UralVagonZavod Scientific Industrial Corporation PLC, commonly referred to as Uralvagonzavod or UVZ, is a Russian manufacturer of vehicles and tanks. It is based in Nizhny Tagil, on the border between European and Asian Russia. UVZ is the largest manufacturer of main battle tanks in the world, thanks largely to its highly successful T-90 tank product.
UVZ’s first factory was opened in Kharkiv in 1936, having taken five years to build. The name UralVagonZavod literally translates to Urals Railroad Car Manufacturing Plant, and initially the plant only produced rail freight wagons. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Stalin ordered many of Russia’s factories to be relocated further east. The whole UVZ factory was moved by rail to its current home in Nizhny Tagil, and was renamed the Stalin Ural Tank Factory No.183 after being combined with the Dzerzhinsky Works.
Factory No. 183 grew rapdily, and became the world’s largest tank producer as the war went on. It is especially notable for manufacturing the T-34, which was Russia’s main battle tank of the day and was instrumental in many Russian victories in the early forties. Once the war had ended some of No. 183′s assets were shipped back to Kharkiv via rail, but UVZ remained and soon expanded its product range to include construction, agricultural and space equipment. During this time it was responsible for the famous Vostok, Proton and Energia rockets. After the USSR collapsed, UVZ went through a planned privatisation process, which began in 2006.
Today, the company still produces a wide range of products, including rail cars, tractors and trams. However, tank production still represents something of a focus for UVZ, with the T-90 accounting for around a fifth of the factory’s total production. UVZ produced around one T-90 every two days in 2008, selling 62 to the Russian military, 60 to the Indian Army, and 53 to Algeria. The Russian government has claimed that UVZ’s tank production for this year was greater than that of all other countries combined.
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