Submarines of David Pashayev

During the Cold War, nuclear submarines became the foundation of the submarine fleets of the U.S. Navy and the Soviet Union. After World War II, nuclear scientists set out to increase the speed and submergence time of submarines. In 1955, the first submarine with nuclear reactors on board appeared in the U.S., and three years later in the USSR. Construction of nuclear submarines was located in the Arkhangelsk region, thus ensuring availability and safety of production.

In the difficult years preceding the collapse of the Soviet Union, right up until 2004, “Sevmash” (“Northern Machine-Building Enterprise”) was headed by David Pashayev, who managed to maintain the technical and production potential of the company and its working staff. He introduced new approaches to the creation of military equipment and the construction of nuclear submarines of the fourth generation. Under his leadership, a set of measures was developed on the “double” use of high technology; extensive programs implemented for dismantling nuclear submarines; for the first time in Russia, a new industry was created for building platforms for the development of the Arctic shelf.

David Pashayev was born in 1940, the fourth child of a Russian-Azerbaijani family. His father Hussein worked in Soviet farms near Moscow in the system of the NKVD, which provides food supplies for the builders of water canals. In 1935, he was appointed director of a farm in the village of Ostashevo, where he met his future wife, Barbara Stulova. Both of their daughters became physicians, the eldest son worked as chief designer in the design bureau of the Baku air conditioning factory; the youngest son, David, graduated from the Urals Polytechnic Institute and was assigned to work in Severodvinsk. At “Sevmash” he almost immediately took up installation of equipment and systems of nuclear reactors. He quickly learned production and complicated techniques, and became one of the most respected experts on reactor compartments of submarines.

After his appointment as deputy chief and then chief of slip production, Pashayev’s life became very hard. He was responsible for the preparation and testing of nuclear submarines, and then, in the “golden age” of Russian shipbuilding, up to five ships were on tests at once, and hundreds of testers were at sea at the same time. In 1986 Pashayev was appointed the chief engineer of “Sevmash”. This was the time of the third generation of nuclear submarines “Akula” (“Shark”), “Antey”, and “Bars”. Appreciating his achievements in this area, the factory’s collective elected Pashayev to the position of CEO. It was the first case in the history of “Sevmash” in which the head of the team was elected, not appointed from above.

For all Pashayev’s predecessors, success was achieved thanks to government support and the policy directed at developing the strength and power of the Navy. But the new CEO faced a very different time. It was marked by a sharp decline in financing of the state defence industry, not even enough for one month’s wages to employees; abandoned hull ships on the stocks; daily distribution of bread coupons for future payments and tempting offers to turn the factory into a joint stock company and split it into components; endless changes in the government and reforming of the governance structures.

“When the funding was ‘cut off’, when unfinished state commissions filled the stacks with giant steel semi-finished products, the plant was ready for disaster,” Alexander Prokhanov writes in “Symphony of the Fifth Empire .” The Azerbaijani genius David Guseynovich Pashayev foresaw the trouble of the defence industry when listening to Gorbachev’s pacifist chirping and reformers’ reports on unilateral disarmament. He began to look for orders from gas workers of the Russian North and from oil workers of Sakhalin. He did not hesitate to manufacture “trailers” and piping components. But, more importantly, to finally get an order for submarines, without having the steel to produce them, because the main supplier of steel, “Azovstal,” was now abroad and demanded exorbitant prices. The director found a “Solomonic solution”. He decided to use blanks for old boats that were not meant to be built, and giant cylinders abandoned in warehouses, and stocks for new ships that had been designed based on finished items. This solution sold off “half-finished” production, unloaded stock, and gave construction a quick boost.”

Pashayev met with the leaders of the country, influential politicians, naval commanders, and bankers, to draw attention to the problems of the shipbuilding industry. He initiated presidential decrees and government regulations aimed at reviving the industry. One of the initiatives which helped maintain a high level of technology at “Sevmash” was the creation of a new industry for the construction of offshore ice-resistant platforms.

Another problem Pashayev had to solve was the delivery of components to the plant. Well-established connections with suppliers from the countries of the former Soviet Union had been severed after the collapse of the USSR . Therefore, Pashayev suggested organizing at “Sevmash” production of technically-feasible and cost-effective items – hydraulic equipment and ship fittings.

All this attracted the attention of the business community in Russia and abroad. The factory received offers of cooperation and signed contracts on making commissions for military-technical cooperation and the national economy. But the most powerful arguments in favour of “Sevmash” were the foundation in 1996 and later the construction of the new-generation nuclear submarine “Yury Dolgoruky”, and the delivery of the first ship of the third generation “Gepard” (“Cheetah”) in 2002.

In 2004, Pashayev transferred the management of the enterprise to his assistant, and focused his attention on problems of the development of Russian state nuclear shipbuilding in the Public Chamber. Thus he was working on two commissions – on the intellectual potential of the nation, as well as on innovation, high-tech science and engineering projects. In 2006, Pashayev received the National Award for Science and Technology for the development, creation and development of three generations of nuclear submarines.

David Pashayev died in 2010. the Severodvinsk administration has decided to name one of the most beautiful squares in the town after him.

Source – Vestnik Kavkaza

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