That's the way people: the importance of this or another period of his life he is able to appreciate only at a distance, to summarize what he lived. That's why even the veterans, remembering the days of smelling of gunpowder, has mixed feelings, in which, apart bitter taste of grief, there is a place of pride, and yet something nostalgic bright, warming the soul … so complex and turning step in my biography, as I now understand, was the work of a test tank.

It's been almost 45 years since that day or how I first crossed the threshold of "base Gorelovo" — specifically so obviously unofficially, according to legend, was named a suburban landfill design office number 3 (CB-3) of the Kirov factory, where tests were the latest military hardware.

Do I need to read how small it was sieve of selection through which screened candidates for admission to this fully closed, no need to advertise your company! Me, qualified special regime, behind which were three years of work experience in the Donets Basin and the same number of years of military service chief of the charging station commanders Fri missile regiment of troops, first take a mechanic electrician only 4 digits, and the engineer I was only 5 years old.

In one of the Finnish panel houses, barracks housed the laboratory measurements, which resulted in me and after three months of painstaking inspection by the competent authorities in the other — Department of test engineers in the 3rd — Head of the base, and was near a small brick box for shelter, storage, maintenance and repair of armored vehicles hidden. In comparison with the Kirov factory shops smoggy our forest monastery, situated in the midst of silence, broken only by birdsong (not counting the roar of engines, of course), seemed a paradise. Not for nothing did Nekrasov at the time did not spare his own in his poem "Who Lives fine?" Ancient village Gorelovo pristine beauty that could not spoil even a few rows Stitching wire, surrounded the base.

Guarded by soldiers of internal troops of the area, with so strict that, without a special permit and a code number was virtually impossible to overcome a checkpoint in every direction. And hardly anyone dared to make it through the perimeter fencing. And the other protection and could not be, in fact, even talking together, we avoided, as sought and abstract, use the word "tank", replacing it completely stupid name "to 219". It is logical that, following a disguise, including Horon and on aircraft (better safe saves), the tests we carried out, usually at night, going to run on forest and country roads …

The main and, in fact, permanent since 1937 designer of the Kirov factory was true "fanatic tank," as it was called in the lobby, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Hero of Socialist Labor, Colonel General Engineering Services Joseph Y. Kotin. Through his hands passed the impressive column of Russian art — languid tanks KV-2, HF-16, HF-85, IP-1, IP-2, IP-4, T-10 amphibious tank PT-76 self-propelled guns SU- 152, ISU-152, ISU-122, and peacefully "tuned" skidder CT 12-wheel tractor and heavy-duty "Kirovec."

A year after I came to the lab, Kotin was appointed Deputy Minister of Defence Industry of the USSR, and the main designer of the KB-3 was Nikolai Sergeyevich Popov, which is connected with the name of an entire era of Russian engineering. Lean, highest, gusty, he allegedly exuded some creative energy, infecting her audience. They say to expect better than the catch. So here Popov belonged to the category of impatient people, to refute his temper, and means and the behavior of this folk idiom.

So it has been in the process of testing, after the failure of the nodes or devices directly into the tank full height raised the question: who povinet? There were three options: either something the designers have not considered, or production workers screwed up, or we, the meters, make a blunder. Right in the field tied heated discussions and, of course, each unit of KB-3 based its innocence. Having neither the time nor inclination to listen to these verbal battles, chief designer or sharply interrupted them, or simply turned and went to "the people" — straight to the drivers, whose company gave new impetus to the flight of his engineering. Most Popov, after hearing their presentation, but here, in Armor, makes configuration drawings. And he was right: the presentation of hardened tankers, many of whom were war veterans, indeed, an expensive cost.

Born to crawl flies!

Nikolai Sergeyevich Popov, with the filing of journalists in our country and abroad, is best known as the creator of "flying tank". In 1993, at an arms fair in Abu Dhabi, the 45-ton tank T-80, breaking the speed on the trampoline, proparhal through the air about 15 feet and landed, he was seen on because like no huge jumps and was not. South American "Abrams", who tried to repeat the maneuver, after "landing" has failed. As the ancient: it is permissible to Jupiter — is not permitted to a bull …

And to create this miracle-in before our eyes. Moreover, we are in their own skin (and this is not a metaphor!) Had a chance to experience what a "flying tank" and what overload during landing armored bulk test equipment and crew. I will not go into the technical details, I note only that the main figure in this process is not very pleasant — three: the tests at each speed of 10 to 70 km / h increments, in other words — the step-interval of 10 km / h tank is three times to overcome one by one three three-meter springboard. It remains to add that the car contained three test, and the most difficult at the final step for us was to stay in the "saddle". Even a driver at this critical moment from time to time throwing arms, clinging to a dead tenacious per sitting.

In such extreme circumstances far not always possible for the day to finish all the tests: not maintain equipment — parts, components, sensors or writing equipment not intended to be an overload that sometimes reached the maximum allowable values for the spine! Of course, then we, the young, it was not at all uneasy, it is only later, over the years, the testers felt that they left a legacy past experience, that in KB-3, in contrast to other similar units, calculated non-real prizes, and all Only time off.

Within two weeks of experiments on "objects 219" and the people we have broken all betonku, but the designers on the basis of the acquired results were significantly better suspension to the tank, and to improve the torsion springs, fitted with rubber-coated T-80, as well as tracks, rollers made of light alloy.

Above the mountains can be only tanks …

Often the customer many design system configurations tank performed very practice that is completely natural. So, after the events of the peninsula Damanskiy when the driver-mechanic had to sweat much, so that in the bitter cold to run diesel engines of their own combat vehicles, decided to change their gas turbine. As for helicopters which are not afraid and arctic cold. But the helicopter that is flying in the clear sky and the dust "sees" quite awhile — during take-off and landing, and the tank initially intended to go on the road, even in the column, where only the dust density driver often determines the distance to the non-dangerous car ahead. In general, designers CB-3 and had no doubt that it is — not a single equation, and many unknown, as judged philosophically prepyadstviya will decide as they arrive, by trial and error.
First tests of the standard 1000's most experienced strong turbine engine we spent in the mountains of the Caucasus. "Object 219" simply overcome steep hills and climbed the 3-4-ki
lometer-long mountain tops, where diesel is, in general, and the people, "suffocated" by the shortcomings of oxygen. Surprisingly and not out of habit was to feel in the T-80, while above the clouds. It's a pity, it was impossible to make at least a couple of shots to remember: anyone and would not come to be photographed with a hidden tank. It's at this point it just possible to see on the Web — and in profile and full face, and in the context of …

It is appropriate to see the program from the test in advance and always painstakingly developed in KB. In the box was necessarily representative of the customer, no signature is obtained up simply not counted, even if he is successful three times. It was from this very testers applets, inspired by mountaineering machine capabilities, and dare to stray. In the interests of business, of course. Although it is contrary to the rules.

It was found that by simply climbing up the hill, 45-ton bully is not so ideal behaved on the way back: it was dispersed very rapidly, and had to hold her, but the transmission brake was not designed for long braking and could at any moment, overheated, get failure. That's when we asked the question: what if the engine braking going down to first gear at a speed of 10-15 km / h? On fortune, we just got comfortable on the route hill with a more or less gentle slopes devoid of vegetation.

Obviously, no one rushed off the bat at a breakneck pace — for the previously prepared. Designer boxes examined three-kilometer slope to quadrant in hand, a test engineer has agreed a plan with the head of the expedition, which, in turn, carefully instructed the driver, spreading like a deck of cards, all options for its actions in burdening the likely situation. And in order to capture in detail the progress of experience, we decided to take it on film, looking forward, I will not hide in case of success (and it counted) Award of decency and promotion.

Command chair in the crew took the test engineer, I'm an engineer-meter, based on the position of the arrow-gunner, and the operator with the camera as a brave Marine, perched on the armor, and the rise, with fairly steep began.

Shuddering all its multi-ton hull tank confidently climbed the mountain. After some time, the operator jumped off to get ready to shoot and capture the apotheosis of the climb. And soon appeared and the top of the hill — rovnenky snout size of a football field where we decided to turn around before the descent. But a victory lap failed: when a driver, adding gas, slowed down a caterpillar tank, proborozdiv other decently ditch suddenly braked. It turned out that during this beautiful maneuver he fell off the sprocket track. Small fault, but the tools were left across the bottom, at the repair team, get in touch with that do not allow secrecy. We even with a sledgehammer was not.

For an hour we are using the weighty stone and strong language caterpillar tried to return to the place. And when we did it, pulled up their noses with pride: you have the same — do coped!

It's time to vorachivatsya, but peace of mind derived from the driver-mechanic refused to go out on a steep descent. It seems that this idea did not like him from the beginning, and the instruction listing all the possible risks only strengthened his doubts. Nothing to do — found a more gentle slope and moved on. I admit, it was not the most pleasant Minutka our lives. Armor — although she is strong, but not insured by the chance to tip over and somersault several kilometers. A T-80 slowly but surely gaining speed. Although the test engineer, constantly being in touch with the mechanic-driver, encouraged him as best I could last, taking a triplex endless expanse of heaven, and low-flying clouds broke and sending all the theorists of designers away, began to slowly pritaplivat brake pedal.

Less than a quarter of an hour, we went down to the camp. Our colleagues, wondering what happened to the joke were not alarmed. But they hardly had time to rejoice our safe return, as we grieved by the news about their bad experience. And one more drop of poison tossed a driver, saying that as a result of a long braking during descent due to overheating of the box of the car covered himself with a box, and move the tank could now only in reverse. And backed away — first to the base, and then at the railway platform to send the Kirov Plant.

Not hard to imagine for ourselves what was the reaction of the head designer Nikolai Popov, when he was informed about the incident. Completely possible that these idiomatic expressions in which he did not hesitate, in secure communication has never passed. And the essence of them was obvious: he promised literate, deviating from the test applets, big problems. Fortunately, to hunt vermin, spies and enemies of the Russian tank development is not reached …

Fight with dust

After the successful test, during which tank The turbocharged engine is impressive and showed a higher throughput, and an enviable vitality back to the dilemma of cleaning the air drawn into the turbine. In search of a rational decision came down from the mountains to the more extreme field conditions — in the Karakum Desert. Here many thousands of sand blown by the wind turned into the smallest dust that settled on the turbine blades and by swimming from the highest temperature, change their configuration, reducing engine power and eventually turning it into a pile of scrap metal.

The test site is located in the district Baharden in Turkmenistan. Iran to have protected the Kopet Dag mountain range, and to the east, north and west, where throw look stretched endless sands. By the way, the local dust we got to know more on the base, as at first, figuratively speaking, not Mohammed came to the mountain, and the mountain to Mohammed: Karakum dust bags in cars were taken to the Kirov Plant, where he tested the dust collectors turbine engine. And just getting satisfactory results bench, moved to the Karakum.

Vremechko dawned hot — in the literal and figurative sense: after all — the desert. Once a day, the tanks went into a continuous run, often bringing the turbine blade to failure. The work is more than enough — the hot and very hot sun for a day on seven pots got away, but gradually, with each improvement, trouble-free run distance increased. Along the way, modernized and chassis, to escape from shock and overheating of the rubber on the rollers and tracks.

Applets provided and the next, not the most pleasant and comfortable for the people test: Found in 40-degree heat with zadraennymi hatches very likely stay in the car crew, located in a run. For this purpose "to 219" equipped with a remote temperature gauges and gave the go-ahead test.

Almost immediately we picked up in the air huge clouds of desert dust, which forced the driver to move almost blind, but it was still half the trouble. The failure came later. Before the start of the experiment tank sufficiently long plied the test site with open hatches, because soon we are inside and covered with dense and compacted, though Slash, a veil of the same vsesuschey dust. Breathe already had nothing, so by the same temperature in the car was rising surprisingly fast — 50, 60, 70 degrees …

It became obvious not for himself: the head was spinning, coming right up to the throat and nausea. Memory helpfully fished from their own cells Yacht rule — when in a confined space, so as not seasick, you should look at the horizon, not on nearby objects, but without annoying since I measured the sensor readings, flip the switch, I was not up to the horizon. It looks like the other members of the crew felt no better: the finale of the second hour they run more often and more often on the headset connection wondered how there the temperature is not stabilized it? How annoying would it sounds, the sensor was alrea
dy 80 degrees — a Finnish sauna, well, that's all. But we were not going to back down, believing that it is better to otmuchilsya once you go to the second round of tests.

Suddenly I felt a burning smell which began to rapidly increase. "Surely we burn?" — Flashed disturbing idea. Nothing to do, had to drown out the engine. So many years have passed since that day or, as I currently do remember how opened the hatch and jumped out of the tank in 42-degree weather, and I thought that I plunged into the cool water. Catching his breath, inspected the car, unable to find any source of fire or source of flavor. But we move on, according to the annotation could not: in similar cases forbidden to run the engine without the manufacturer's representative. Connection with the repair crew with us for purposes of secrecy, as usual, was not. Observers usually determined by the seat of our pillar of dust over the desert, if there is one — it's all right if lost — which means something is wrong, it's time to go to the rescue.

Half an hour passed, but we have not enough. Commander so eloquently looked at me, I immediately thought of which one of us will put off for help on base. The reason is clear: without the tank driver and commander — not a tank, but without an engineer-meter is fully cost. Orient and walked, the sun palim, avoiding spikes, snakes and scorpions crawling. Three hours later, when I began to feel that I am doomed to endless wandering in the sand, made it to the camp. Along the way are sure to have discovered the best way to reduce weight, having lost three kilograms per trip.

Repair team pretty quickly determine the cause of the fault, which … was not. It was found that during the tests a driver turned on the stove heating the case. It turns out that we Kirovtsa-testers, showed sverhvynoslivost after spending two hours in the tank with the hatches in the hell zadraennymi Karakum besides enabled the winter heating stove! Do I have to state that the experience we counted …

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