Back in the USSR

At the Hudson Club meet at the Portola Valley Military Vehicle Technology Foundation (MVTF) we were given a tour of the massive (literally) collection of tanks, engines, guns, shells, jeeps and various tracked and 4, 8, 12,… wheeled killing machines. While that’s not really my cup of tea, I wandered around and found a few things there that I thought were really really cool.

Meet the Soviet Long-Track Radar Vehicle (P40 Radar), from 1969.

Or, in this photo from an Air Force website, via Wikipedia:

So, it’s basically a not-really-armored, fully tracked, mega-massive soviet built tractor with a 30 foot wide 2MW turbine-powered radar dish on top- what could possibly not be fantastic about that.

A peek inside confirms, yes, fantastic.

The rear of the truck houses the electric parts to run the radar system. The middle of the truck is this room for 4-5 operators, with a superb array of switches, joysticks, knobs, dials, screens, gauges and lights. All the panel printing is in Russian. The whole thing is in impressively good shape.

I’ll just run my photos of all the controls, but first- yes, the whole thing runs on vacuum tubes, in the true Russian propensity.

Even the cab of the truck is pretty well fitted out.

So, what do we take from this besides a certain “steampunk”/”retro-industrio-mil-russi-punk” attraction? (as if that isn’t quite enough!) Well, just like all the things in that museum, it’s a testament to the incredible outpouring of resources (natural, and human) used to build war machines. It gives a face to “Mil-spec”. Forty years later this machine is still in remarkable shape. It’s also a reminder of just how technology has progressed in this evolving globally connected world- where something like this is absolutely, hopelessly obsolete and useless. The Russians, Germans and Americans seem like the biggest players in the arms/engineering race depicted through the collection at the MVTF. Every nation has different strengths that are reflected in the way they built these war machines- imagine what could have become if everyone just dropped the war part and worked together for the purpose of improving life instead of destroying it.

Problems of the world aside, I’ll stick with the “retro-industrio-mil-russi-punk” attraction. It’s working pretty well for me right now.

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 5:01 pm by Henry · Permalink
In: Art and Design, Life and Times, Photo Journo

One Response

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by SnipeR72
    on April 27, 2010 at 7:07 am
    Reply ·