The history of almost every enterprise indicates that not all prototypes are destined to become serial.
Wheel tractors and missile carriers, launched in 1983 at the automobile plant in Minsk, were always admired due to their powerful power and size. Nevertheless, the parameters are more massive than those possessed by the Topol missile system (the base for it was MAZ-7912 and 7917 with seven axes), it differs from the analogues of MAZ-7904.
The fact that there were these special chassis in the Soviet era, were aware of only a few designers and the military. The sunset of the Soviet rule during the 80s was marked in world history by the fact that new models of giant cars were created on the territory of the special design bureau of MAZ. Their uniqueness was confirmed not only within the territory of the USSR, but also throughout the world.
Only after the collapse of the country, information was published regarding the data of gigantic top-secret cars. Among these late Soviet giants is the MAZ-7904 with six axles. The design of this machine came at the end of the 70s.
The influence of the confrontation of countries on the creation of a giant
The beginning of the 80s was marked by the fact that in the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States of America during the Cold War, the highest point of tension was reached. Previously, a similar tensions were evident in the midst of the Caribbean crisis. Two superpowers clearly demonstrated nuclear power before each other. February 1980, as a result, was the period when the order of the Minister, head of the automotive industry of the Union, was issued. According to this order, the Minsk Automobile Plant was obliged to develop a special wheeled conveyor - MAZ-7904. Technical characteristics of the highest level should have been demonstrated by this giant. In addition, they had to be accompanied by particularly significant indicators of carrying capacity. The Tselina missile system required such a carrying capacity for an autonomous transport launcher. MAZ-7904 project "Tselina", by the way, fully satisfied.
The designed machine with this index was created under the leadership of B. Shaposhnik, an elderly (80-year-old) at that time. He was also the project manager, in the framework of which the creation of the first Soviet career giants MAZ-525 and MAZ-530, as well as all subsequent MAZ military tractors and multi-axle chassis for many of such complexes as Elbrus, Topol and Pioneer took place ". Moreover, in this particular situation, Shaposhnikov was faced with a difficult task. This is because the transport and launch container, launch equipment and rocket for the Tselina complex have a total weight of 220 tons. The model MAZ-7904 itself was supposed to have a curb weight of 140 tons. It was assumed that the weight of the new transport chassis and missiles will be within 360 tons. The project MAZ-7904 presented a machine with incredible weight and dimensions, the development of which will take tremendous effort.
In February 1981, the Minsk Automobile Plant organized an interdepartmental meeting with the participation of:
- ministers in charge of the automotive, defense and electrical industries;
- strategic missile forces commander;
- Deputy Minister of Defense for Arms;
- chief designer of ground equipment units of rocket systems OKB-1 of the Barricades plant;
- chief designer of MIT and the Tselina missile system;
- other senior designers and superiors.
Of course, there was a discussion of the Tselina project and the transport chassis being developed for it, called the MAZ 7904. One of the largest cars in the world for its creation required that, as part of the meeting, Shaposhnik had to:
- refer to the complexity of the tasks;
- Demand to expand the staff of designers in the bureau (approximately 100 people);
- Allocate living space for them.
Fulfillment of a number of requirements
All his requirements were taken seriously, they were immediately fulfilled. The Minister of the Automobile Industry V. Polyakov allocated a budget for an additional payroll for these professionals, and the Ministry of Defense of the Union paid for all the real estate necessary for their resettlement. In addition, Polyakov initiated the equipment of the building, in which Shaposhnik’s office was located, with an elevator. This allowed older designers to have the opportunity to climb to their third floor. The office of the chief designer was additionally transformed by repair.
Although the MAZ-7904 super-tractor unit weighed a lot and thereby provoked new difficulties, June 1983 was marked by the end of work on the first, and later it turned out that simultaneously with the latter, a model of this transport. The giant with two cabs had fantastic sizes. As a material for cabins, the specialists of the Osipovichi plant decided to use fiberglass. Thus, it was possible to reduce their weight. The length of the tractor reached 32.2 m. It had a width of 6.8 m. Height (ground - roofs of parallel cabs) was 3.45 m. As a basis, this giant had a powerful welded supporting frame. A pair of hydromechanical 4-speed transmissions (having two reverse gears) was fixed on it. The supply of wheels for the MAZ-7904 of the USSR was provided by the well-known Japanese manufacturer - the company Bridgestone. The deal was drawn up as if the USSR were buying wheels to complete three mining trucks. At that time, the domestic industry did not have the ability, facilities, equipment and technologies necessary for the production of tires that would be able to withstand such loads. The entire structure was held by 12 huge wheels (their diameter exceeded 3 meters). MAZ-7904 was created as an all-terrain chassis, in connection with this, its distinctive feature was four-wheel drive (12 × 12 wheel arrangement), and the ground clearance was almost half a meter. To implement all-wheel drive, the on-board method was used (by means of two synchronized hydromechanical gears). Both a pair of front axles and a pair of rear axles of the conveyor were steered. This became a guarantee that the turning radius will be limited to 50m. Two engines also distinguished it from among analogues. The first - the ship's V-shaped 12-cylinder diesel engine M-350 (it was produced by the Leningrad PO Zvezda) - had a capacity of 1,500 horsepower. It was supplemented by gas turbine boost. Thanks to him, the machine itself was driven directly. Due to the second - 330-horsepower diesel V8 YaMZ-328 - energy production was provided for the auxiliary systems of the giant. It was supplemented by a turbocharger, which was used for the drive:
- steering hydraulic pumps;
- high and low pressure compressors.
Highest level of secrecy
The secret conduct of factory tests and break-in of this unit occurred exclusively in the dark. Moreover, these activities were coordinated with the military. Under their control, a break-in time was assigned. For this, the airspace of Soviet Belarus should not have been occupied by Western spy satellites. After rolling the machine 547 km in the Minsk area, it was disassembled, loaded onto a special 12-axle platform and sent to the territory of Kazakhstan (to the cosmodrome of the city of the same name Baikonur).
Reasons for the giant’s connection with Kazakhstan
There were several reasons for this decision. If there is an information leak clarifying a secret development, then the version of the explanation for its creation will be the transportation of a large indivisible block (or several indivisible blocks) of space rockets (for example, the Energia rocket). The second reason was determined by the nature of the true purpose of this machine, and Kazakhstan had a direct connection with it. The military sought to create conditions so that a group of 10 such giants would constantly ply within a closed multi-kilometer route in the middle of the steppes of Kazakhstan. Each of these ten chassis had a so-called "house". He had the appearance of a hangar. As part of one of them (or maybe several), the hangar was equipped with a launcher with a missile. In this case, it was theoretically assumed that it would be an impossible task for the enemy to find out in which or in which hangars the installation is. This idea cannot be called new at that time. Already the territory of the USSR one train ran, and even their group. It was disguised as a freight or passenger train. At the same time, an intercontinental nuclear missile was located inside it, ready at any second unexpected for the enemy to strike back at the Pentagon.
It is unknown to call it positive or negative for the world, it is unknown, but the idea of such a moving column was not realized.
The only model of this machine could not even be equipped with a hangar.
During the Kazakh tests, after passing the car 4,100 kilometers (the developed maximum speed was recorded within 27 km / h), it turned out that there was a significant negative point. The supporting surface was influenced by excessive specific pressure, a huge load of 30 tons was directed at each wheel. As a result, this resulted in reduced maneuverability, stiffness and poor handling. In the case of this ballasted slow-moving car, movement was possible only within the limits of hard road surfaces.
Shaposhnik, and in the process of working, was afraid that a huge axial load would provoke the fact that the wheels of the chassis could not fail and not get stuck in the ground.
As a result, at the beginning of 2007 it became clear that after many years of storing the car in the hangar of the Zenit launch (the civil organization Design Bureau of Transport Engineering was the owner of this area), it collapsed under the influence of rust. In 2010, it was cut into scrap metal.