||Issue 31. January - February 1999|
VITYAZ TRANSPORTERS FROM ISHUMBAI
Currently, Vityaz CTVs are in use throughout the whole territory of Russia, as well as in the harsh regions of the Arctic and Antarctica. They are an invaluable part of the transport services for prominent companies such as Gazprom JSC, Rosneftegazstroi, Rosneftegaz JSC, etc. They serve as primary transport vehicles for the personnel who service the extensive oil and gas pipelines throughout Russia, for geologists and scientists who research the dangerous, faraway destinations of Antartica and the Arctic regions.
Multi-unit, all-terrain transport vehicles were first proposed by the British in 1913. Military specialists from around the world were attracted by their high maneuverability, cross-country abilities, as well as their remarkable load-carrying capacity, and soon such vehicles entered service with the armies of the United States, Canada and Sweden. By the 1950s, over 40 types of articulated tracked vehicles (ATV) were in production.
Lack of reliable snow- and swamp-going vehicles in Russia hindered the development of the northern territories, and often led to enormous material losses. These vehicles were also vital for strengthening the defenses of Russia═s northern borders.
By the early 1960s, Russia═s increased need for a more advanced ATV was becoming obvious as the single-unit tracked snow- and swamp-going vehicles in operation at that time could not carry payloads in excess of 5,000 kg. To fill the need for such vehicles, a specialized design bureau was established with the task of developing articulated tracked vehicles.
The first ATVs, designated DT-LP and DT-L, were produced for the State trials in February 1971. The vehicles operational today (the DT-10P, DT-20P and DT-20 ATVs) entered service in 1980. In 1982, the Ishimbai Transport Machine-Building Plant (Ishimbaitransmash) assimilated the series production and turned out the first batch of the DT-10P ATVs.
In late 1981, trials of the DT-30P and DT-30 two-unit ATVs were completed. These trials were carried out in harsh terrain and severe weather conditions in various military districts and demostrated that the vehicles possessed high cross-country ability and load-carrying capacity and could be used effectively to transport military hardware and non-military equipment in severe climatic conditions of the northern part of Russia, in Siberia, and Far East, as well as in the Arabian Desert.
By 1985, an intensive research and development program to create a family of what is known to be the Vityaz two-unit CTVs had been completed. This family includes:
═ two-unit transport vehicles DT-10, DT-20 and DT-30, with a load-carrying capacity of 10, 20 and 30 tons, respectively;
═ two-unit amphibious transporters DT-10P, DT-20P and DT-30P with similar specifications as the regular transporters.
According to official reports and opinions of those who took part in the trials, these vehicles performed far beyond initial targets. In terms of cross-country maneuverability on low-bearing soils, payloads and internal volumes, speed, and obstacle negotiating ability, including amphibious capability, these ATVs outperform all Russian-made and foreign vehicles of this class.
Currently, Vityaz CTVs are in use throughout the whole territory of Russia, as well as in the harsh regions of the Arctic and Antarctica. They are an invaluable part of the transport services for prominent companies such as Gazprom JSC, Rosneftegazstroi, Rosneftegaz JSC, etc. They serve as primary transport vehicles for the personnel who service the extensive oil and gas pipelines throughout Russia, for geologists and scientists who research the dangerous, faraway destinations of Antartica and the Arctic regions. The construction and service industries are also benefiting from the advantages of these vehicles. The DT-30K crane, the DT-30E excavator, refuelling vehicles, mobile workshops, mobile oil refineries, passenger transporters, firefighting vehicles, etc. are mounted on Vityaz chassis. These vehicles are in demand not only in Russia, but throughout the countries of the Middle East and Asia, as well as in North and South America.
The transporters feature similar configuration. Both units are basically sealed all-welded structures.
The vehicle═s power plant is arranged in the first van behind the driver═s cabin. From a 12-cylinder multi-fuel engine the torque is conveyed to a hydromechanical transmission via a cardan shaft and further to the bevel gearing and final drive units, as well as to the drive sprockets of the first and second van bodies.
The track assembly is made up of four wide rubberized-fabric band tracks reinforced with welded steel cross-pieces; four track guide engagement drive sprockets with nine pairs of polyurethane rollers; road wheels with rubber bands, and four idler wheels (one on either side is provided with a polyurethane rim). The suspension is independent, torsion-bar type, with spring supports on all rollers.
Years of operation of these vehicles have proved their reliability and robust design. The vehicle═s design primarily features an unconventional pattern of four active track envelopes providing for large surface contact with the ground for greater stability. In addition to this feature, these ATVs ensures the so called ═kinematic method═ for turning the articulated tracked vehicle through the ═forced folding═ of its units. The kinematic method of turn provides a positive tracking force for all tracks during linear movement and while making turns. A combination of the kinematic method of turn and a powerful multifuel engine, along with a hydromechanical transmission, unique track and suspension system with wide band tracks, road wheels with rubber pads, and vertical hydraulic cylinders which allow the two vehicle units to move vertically in relation to each other, make the articulated vehicles with a maximum weight of up to 60 tons more capable in terms of their swamp-, moving sand- loose soil- and snow-going capacity, than any type of single-unit swamp- and snow-going vehicle.
As the two units can be turned relative to each other in the vertical and horizontal planes via hydraulic cylinders or, conversely, can be fixed, the two-unit vehicle can negotiate short (equal to the length of one unit) sections of difficult terrain and such obstacles as ditches and walls and come out of water onto an unprepared bank, ice, or peat.
Owing to their unique design, the Vityaz family of ATVs are capable of operating in conditions impossible for other all-terrain vehicles, for example:
═ amphibious return to a mother ship;
═ off-road movement with one unit disabled or without one, or even without both tracks of one of the units;
═ negotiating ditches and clefts up to 4.0 m wide.
═ unloading of a ship offshore if it cannot come close to waterfront (i.e. in the Arctics and Antarctica regions, or in flooded regions, etc.); negotiating waterways in severe ice conditions;
═ operation in mountains up to an altitude of 4,000 m.
The DT-10P and DT-30P ATVs are widely used by Russian troops deployed in challenging environmental regions, on islands (for transporting army elements, ammunition, equipment, FOLs and installation of weapon systems). These vehicles are also used by various industries in regions with poor access roads and climatic conditions. They are used to transport various cargoes; deploy digging, forest-working, power, and firefighting equipment; deploy mobile polyclinics and bakeries; transport cranes, excavators, water tanks, etc.; make amphibious unloading of cargoes; tow ships; heave off ships and barges; as well as perform prospecting work on shallow areas of shelf zones.
Use of the DT-10P and DT-30P ATVs in various industrial sectors has radically changed the techniques of construction projects, made them more independent of weather and made it possible to reduce costs involved in the construction of roads, births, airfields, etc. Due to their high cross-country capacity and dependability in diverse weather conditions, the DT-10P and DT-30P ATVs can sometimes replace helicopters, which cost a great deal in operation and whose employment in the northern areas of Russia is limited because of the severe weather.
ATVs are indispensable as recovery vehicles, since they have a high pull ratio (approximately 500 kN for the DT-30P) and can approach a stuck or damaged vehicle from any direction in bad road conditions. The DT-10P and DT-30P transporters are very efficient as part of search and rescue teams operating in extreme conditions (bad roads, floods, snow-drifts, land and snow slides and large-scale destruction) when it is necessary to evacuate people, animals, and various cargoes up to 30 ton by weight, or transport rescue teams, medical personnel, various equipment and food to the affected area.
A decade-long commitment with the DT-10P and DT-30P articulated tracked vehicles in their diverse roles in the armed forces and industrial sectors has proven their outstanding quality and rugged durability in all environmental conditions. These remarkable machines have taken the road that domestic and foreign rivals dare not follow.