential will be based on confidence in the competence of people who will form scientific and technical conclusions regarding the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons ... Confidence is a subjective concept and, therefore, based on the judgments of people ... This relationship between confidence, judgment, and people is the reason why the competence and experience of our nuclear weapons experts are so important to the US nuclear program ... PS competence, concentrated mainly in the nuclear weapons laboratories, is one of the top priorities. "

This is how they look at the problem. And they look, it must be noted, absolutely true! In this case, the essence of scientific and engineering problems and problems and they, and we are similar. Both there and there a nuclear or thermonuclear charge is the most subtle and systemically significant element in the nuclear weapons system. And the charger design bureau turns out to be the link in the general scheme of development, where the efforts of theoretical physicists, researchers, gas dynamics, materials scientists, technologists and many external suppliers are synthesized and combined.


As should be clear from what has been said above, it is the designer-charger that turns out to be the most vulnerable value in the personnel chain of nuclear weapons work, especially in the absence of field tests. Both in Russia and in the United States, as well as in France, China or the United Kingdom, generations of chargers have grown that do not have any really tested charge in their professional account. This situation, in my opinion, is fraught with dangers from any point of view, and the most sensible way out for everyone, not only the nuclear powers, but the world community as a whole, would be an awareness of the benefits to the global stability of the resumption of limited testing activities in the nuclear powers.

The United States and China have not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Russia has ratified it, but all nuclear powers adhere to the test moratorium. However, the topic of the CTBT is a separate large topic, and although it is closely connected with personnel problems of chargers, we will limit ourselves here to what has been said.

At the same time, the Russian personnel problem has a number of peculiarities, in my opinion, only to its features. It is no secret that in the past decades the USA allocated much more funds for the provision of nuclear weapons work and its personnel component than Russia. In our country, being a nuclear weapon maker is no longer prestigious. And this is at a time when the recent events around the Crimea and Ukraine clearly showed that Russia has only two reliable allies - “Her army and navy”. To this long-standing formula of Emperor Alexander III, the nuclear age added two more allies — powerful and reliable: the Nuclear Shield and the Nuclear Sword. But systematically, these allies of Russia are, above all, mighty the nuclear “spool” that is the nuclear charge in the nuclear weapons system.

Taking care of this “zolotnik” is a professional everyday task for Sarov’s chargers, which they have been performing for more than half a century only as part of a separate charging KB, and almost 70 years already - as part of the legendary KB-11, now called the Russian Federal Nuclear Center - All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics .

The creators of parity - this is the state essence of their work, and those professional, moral and human problems that have accumulated over the decades should be made the subject of special public and state attention. The chargers of Sarov have, I repeat, a glorious history, and this story should continue no less gloriously, for the world and the future of Russia depend on the reliability and quality of the Russian nuclear Sword and Shield.
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  1. 24 May 2014 08: 48
    Something like this!! soldierAnd not only!!!
  2. Andrey160479
    Andrey160479 24 May 2014 09: 51
    It’s interesting that the 12th glaucus then does what. It seems like under their auspices all this.
    1. Morgan
      Morgan 25 May 2014 16: 41
      Not sure, seems to be serving.
  3. corporal
    corporal 26 May 2014 08: 18
    The author advocates the resumption of testing request , Well I do not know. Better them nafig. The Yankees, in general, simulate the explosion processes on a supercomputer, even if ours are the same.
  4. aspid21
    aspid21 29 May 2014 15: 08
    Can we, if we want?