Arsenal plant

The state-owned enterprise of special instrument-making “Arsenal” (Ukrainian Kazenne enterprise of special equipment “Arsenal” ) is a state enterprise of the military-industrial complex of Ukraine.

It is a leading enterprise in the optical-mechanical and optical-electronic industry of Ukraine. It is included in the list of enterprises of strategic importance for the economy and security of Ukraine.


During the reign of Catherine II, in 1764, the “Regulations on the Kiev Arsenal Team” were published. This year is considered to be the date of the actual establishment of the Kiev arsenal in the fortress. In the 18th-19th centuries, the fortress workshops repair and manufacture various types of weapons, including artillery.

Since 1917, the plant began production of civilian products (agricultural equipment, tools, household goods, etc.).

In January 1918, the Arsenal plant was the center of the uprising of workers and soldiers of Kiev against the Central Rada.

After the start of the Great Patriotic War, the plant increased the output of military products. In early July 1941, in connection with the approach of the front line and air raids on Kiev, the USSR government decided to evacuate the Kiev Arsenal plant. Planning, organization and management of the evacuation of the plant was carried out by the director of the plant G.P. Shardin and the senior engineer of the GAU of the People’s Commissariat of Armament of the USSR P.I.Kalinushkin… On July 29 – August 14, 1941, the plant was evacuated to the east, to the city of Balashov, Saratov Region – 36 trains (1100 cars) were used to move all the plant equipment and 2500 workers, engineering and technical workers and employees of the plant. At the new location, the first section of the plant’s mechanical assembly shop began work three days after the equipment was installed [3].

Since 1946, the enterprise has been redesigned to produce optical, optical-mechanical and optical-electronic devices, mainly for the needs of the military industry.

In the 1970s, the plant mastered the manufacture of the R-27 URVV.

After the creation of NSAU, the plant was transferred to the jurisdiction of NSAU.

Since 1994, the team of the Arsenal Plant, which had more than 50 years of experience in the creation and production of optical and optoelectronic devices and systems for military and industrial purposes (orientation systems, aiming devices, homing, observation, measurement, analysis and photography), designed for operation both in laboratory and in harsh natural conditions, it was gradually re-profiled into the production of optical-electronic measuring and counting equipment for medicine, the banking sector and housing and communal services. The production of cameras, due to lack of competitiveness and high cost, has decreased to small-scale wholesale lots. The new management of the enterprise set a course for the gradual closure of the plant, by reducing government orders, closing workshops, leasing buildings and premises, and dismissing employees.

On July 28, 2009, the Economic Court of Kiev, by its ruling, opened bankruptcy proceedings against the State Enterprise “Plant Arsenal”.

December 2009 – the liquidation of the Arsenal Plant was completed. The enterprise was divided into KP SPS “Arsenal” and SE “Arsenal” in order to resist its destruction.

As of 2019, the electronics shop that burned down in 2009 was demolished at 36 Mikhail Grushevsky St. Leased 2 lower floors in the building at Moskovskaya, 2. Illegal construction work is being carried out in the building at 8b Moskovskaya street. The building at 26 Klovsky Spusk was redeemed for development.

All other buildings remain in the possession of the enterprise and are used for their intended purpose.

For the 1st quarter of 2020, the number of employees is 1,098 people.

Arsenal Plant products

Aviation and astronautics

Mobile three-coordinate space control radar “Zbruch” manufactured by SE “Arsenal”, 2019

All space launches of the former USSR, Russia and Ukraine were provided with the use of optical-electronic orientation systems manufactured by the Arsenal plant. In the 1970s, a complex of simulators of the external visual environment was created, creating a complete illusion of maneuvering and controlling a spacecraft during ground training of cosmonauts. Simulators manufactured at the plant are equipped with simulating stands and simulators, including those for the Mir station and the Buran spacecraft.

Aircraft helmet-mounted target designation systems, which were developed and manufactured at the plant, are used on MiG-29 and Su-27 aircraft in conjunction with the homing heads for air-to-air missiles created at the Arsenal Plant.

Special cameras of the Arsenal plant were used for photographing from spacecraft of the Vostok and Soyuz series, the Luna and Zond interplanetary stations, the Salyut orbital stations, and were also used when astronauts went into outer space.

Currently, the enterprise produces homing heads and control systems for various ATGMs (Stugna, Skif), ATGM and MANPADS, and participates in the production of Alder and Neptun missiles. Collimator display systems, on-board training systems for aviation, astro-measuring systems, inertial measuring units, various optical elements and other products are produced.

Cameras “Kiev”

  • From 1947 to 1985 the plant launched production of rangefinder cameras “Kiev-2”, “Kiev-3”, “Kiev-4”.
  • Since the production was based on the captured German machine tools of the Carl Zeiss Jena company, exported from the plant in Thuringia and using German technology, the first model Kiev-2 copied the German Contax camera [6].
  • Since 1957, a professional medium format system camera “Salute”, copied from the Swedish “Hasselblad 1600F” [7] [8], has been produced. The Salyut was replaced by the modified Salyut-S, Kiev-88TTL, Kiev-88SM and Kiev-90. In the 2000s, a modified Arax was produced.
  • Since 1960, miniature cameras of the “Kiev-Vega” and “Kiev-30” families have been produced.
  • From 1965 to 1980 single-lens reflex cameras “Kiev-10” and “Kiev-15” with a fan-shaped shutter of the original design were produced [9].
  • Since 1971, professional medium format single-lens reflex cameras of the Kiev-6S family with a B mount have been produced, since 1984 – Kiev-60. In the 2000s, cameras of this family were produced under the names “Arax-60” and “Arax-645”.
  • In 1977, the plant mastered the production of single-lens reflex cameras with Nikon mount. “Kiev-17” was produced from 1977 to 1984, “Kiev-20” from 1983 to 1986, “Kiev-19” from 1985 to 1991. The modified model “Kiev-19M” was produced from 1991 to 2008.
  • In the second half of the 1980s, the plant produced a small-format compact automatic camera “Kiev-35”.
  • Interchangeable lenses with focal lengths from 20 to 300 mm were produced for rangefinder and SLR cameras.
  • Teleconverters for N-mount (Nikon F) and M42 SLR cameras.

According to some reports, photographic products are still produced at the plant in small batches or to order.

“Kiev” is the name of a number of Soviet cameras of various classes produced since the late 1940s by the Arsenal production association in Kiev, Ukraine.

Medium format single-lens reflex cameras use 61.5 mm wide film (roller film) – type 120 film.

Modular layout

Cameras “Salyut”, “Salyut-S” and “Kiev-88” are system cameras.

The main unit has the shape of a cube; it contains a focal plane shutter with corrugated metal shutters made of stainless steel with a shutter speed range from 1/2 to 1/1000 s and “B”. Cocking the shutter, rewinding the film and setting the shutter speed is done with one handle. Setting of shutter speeds is possible only when the shutter is cocked. A replaceable viewfinder (shaft, pentaprism or pentaprism with a TTL exposure meter) is installed on top, and a removable cassette for film with a frame size of 6 × 6 cm is installed behind (cassettes with a frame size of 4.5 × 6 cm can be used). The design of the cassette allows you to remove it from the camera after any number of captured frames. At the front, interchangeable lenses with a V-mount are installed (or with a B-mount – on the currently produced Kiev-88SM).

A Hasselblad 1600F camera was used as a design model.

  • Salute (1957-1972)
  • “Salyut-S” (1972-1980) [1]
  • Kiev-88 (1979-2000)
  • “Kiev-90” (mid-1980s) – an automatic camera with an electronically controlled shutter, produced in small quantities.
  • At present, restyled modifications of “Kiev-88” under the “Arax” brand are produced in small batches.

Classic layout

“Kiev-6C TTL” with the lens “Vega-12B” 2.8 / 90. The use of film type 220 is possible.

Outwardly, they look and are arranged like single-lens reflex small format cameras, differ in the increased dimensions of the camera as a whole and the frame size of 6 × 6 cm.

On the currently produced modifications, the frame size is 6 × 6 or 4.5 × 6 cm.

Replaceable viewfinder (shaft, pentaprism or pentaprism with TTL exposure meter).

Focal length shutter with rubberized fabric shutters.

Cocking the shutter and rewinding the film – by the trigger.

Lens mount – bayonet B.

  • Kiev-6S (1971-1980)
  • “Kiev-6C TTL” (1978-1986)
  • “Kiev-60”, “Kiev-60 TTL” (1984 – up to the present time “Arax-60” and “Arax-645” are produced)

Lenses for Medium Format Cameras

The production association “Arsenal” produced interchangeable lenses for medium format cameras, with the letter index “B” – bayonet B, with index “B” – bayonet B.

Lens Illustration Focal
Bayonet Lens field of view Application
Zodiac 8
Kiev 88 and Arsat fisheye.jpeg
thirty 3.5 B and C 180 ° “fish eye”
Mir-26B 45mm F3.5.jpg
45 3.5 B and C 83 ° wide angle lens
Mir-3 65 3.5 B and C 66 ° wide angle lens
65 3.5 B and C 66 ° wide angle lens
Salyut camera from Evgeniy Okolov collection 13.JPG
80 2.8 IN 44 ° normal lens
Volna-3 80mm F2.8.jpg
80 2.8 B and C 44 ° normal lens
Lens Vega-12B.JPG
90 2.8 B and C 47 ° normal lens
120 2.8 B and C 31 ° telephoto lens
150 2.8 B and C 28 ° telephoto lens
250 3.5 B and C 19 ° telephoto lens
Telear-5 250 5.6 B, C 18 ° telephoto lens
Tair-33 300 4.5 B and C 15 ° telephoto lens
ZM-3 600 8.0 B and C 7.5 ° mirror lens

Small format photographic equipment

Designed for 35 mm perforated film. Frame size 24 × 36 mm

Rangefinder cameras

  • Rangefinder camera “Kiev-4A” with lens “Jupiter-8M” 2/50
  • Photo camera “Kiev-4” with exposure meter
  • “Kiev-5” with the lens “Helios-94” 1.8 / 50

Rangefinder cameras “Kiev” are based on the design of German devices “Contax II” and “Contax III”.

Documentation, technological equipment and spare parts for “Contax” cameras were exported to the USSR from Germany as reparations after the Great Patriotic War from the factories of Zeiss Ikon.

The first batches of “Kiev-II” and “Kiev-III” cameras were actually re-labeled “Contax” cameras. The Kiev cameras inherited from their prototype a very complex design of shutter speed, focusing and rangefinder mechanisms.

The camera body has a removable back wall. Charging with photographic film in two-cylinder curtain cassettes of the “Contax” type (in the Soviet version “FKTs” or “FKL”). Two-cassette charging is possible, when instead of the take-up reel, a second cassette is used, excluding rewinding. In addition, Type-135 cassettes with a flocked slot can be used for charging without obstruction.

Focal plane shutter with shutters assembled from narrow hinged metal links. Cocking the shutter, rewinding the film and setting the shutter speed is done with one head. Setting of shutter speeds is possible with both cocked and released shutter. The curtains move along the short side of the frame, at different speeds at different shutter speeds.

The range of shutter speeds is from 1 s to 1/1000 s, (in early releases – up to 1/1250 s) and “B”. There is a holder for attaching an electronic flash, on devices of later releases – a central sync contact. Flash sync – sync “X” at 1/30 (previously 1/25) s. There is a self-timer.

Standard lens – “Jupiter-8M” or “Helios-103”. The ability to install interchangeable lenses. Mount – Contax bayonet (“internal” for standard lenses with a focal length of 50 mm and “external” for interchangeable).

Optical viewfinder, parallax, combined with a rangefinder. The nominal base of the rangefinder is 90 mm. The standard lens is focused by rotating the disk on the body of the device, interchangeable lenses are focused by rotating the mount.

Rangefinder cameras “Kiev” without exposure meter:

  • “Kiev-II” (1947-1955)
  • Kiev-2A (1956-1958)
  • Kiev-4A (1958-1980)
  • Kiev-4AM (1980-1985)

Rangefinder cameras “Kiev” with a built-in non-coupled exposure meter on a selenium photocell:

  • “Kiev-III” (1952-1955) – for the first time in the USSR
  • Kiev-3A (1956-1958)
  • Kiev-4 (1957-1979)
  • Kiev-4M (1976-1985)
  • “Kiev-5” (1968-1973) – only with an “external” mount and a number of other significant changes
    • “Kiev-4”, “Kiev-4A”, “Kiev-4M”, “Kiev-4AM” (1958-1985) – with constructive and technological changes

Lenses for Rangefinder Cameras

Model Illustration Focal
Bayonet Lens field of view Application
Jupiter-12 (Contax-Kiev lens mount) .JPG
35 2.8 outer 62.5 ° wide angle lens
Jupiter 8M lenses from the Kiev.JPG camera
50 2.0 interior 45 ° standard
(normal lens)
53 1.8 interior 45 ° standard
(normal lens)
Jupiter 9
Jupiter-9 (Contax-Kiev lens mount) .JPG
85 2.0 outer 28.8 ° telephoto lens
Jupiter 11
Jupiter-11 (Contax-Kiev lens mount) .JPG
133 4.0 outer 18.5 ° telephoto lens

DSLR cameras with original mount

Single-lens reflex cameras with an original bayonet mount of our own design.

The lenses intended for the Kiev-10 and Kiev-15 cameras did not have a diaphragm setting ring; the diaphragm was controlled and switched to automatic mode by a disk located on the camera body. Lenses with M39 / 45.2 mount could be installed through the adapter.

  • “Kiev-10” (1965-1974) – selenium photocell, automatic exposure setting with shutter priority, the ability to turn off the automation. The original “fan” type focal plane shutter with metal blades.
  • “Kiev-15” (1974-1980) – TTL-exposure meter, automatic exposure setting with shutter priority, the ability to turn off the automation. The original “fan” type focal plane shutter with metal blades.

Nikon mount DSLRs

Nikon F-mount single-lens reflex cameras.

In Soviet literature F was called bayonet mount H .

  • “Kiev-17” (1977-1984) – manual setting of shutter speed and aperture, no exposure meter. Focal plane shutter with metal louvers. Served as the basis for the models “Kiev-20” and “Kiev-19”.
  • “Kiev-20” (1983-1986) – TTL-exposure meter, semi-automatic exposure setting at open aperture, aperture repeater to control the depth of field.
  • “Kiev-19” (1985-1991) – a simplified version of the more expensive model “Kiev-20”. TTL exposure meter, semi-automatic exposure setting at working aperture. Reduced range shutter. There was no possibility of multiple exposure – multiple shooting for one frame and there was no self-timer.
  • Kiev-18 (second half of the 1980s) – TTL exposure meter, automatic exposure setting at open aperture, aperture repeater to control the depth of field, electronically controlled lamella shutter. Released in small quantities.
  • “Kiev-19M” (1991-?) – modified “Kiev-19” with exposure metering at open aperture.

Lenses for F-mount SLR cameras

Lenses for the N mount for the Kiev-17, Kiev-18, Kiev-19, and Kiev-20 SLR cameras were manufactured by the Arsenal plant, the BelOMO association and partly by the Russian KMZ and Vologda plant (VOMZ ).

Model Illustration Focal
Angle of
A type Manufacturer
MS Peleng 3.5 / 8A eight 3.5 180 ° ultra wide angle BelOMO
MS Zenitar-N 2.8 / 16 sixteen 2.8 180 ° ultra wide angle KMZ
MS Peleng A 17 2.8 180 ° ultra wide angle BelOMO
MS Mir-47N 20 2.5 96 ° wide-angle VOMZ
MS Mir-73N 20 2.8 96 ° wide-angle Arsenal
MS Mir-20N 20 3.5 96 ° wide-angle Arsenal
MS Mir-24N 35 2.0 66 ° wide-angle Arsenal
PPS MS Mir-67N 35 2.8 64/84 ° wide-angle with optical axis shift Arsenal
MS Volna-8N 50 1,2 45 ° normal Arsenal
MS Helios-123N 50 1.4 45 ° normal Arsenal
MS Helios-81N 50 2.0 45 ° normal Arsenal
MC Kaleinar-5N 100 2.8 24.5 ° telephoto lens Arsenal
Telear-N 200 3.5 12 ° telephoto lens Arsenal
MS Granit-11N 80 – 200 4.5 12 ° – 30 ° varifocal lens Arsenal
MC Yantar-14N Macro 28 – 82 (85) 2.8 – 4 29 ° – 75 ° varifocal lens Arsenal
MS Yantar-20N 35 – 200 3.5 – 4.5 12 ° – 63.5 ° varifocal lens Arsenal
MS Yashma-4N 300 2.8 8 ° telephoto lens Arsenal

Automatic scale camera “Kiev-35A” (“Kiev-35AM”)

“Kiev-35A” (“Kiev-35AM”) is a compact automatic scale camera based on the “Minox-35” design.

Produced from 1985 to 1991.

It is made in a plastic case with a folding front wall. Equipped with a non-replaceable retractable five-element lens “Korsar-5” 2.8 / 35.

When the film sensitivity and aperture are set, the shutter speed is automatically processed (aperture priority).

Electronically controlled central shutter, CdS photoresistor exposure meter.

The power supply of the camera is four SC-32 elements (modern analogue of LR-44).

Miniature photographic equipment

  • “Kiev-Vega” camera, frame size 10 × 14 mm.
  • Miniature camera “Kiev-30”, frame size 13 × 17 mm.

Perforated and non-perforated photographic film with a width of 16 mm is used. Based on the design of the Japanese Minolta-16 camera, which, in turn, dates back to the 1947 Mica Automat by Konan.

  • “Kiev-Vega” (1960-1962) – frame size 10 × 14 mm, “Industar-M” 3.5 / 23 lens, hard-built, curtain shutter, with horizontal movement of metal shutters. Located in front of the lens. Aperture up to f / 11. Shutter speeds 1/30, 1/60 and 1/200 second.
  • “Vega-2” (1962-1964) – scale camera, modification of the “Kiev-Vega” camera. Focusing of the “Industar-M” 3.5 / 23 lens from 0.5 meters to “infinity”. Synchronous contact “X”.
  • “Kiev-30” (1975-1987) – frame size 13 × 17 mm, modification of the camera “Vega-2”. “Kiev-30M” is a camera without synchrocontact.
  • “Kiev-303” (1990-?) – restyled modification of the camera “Kiev-30” with a changed appearance and other values ​​of exposure. There is no sync contact.

These devices are often called “spy”, “KGB Spy Camera”, which has little to do with reality.

Names and organizational forms

The names and organizational forms of the enterprise at different times:

  • Kiev Arsenal
  • Kiev Red Banner Plant (KKZ) “Red Arsenal” VSNKh → KKZ VSNKh
  • GS Kiev Red Banner Machine Building Plant (GSKKMZ)
  • GS Krasnoznamenny plant number 393 NKOP (until 1941)
  • Plant No. 784 NKV → MOP (after 1943)
  • Arsenal plant
  • PO “Plant” Arsenal “named after V.I. Lenin (until 1992)
  • DP “Kazenne enterprise of special attachment” Arsenal “(after 1992)
  • Subsidiary enterprise “Plant” Arsenal “” and “Kazene enterprise of special attachment” Arsenal “” (after 2009)

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