Engineering visit to the Ivchenko Progress machine building design bureau in the Ukraine.

Formerly the Ivchenko Lotarev development design beuro or Opytnoe
Konstructorskoe Byuro-478 (OKB-478)

During the Soviet era OKBs were closed and sealed institutions working on the
design and development of advanced technology. As a result the facilities that
remain in existence today are totally self contained. Although these days facilities
are moving around and expanding within the countries concerned to make better
use of labour, and materials etc, the main sites still stand alone and isolated.
Each beauru has its own accommodation for the workers (thousands and thousands
of them) and their families, their own hospitals, welfare system, public transport
system, water treatment system, power generation, reservoirs etc.

As a result the places are of a size beyond imagination. Quite literally innocuous raw material goes in
through the (OKB) rail system, and engines (or whatever the produce) comes out.
During the "good ol days" of the design beuros in the former closed cities secrecy was paramount.

Some of the better known OKBs include: OKB-45 (Mikulin, engines), OKB-26
(Kilmov, engines), OKB-155 (Mikoyan, aircraft, interceptors in particular),
OKB-938 (Kamov, rotary wing)


Having such an interest in eastern engines, history and culture this visit was a
real treat for me.

I was there to propose some design alterations to a gas turbine (hopefully their Ivchenko AL-20)
that would increase engine efficiency in its role as a packaged power plant in gas compression,
power generation etc.

Meeting the Director of the company (previously the Soviet design beauro head)
was for my interest in these engines and OKBs a very special occasion indeed.



 

On the last day of the visit I was presented by the head of the design bearu a
pair of FULL SCALE sectional general arrangement drawings of both of the
original engine and one incorporating the modifications at over 4 meters in length.
It remains one of my most treasured items of memorabilia









 


 

 

 

 

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