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Kisunko Gregory Vasylovych - Chief Designer of the first in the world of Missile Defense


Photo. Kisunko Gregory Vasylovych

March 4, 1961 is the world's first ballistic missile that can carry nuclear warheads, was destroyed in flight by another, the so-called antimissile. In the United States a similar intercept ballistic missiles took place on June 10, 1984. The General Designer of the first in the world of missile defense was our compatriot –radiophysicist, Professor, corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Lieutenant-engineer, the Lenin Prize winner, hero of Socialist Labor – Gregory Vasylovych Kisunko.

His fate G.V. Kisunko identified early enough

G.V. Kisunko was born July 20, 1918 in village Bilmanka of Zaporizhzhia region in a peasant family. He entered the Lugansk Pedagogical Institute, where he studied  the mathematical field. By the way, his passion for mathematics started from 7th grade school when his hand accidentally hit the textbook “Course of higher mathematics for technical” Brusilovskyi author of a textbook. Then there was delight in physics, especially theoretical alloy as physics and mathematics. Kisunko studied this complex discipline with its own methodology – the lecture is not recapitulated, but simply listened, then studied the material in the presentation of different authors and only then formulated his own summary. Systematic approach to teaching and scientific activities gave him to later write original monograph “Electrodynamics hollow systems”, which became a reference book for engineers and students of many generations.

In April 1938, when Gregory studied at the last semester, was arrested and shot his father, Vasyl Tryfonovych Kisunko, whereof his son had listent almost all lifetime.

After graduating from the Institute with honors, G.V. Kisunko in autumn 1938 enrolled in  postgraduate course in the Department of Theoretical Physics, Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute named after. O.I.Hertsena. June 17, 1941, he defended the dissertation and received academic degree of candidate of physico-mathematical sciences.

Sky defender in war period

With the start of World War Gregory Vasylovych on 4 July 1941 volunteered to the Leningrad people's militia army.  Kisunka sent for training to the military school of air surveillance, notification and communication of the Red Army. Served in a separate radio battalion, air surveillance, notification and communication Special Moscow air defence army (AIR DEFENSE) on positions of an Assistant platoon leader – Chief of the station of the technical part, platoon leader – Chief of the station, the engineer of the stations radio detection of aircraft.

In 1944, G.V. Kisunka was invited as a teacher of the Department of Theoretical fundamentals radiolocation to Red Military Academy of Telecommunications named by S.M. Budonnyi. He read also special courses at the Leningrad State University, Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, Naval Academy shipbuilding and weapons experts advised a number of research institutes. During the five years published a series of articles on the electrodynamics of high frequency (UHF), with a fundamental solution to the problem of radio wave guides, wrote two monographs and prepared to defend a doctoral thesis.

The first complexes of surface-to-air missile armament

In terms of the cold war, which began in the late 1940s, there was the threat of the atomic bombing of the territory of the USSR from the United States. Therefore the Soviet Union took the decision to develop a national system or air defense of the capital of the USSR – Moscow –with the help of radio-controlled missiles. At the Council of Ministers was created the Main Office, which was subordinated to a separate design Bureau No. 1, where together with other best known experts Gregory Kisunka was transferred.

The first Soviet surface-to-air missile Air Defense System originally got the name "Berkut"(golden eagle), and later S-25. Gregory Kisunko worked as head of the sector of development of SHF devices, head of the laboratories with the development of radio engineering devices, Deputy technical head of the testing station, prompting surface-to-air missile, directly participated in development of antenna systems, waveguide, radio receiving  antenna systems. At the time, the complex S-25 had the best in the world of technical specifications, providing protection against 20 aircraft at a speed of 1250 km/h at flying height from 3 to 25 km. In Moscow air defense system was activated at the same time 56 systems S-25, which have been in service for over 30 years.

Gregory Vasylovych was also one of the active developers of S-75, which became the mobile analogue systems S-25. May 1, 1960 at Sverdlovsk region is the S-75 was shot down invulnerable, as believed Americans, spy aircraft U-2. The S-75 and its modifications showed also very high efficiency during the war in Vietnam.

For active and effective participation in the creation of the first surface-to-air missile complexes S-25 Gregory Kisunko in 1956 was awarded the title of hero of Socialist Labor. In 1958 he was elected a corresponding member of Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

The first anti-ballistic missile system in the world

The issue of protection against intercontinental missiles initiated by senior management of the USSR at the beginning of 50th years, i.e. at the time of enacting the first surface-to-air missile complexes. An official push to start development of a anti-ballistic missile system was a letter signed by the Chief of the General staff in V.D. Sokolowskyi and six marshals of the Soviet Union (August 1953).

Some experts believed the idea of anti-ballistic missile utopian. "It is impossible to hit the ball in the ball," said they. However, Gregory Vasylovych, having deep theoretical knowledge and experience over the first surface-to-air missile complexes (SAM), are not rejected the idea of destroying missiles in flight and undertook a theoretical study, and then the practical creation of this system. In August 1954, he began to develop proposals on the project of an experimental anti-ballistic missile system. 17 September 1956 by the Government had taken a decision regarding the development of the experimental anti-ballistic missile system ‘A’. In 1958 he published a decree on the development of pilot project “A-35”, led by General Designer Gregory Kisunko. For the development of a new system in 1961 with the KB-1 under his leadership was marked OKB-30(Experimental Design Bureau). Not surprisingly, the General Designer of the anti-ballistic missile system was a scientist-radio-locator who did not develop missiles. Without belittling the contributions of other designers, including anti-ballistic missile outstanding designer Peter Dmytrovych Grushyn, it should be noted that the most difficult problem is the rapid destruction of missiles determine its coordinates, efficient tracking of flight and precision-guided anti-ballistic missiles. The basis for designing the system was based on the idea of Kisunka about the determination of the coordinates of the target with three points simultaneously (method of three distances). But between making ideas and implementation systems were years challenging, tedious work of hundreds of engineers and scientists.

Taking into consideration the special importance of the problem and the decisive role of radio interferences in the “A” system and Gregory Kisunko decided to create a locator in his team and actually led the work. The problem was extremely difficult. Because anti-ballistic missile system had to identify and accompany the ballistic missiles at distances, hundreds of times greater than in antiaircraft defense, despite the fact that reflective surface in a rocket on two orders of magnitude smaller than of the plane.

The problems were not just difficult, but extremely complex. Their solution requires collaboration with creators of ballistic missiles. Minister of defense industry, Dmytro Fedorovych Ustynov, introduces two constructors – Sergii Korolov and Gregory Kisunko said that the one who makes the missiles, and the one who shoots it down, should know each other in person.

The first anti-ballistic missile system is one of the most difficult types of weapons, that man has developed until today. In this system, everything happens with unattainable for human speed. After determining the approximate coordinates of targets starts missile defense, determined the exact coordinates of the target with three points. Rapprochement missile defense with the purpose of going on at superhigh-speed. The work of the system can not operate without high-speed electronic computing machines (ECM) and automation of work of all components of the system on the basis of the ECM. According to Gregory Vasylovych, it was about "creating computer-automated multi-component system that had no precedents, neither in the military nor in civil engineering". Computational utensils system “A” developed by experts under the leadership of Academician Sergyi Lebediev and his colleagues Vsevolod Burtsev. The laboratory Kisunko electronic engineers have developed for precise pointing missiles defense station computing machines, which was first implemented on the structure and principle of the multiple-processor complex. On the basis of new solutions in 1966 near Moscow built a combat computer systems, interconnected with high-speed data transmission lines with a total length of more than a thousand kilometers.

To test the system “A” and research was created a separate polygon – in the desert near Lake Balkhash. Later, near the polygon the shore of Lake Balkhash grew the city Pryozersk.

The first phase of works experimental anti-ballistic missile system was completed successful tests on March 4, 1961, when the experimental polygon complex brought to the interception of ballistic missile R-12 special interceptor V-1000 anti-ballistic missile designed by Peter Grushyn. For the first time in the history a missile shot down a missile! By the way, this happened even before the launch of a man into space and for 23 years earlier than did similar in the United States.

The successful creation of the system “A” was of great scientific-technical and political-strategic importance. The head of the Soviet Union Mykyta Khrushchov about this, in particular, said: “Our rocket, it is possible to tell, gets to a fly in space …”

The principles are tested as part of "A" formed the basis for the development of radar equipment "A-35" anti-ballistic missile system of Moscow, the decision to establish which under the leadership of Kisunka was taken April 8, 1958. The introduction of this system has passed a lot of time. In June 1961 was designed the draft project of “A-35”. During the 1962-1967 were built military facilities system near Moscow, continued adjustment the system.

In 1966, for the development of experimental systems "A" group of experts was awarded the Lenin Prize. And in 1967 the head of works was awarded the rank of General-Lieutenant-engineer.

Not thanks to, but in spite of it. Creator to the last breath

Should pay attention to the uneasy relationship between designers and officials, in particular on the relationship between the Chief Designer of SAM by Alexander Rasplietin, his colleague, Valeryi Kalmykovym (future Minister of the USSR Radio) and Gregory Kisunko, which was evident even during work on a system of “Berkut”. From the time when Kisunko became the General constructor of the system, these relations have become even more strained. For example, in his memoirs Gregory Vasylovych says: “It was not easy to “collect” the system by connecting objects one after the other through radio relay communication to a central computer, and machine learning objects “communicate” with each other, performing general combat program. For this purpose on the polygon round-the-clock work of the fighting calculations consisting of military and industrial workers. And almost uninterruptedly my presence at the polygon as General Designer was required practically, but...in constant readiness to fly to Moscow to reflect another attempt “antikisunkovskoy” reorganization KB-1”.

Almost all of the scientific-technical and organizational issues that deal with Kisunko, were retarded due to support Ministry of the USSR Radio. It was a lot of effort to select SKB-30(Special Design Bureau) into a separate company under the direction of G.V. Kisunka. After this decision internal contradictions was removed, but external pressures continued. In 1970, during the reorganization of the order Ministry of the USSR Radio was created CNVO "Vympel", where entered OKB "Vympel", and G.V. Kisunko was appointed Deputy Director of research and Chief of the Research Division of the “A-35” and its modernization (“A-35m”). The first stage of “A-35” was commissioned in 1972, the second - in 1974.

Further improvements to the system continued in the following years. Since the adoption of new systems in the U.S. missile had to "train system" to deal with interference select false targets, destroying some warheads. The latest brainchild of Kisunka–“A-35m” system, was entered service in 1978. But it was already without the chief designer and inventor of the system, because during the three years before Gregory Kisunka was push aside from work. In his memoirs, the events that led to his suspension from work on the modernization of "A-35", Gregory Vasylovych describes under the epigraph “For never was a story of more woe than this of the Soviet anti-ballistic missile”. Many years later, on December 10, 1992, in an interview with the newspaper "Pravda", the former Commander of the Army anti-ballistic missile and Air space defense Colonel-General Yuryi Votyntsev about these events say: “The greatest contribution to the anti-ballistic missile system made ​​Kisunko and Muratov. But in the most intense period of work on the system, because of the intrigues in the Ministry of Radio Industry, they were removed from the case”.

In 1979 “due to disagreement with the leadership of MRI on the further development of the Special subjects” G.V. Kisunko addressed with drawn to defence Minister about the recall it as a serviceman with MRI. Subsequently, Grigory Vasilievich worked as a consultant to the 45-th Central Research Institute of the Defense Ministry, and since 1987. – Head of the laboratory of theoretical problems of the USSR Academy of Scienses.

Modification of G.V. Kisunka used not only the military - it is used in various branches of a national economy. In particular, after the major works to create the “A” system was instructed to use tools of system for operations “K” (K1-5)– a study of the influence of high-altitude nuclear explosions on the work of electronic means. Gregory Vasylovych as supervisor of operations successfully carried them. Following the operation “K” system “A” written off, and oversized radar antenna pointing precision was transmitted as radio telescopes: one - the Turkmen Academy of Sciences, the other two - Ukraine. By designing documentation antennae G. Kisunka were manufactured antenna and antenna fairings of the entrance points of the Central TV “Orbit”. Based on antenna channel targets was created the country's largest povnopovorotnij radio telescope RT-15, which were studies of radio emission of cosmic objects. Developed by radiolocator for the Missile defense system have been converted into powerful radio telescopes; in the Baltics and Ukraine, they helped scientists in the study of the cosmos.

Contribution of Gregory Vasylovych Kisunka in science is indisputable. He owned works on the theory of propagation of electromagnetic waves in radio waveguides, he was able to completely solve “the sum of de Brolia”, created a systematic trend in applied radiophysics, in which the key role played the development and use of computers in large systems in real time, together with his colleagues  the scientist started original research on gravitational wave radiation.

As the father of Grigory Vasylovych Kisunko was proud of his children: the eldest son, Vasyl became famous film expert, teacher, doctor of art; smaller Alexander became scientist, radiophysicist, doctor of technical sciences.

October 11, 1998 the outstanding designer Gregory Kisunko died. “A few hours before his death, at night - as told widow Design Bronislawa Isaievna - Gregory said: “I need to call the guys. I solved the problem, they gave me”. Buried G.V. Kisunko on Troyekurovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.

History is not always grateful to the founders, so the creation of an anti-ballistic missile system in Moscow Gregory Kisunka not even awarded. But humanity should always be grateful of what rightly noted veteran of Soviet Air Defense Professor George Troshyn: “He has bright life of discoverer, founder, full of tireless labor. He hold against enemy attacks native land in the Great Patriotic War”.

M.Yu. Ilchenko, member of The National Academy of Science of Ukraine (From the speech of Scientific reciting of “Eminent Designers of Ukraine”)

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