Sunday, September 18, 2011

Whale Jump

An interesting book about how two American immigrants in Russia developed the FCS for Kilo-class submarines. Unfortunately, only the abstract is translated in English:

“Whale Jump” is an extremely complex emergency surfacing
manoeuvre, which can save a submarine in distress, provided that its
captain and crew have courage, experience and determination. An
action taken in extreme circumstances by a talented and brave leader
and his team to save the day can be called a “Whale Jump”.
“Whale Jump” is the name of this book, about the creation of the
command system of Soviet submarine Project 877 (Kilo class) also
known as “Varshavyanka”.
“Whale Jump” is a historical account of how the submarine’s
combat and navigation system “Usel” (Russian for “The Knot”) came
into being.
“Varshavyanka” and “Usel” are still deployed in the 2st century by
the navies of Russia, India, China, Iran, Algeria and other countries.
Their creation 40 years ago has tied an incredible «destiny knot»
of many peoples’ lives – a Leningrad team of young and enthusiastic
developers and their forever to be loved teachers and leaders: Philip
Staros and Josef Berg, talented American engineers of amazing and
tragic fates. More than once they had to execute a “Whale Jump”, was
luck always with them?
Intelligence service conflicts, daring scientific endeavors, collaboration
with the great creators of submarines, aircraft and spacecraft, the
emergence, development and downfall of Soviet microelectronics, all
formed the destiny knot described in this book.
The author, Mark Galperin, was born in Leningrad and educated at
LITMO University. He joined the design bureau headed by Philip Staros
as a student and worked under his guidance for 14 years. Mark was the
first deputy to Philip Staros in the “Usel” design and was awarded the
State Award of the USSR for his part in the Varshavyanka project. He
now resides in Australia.


  1. I really only have one problem...
    When engineers and designers and scientists and mathematicians from dozens of countries get together in the US and build a nuclear bomb, or engineers and designers and scientists and mathematicians with last names that look like eye charts in a doctors office build a rocket and some things to take a man to the moon they are both considered American achievements.

    If two American engineers choose to work in the Soviet Union and develop something for the Soviet Union lets call it a Soviet invention shall we?

    Or can we talk about the French and Belgian and New Zealand development of the first nuclear bomb, and of course the Germans sending the first man to the moon.

  2. They were political refugees, the friends of executed Rozenbergs, and the communists, like Italian physic Pontecorvo emigrated to USSR too. It is something less often and different from the economical migration to US. So, is much more interesting. They became USSR citizens of course and nobody deny mostly authentic Russian input in electronics development in USSR.

  3. Igor & GarryB,

    Just like the Australians were able to poach Russian sports specialists just before the Sydney Olympics and came up with their best performance the Chinese have been able to poach Soviet / Russian scientists to develop their Defense and Space programs.

    No wonder China is making such great progress in Defense and Space.

    This is of concern to India and to a lesser degree I guess to Russia as well .


  4. There is no place like home... where everyone speaks the same language as you...

    As conditions improve in Russia some of those that left will come back.

    The primary goal should not be on beating this or that country, it should be on improving your country to the point where people want to live there.

  5. For ages here in New Zealand we hear about how wonderful it is in Australia and how everything is better than it is in New Zealand.
    Well things are changing in Australia and it is not so wonderful there now.
    The boom and bust cycle of democracy means no where stays wonderful forever...
    The real question is, do you want such fair weather friends back when they so easily can up an leave when somewhere else seems to have greener grass?
    Such people tend to be complainers and I don't really miss them to be honest.
    For years we in New Zealand looked to Ireland as a shining light... huge economic growth with tax policies that attracted investment from international companies.
    The problem on the other side is that once things turn bad these international companies are the first to jump ship which makes everything worse and Ireland gets left holding the bag... economists here have forgotten what they were saying 5 years ago about the Irish economy being worth copying now that it has all gone bad. Those foreign investors couldn't care less about the Irish economy and were only interested in low tax rates. When they went... so did the investment.

    What I am trying to say is, don't do what everyone else does, and sort your own problems out yourself... people have short memories... look at the irony of Cameron consulting US police about UK riots... he obviously doesn't remember the Rodney King riots.

  6. Igorr, when do you think will there be a true replacement to the old MGK series sonars with new-generation hydrophones and DIMUS(digital multibeam) scanning to compete with Western developments?

    At present all ships just seem to have newer versions of old sonars like MGK-400EM, with old arrays and digital signal processing.