The first mass-produced bulletproof vest for the Soviet Army

On the Internet , it is said very sparingly about Yuri Germanovich Ivliev:Designer of personal armor protection and armor for tanks. Graduated from MISIS (1966). Since 1967 he worked at the Institute of Steel, head of the sector. Participated in the creation of new designs of personal protection systems for bulletproof vests and helmets with a wide range of characteristics, their introduction into mass production. The products created with his participation were accepted for the supply of law enforcement agencies, were used in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Author of more than 40 inventions. Laureate of the USSR CM Prize (1989). He was awarded gold (1981) and bronze (1986) medals of VDNH. The best technologist of the Ministry.

Meanwhile, it was with him that the domestic branch of combat equipment for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Army and other departments began. And, of course, he has something to remember from the distant past of this popular direction today.

Few people know that the first prototype of a domestic army bulletproof vest-index 6B2 (anti-fragmentation), was designed and manufactured literally on the eve of the Afghan events, without technical specifications and requirements for it, on my personal initiative. I did it, in fact, semi-legally - mostly during non-working hours, staying late at work. Now, probably, they will say - a hobby. But underneath it was a clear understanding of the importance of the task and personal responsibility for it. Therefore, the bulletproof vest was not listed anywhere and could not be listed. Formally, it turned out that I, as an employee of a regime enterprise, was busy with extraneous matters at the workplace at an untimely time, spending government materials!. Officially, such a development, (with the mandatory implementation of strictly regulated stages of work), would require tens of millions of full-fledged Soviet rubles, and, most importantly, several vital years at that time for its implementation.

And on February 10, 1979, - a month and a half after the introduction of our troops in Afghanistan, this sample was presented by the head of my department, B.D.Chukhin, and the director of the Institute of Steel, M.I.Maresev, at a closed meeting of the CPSU Central Committee.

Then there were already human losses, and at this meeting it was just being staged! the very question of creating a protective vest.

The demonstration of the finished sample was a surprise for those present, - without exaggeration, - a sensation.

On that day, it was decided, one might say, a historic decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU - to take this sample as a basis for equipping our troops, with extremely tight deadlines for the development of technical documentation and the release of the installation batch (April 30 of the same year, i.e. in just 2.5 months!).

Half a dozen leading ministries - participants of the work and the same order of head enterprises and productions scattered throughout the country were involved in solving this task, and the Research Institute of Steel had to combine their efforts and coordinate the implementation of a common task.

I was entrusted with the author's support of the works and the solution of the technical issues that arose at the same time. To do this, it was necessary to rush almost continuously between the enterprises that entered into cooperation.

Characteristically, the desire of all participants in the work, at all levels, to help the cause. Here are the words of the then. Nina Dmitrievna Mironova, Chief Engineer of the Zlatoust Sewing Factory, addressed to the workers of the sewing workshop (I was a witness to them): Girls, we need to try - after all, our children are there!.A low bow to her, and, first of all, from a huge number of those whom the vests protected. She is also singled out from many other participants in the work because, at the right moment, she did more than she was formally obliged to do by her position. I have tried to tell you about it before, at every opportunity, but I have never written.

Bulletproof vest 6B2

And it was like this. Literally three days before the launch of the bulletproof vest into production, when its reference sample was already sewn and approved in the laboratory of the factory, the entire technological sequence of operations was painted, equipment was installed, I came up with an idea how, by making minor design changes, without changing the weight and cost, to increase the reliability and protection area of the bulletproof vest. But I myself was tormented by doubts: - is it possible to raise this issue just before the launch. Failure to meet the deadlines set by the decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU is an inevitable punishment for many, and, first of all, managers. And yet, after agonizing thoughts, early in the morning, in advance, not counting on anything good, I went to Nina Dmitrievna Mironova, who was responsible for organizing the tailoring of products.She listened attentively, without asking or interrupting, listened to me, then, just as silently, picks up the phone. I froze in suspense... - where, why is he calling? - maybe the director should complain that she is being distracted from the case at such a crucial moment? - Nina Dmitrievna calmly, almost casually, but in a businesslike way, addresses someone by name with a question... - is there a tape specified in my offer in stock? And immediately, - how much is it? After that, already addressing me: - Well, that's it, - that's what we'll do, go get ready ...!? But how ? - I asked, even somewhat discouraged, - After all, the design documentation was supposed to be finalized first, not to mention the tests required by GOST, and then re-approved in Moscow in two institutes and other instances, and this is weeks of delay? Nina Dmitrievna, just as calmly

- Yuri Germanovich! Are you sure about your offer?.I am, of course! - Then make changes to the drawings available at the factory and sign.

It was, purely humanly, the most natural decision, but for that era of bureaucracy (and for the current one, too), I admit, it was just unexpected.By allowing such a design, she not only helped to implement the technical solution as soon as possible, but immediately, without hesitation and loud words, shared the full responsibility!The second time, in those conditions, is an act!

And so they acted. Immediately after the conversation, observing the chain of command, I called at work and without details, informed about the new solution found, and received from the beginning. the department of oral agreement to act as I think is right - according to the situation. Subsequently, the decision was issued as an invention. The principle itself (and its variations) are used in subsequent types of body armor.

On the day of the launch of the bulletproof vest into production (exactly on schedule), from the very beginning of the shift, the chief engineer and his deputy, the chief technologist, the head of the shop, the masters of this and the next shift were almost inseparably in the workshop.Of course, in my heart I couldn't help but worry - will it be possible to realize what I have planned - the main thing is whether the workers have enough skill and patience to master the technology and ensure the increased requirements for accuracy of execution? But, at the same time, I understood that at that moment, I was just required to maintain confidence and firmness, thereby transferring confidence to other participants.

The result could be checked only at the final assembly operations, therefore, until the last moment, an internal anxious and somewhat solemn tension remained, which, however, no one showed. When, after 11 o'clock in the evening, by the end of the second shift, after eliminating the comments of the OTC on the move, the first ready-made bulletproof vest (and others after it) finally appeared, everyone breathed a sigh of relief - this was the moment of general joy, which, now, no one was hiding.There were no flowers and loud speeches. It was hard to believe that the meeting, for which they had been preparing for a long time, had already taken place successfully and it was possible to go home quietly, -the technology and control methods were tested and mastered practically, - production, in principle, could have continued without our participation. It was the middle of the night, but after the experience, of course, there was no time to sleep.

And there was another difficult task ahead - to increase daily replacement norms for the production of products to deliver their batch within the approved strict deadline.

So what is the uniqueness of this first mass-produced 6B2 bulletproof vest for the Soviet army?

Recall that even in 1971, on the instructions of the Technical Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR, the Institute of Steel had already developed a bulletproof bulletproof vest ZHZT-71. Yu also participated in its development .Ivliev. In the structure of the protection of this body armor, plates made of high-strength titanium alloy OT4-1 were used, placed in a fabric cover. There were no other more effective materials for that period. It was unrealistic to use it for army tasks either by mass characteristics (it weighed almost 12 kg) or by ergonomic requirements.

The first 6B1 army bulletproof vest, developed by VIAM in the late 60s, also did not receive military approval. Aluminum alloy was used in its protective structure.

And in the 6B2 bulletproof vest, for the first time, a protective structure based on aramid fiber fabric was used, an analogue of the famous Kevlar that appeared abroad shortly before the Afghan events.

The creation of the 6B2 Army bulletproof vests, and many subsequent ones, was preceded by the development of a unique fabric for them. Quite by chance, from private conversations, it turned out that at a domestic enterprise (then it was called VNIIVproekt - the All-Union Research and Design Institute of Artificial Fiber), located literally, next door to Vmytishchi, unique fibers similar to the American fiber Kevlar-29 were developed, which were once used exclusively in responsible rocket technology systems.We knew about the unique protective characteristics of materials made of Kevlar-29 fibers from literary sources (they were so high that at first we even doubted their reliability). In terms of specific strength (related to weight), these fibers were several times higher than the strength of steel!

The very next day, I and an employee of our group, Evgeny Ivanovich Tsesko, were at a reception with the Deputy Director for Science of this institute, Doctor of Chemical Sciences Gennady Alfeyevich Budnitsky. A responsible meeting was coming, and at such a high level. At that time I was a senior or leading engineer - clearly not the level at which negotiations should be conducted, but the head of the department was on vacation, and I did not want to postpone. Mentally, I was preparing for a difficult discussion, looking for arguments to convince the meeting party of the importance of participating in the creation of promising material for a vest. But here it was different. From the very beginning, the meeting began to develop in the spirit of mutual understanding. Without unnecessary formalities, further tasks were immediately identified. After all, it was still necessary to make a fabric from fiber that best meets the requirements of protection. And this is a combination of about a dozen different important factors, including the thickness of the elementary fibers and threads formed from them, the number of additions in the thread, torsion, type of weaving of the fabric, etc., etc.

Since there was no financing for the work (applications should have been submitted to the ministries at least a year in advance), we agreed to carry out work according to the progressive form just introduced at that time - a mutually beneficial cooperation agreement, i.e. without mutual financial settlements, without overhead costs. Moreover, according to the test results, we set these parameters in various combinations, they make fabric, after which we fire again and introduce clarifications. Thanks to this search algorithm, the optimal combination was found surprisingly quickly. The material and its structure are still used today, although many have tried to surpass it. In the report on the creation of the first ballistic fabric in the USSR, which received the name TSVM J-1 (fabric made of synthetic high-modulus fibers for vests), I am listed as the head of work, but it was collective work multiplied by the initiative and professionalism of a large team. Other participants:Tsesko Evgeny Ivanovich - direct testing, Boris Dmitrievich Chukhin, Ph.D. - Head of our department; in Mytishchi: -Zoya Stepanovna Bunareva.t.n. - fabric manufacturer, for the first time in the country mastered the production of this difficult-to-process material, Tokarev Nikolay Vasilyevich, who provided the required quality of fibers. And of course, Gennady Alfeyevich Budnitsky. Even during the difficult years of perestroika, he did a lot to preserve the domestic production of aramid materials, countering its destruction and the seizure of the market by foreigners.

It was this unique aramid material that became the basis of the protective structure of the 6B2 bulletproof vest. The bulletproof vest weighed only 4 kg, had the necessary mobility and excellent anti-shatter resistance even according to current requirements. However, our industry could not quickly increase its output, so the use of this scarce material was then treated very, very strictly. Afghanistan was waiting for bulletproof vests.

6B2 bulletproof vest after several years of operation

On one of the planned business trips to the Nazlatoust sewing factory, I turned directly to its director, Aida Alexandrovna Deryabina, with a request to allocate a 12-meter cutting table at my disposal. I also needed a special cardboard (preshpan) for patterns, crayons for marking and so on. All this was required for the conceived initiative development of a new economical layout of fabric for bulletproof vests. However, Aida Alexandrovna persistently convinced me that it was simply impossible to make a more economical layout (after all, very experienced specialists really worked at the factory), but in the end she gave in, called the design department and gave appropriate instructions.

To be honest, I took a risk at that time because I didn't have a ready-made solution yet, although the general conceptual approach to the solution, of course, was ripe. In a week and a half, in fits and starts, along with the performance of the main business trip assignment, I made accurate working patterns, and there are about a hundred of them! and one day, together with the cutting workers of the workshop, we began laying out all the details on a 12-meter table specially prepared for this. The head of the Technical Department, Rahman Vera Vasilyevna, looked at us, grinned and went to lunch. After lunch, without even asking how things were going, because she was absolutely sure that we were doing nothing, she asked the cutters to put the tables back in their original places…

It was necessary to see her face when one of the cutters whispered in her ear that with the cutting proposed by the representative of the Institute of Steel, fabric savings of almost half a meter turned out. And this meant that without waiting for a new batch of scarce fabric to arrive, the factory could produce several hundred more bulletproof vests in addition!

The new layout provided annual savings of about 12 kilometers of expensive, acutely deficient TSVM J-1 fabric (the cost of one meter of fabric was commensurate with my weekly salary!). A joint innovation proposal was drawn up. According to the results of its use at the factory, the annual economic effect was calculated - about 500moy per annum! salaries (I can't live that long!). My author's remuneration then amounted to about a month and a half salary. Such were the calculation coefficients in force at that time.

But for myself, I considered the effect differently - how many vests can still be sewn from the saved fabric to save human lives.

Reflecting on this today, I recall how the Honored Artist of the USSR, Honorary Citizen of Noginsk, Iosif Kobzon once said that he considers his main success in life to be the rescue of several hostages during negotiations with terrorists, during the terrorist attack on Dubrovka.

I happened not only to see those who were protected by our bulletproof vests, but later even to cooperate with them.

Needless to say, all this (including subsequent work on the development and implementation of other types of bulletproof vests) reduced human losses, contributing to an increase in the effectiveness of the actions of Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Already during the Afghan events themselves, taking into account the local conditions of use, we developed a whole line of body armor with higher protective characteristics: 6B3T, 6B3T-01, 6B3TM, 6B4 and 6B5 and others. Their development was also carried out according to an incredibly stressful scheme - from an idea - a technical solution - to a drawing, and from it - immediately into production for direct use. Therefore, inside there was always a consciousness of the immense burden of personal responsibility for solving the tasks set.

Involvement in these events is a matter of my personal pride, and (sorry for the high style), a source of strength and inspiration.

The article was published in the journal "Protection and Security" No. 3, 2018

The conversation with Y.G. Ivliev was recorded by E.N. Chistyakov

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