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)
the Soviet era OKBs were closed and sealed institutions working
design and development of advanced technology. As a result the
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
Each beauru has its own accommodation for the workers (thousands
of them) and their families, their own hospitals, welfare system,
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)
During the "good ol days" of the design beuros in the
former closed cities secrecy was paramount.
of the better known OKBs include: OKB-45 (Mikulin, engines), OKB-26
(Kilmov, engines), OKB-155 (Mikoyan, aircraft, interceptors in
OKB-938 (Kamov, rotary wing)
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.
the Director of the company (previously the Soviet design beauro
was for my interest in these engines and OKBs a very special occasion
the last day of the visit I was presented by the head of the design
pair of FULL SCALE sectional general arrangement drawings of both
original engine and one incorporating the modifications at over
4 meters in length.
It remains one of my most treasured items of memorabilia