War Thunder background
Semyon Vladimirov, creator of the ShVAK
Attention! This news was published on the old version of the website. There may be some problems with news display in specific browser versions.

The premium I-153P biplane comes equipped with two ShVAK cannons. It can be purchased in-game for 950


Semyon V. Vladimirov was born on February 3rd, 1895 in the town of Klin near Moscow. In 1935, the Soviet engineer developed the heavy ShVAK machine gun, which he based on the 7.62 mm ShKAS from 1932. As a result of this, it was to become the first Soviet-built 20 mm automatic cannon which would be fitted to aircraft.

Semyon Vladimirovich Vladimirov

Despite the fact that the new weapon, which was designed between 1935 and 1936, was based on an already existing construction, it was still unclear how this new armament would perform in the air. It was also unclear how the installation of the ShVAK cannon would impact the flight characteristics of aircraft. Therefore, flight testing was allocated to famous pilot V.P. Chkalov. He tested the new weapon in a Soviet I-16, with the results showing favourable and successful outcomes. Thus, in 1936, the ShVAK entered series production.

Vladimirov, who was to become a renowned aircraft weapons designer in the Soviet Union, had been born into a family of railroad workers. It is thus not surprising that he followed in the footsteps of his parents and studied engineering at the ‘Ivanovo-Voznessensk Mechanical and Technical College’. His working career was always closely related to engineering: as a mechanic for a textile spinning mill, a locksmith, and a mechanic and technical constructor in the mines of Siberia and the Far East.

During the Russian Revolution, Vladimirov was a partisan fighter in the Altai, later joining the Red Army troops of M.V. Frunze. He experienced battle in Central Asia, and afterwards, on the Crimean peninsula, where he was assigned to lead a searchlight station fortress.

After he was discharged from the Red Army in 1922, Vladimirov travelled to Tula, where he worked as a locksmith in the Tula arms factory. His talented work was soon noticed, and he eventually became Senior Engineer for the Central Construction Office No. 15. In this position, Vladimirov worked on the creation of an automatic weapon designed to fire bullets which were originally intended for the Nagant revolver. 

The 'Shpitalny-Vladimirov large-calibre for aircraft'
or 'Shpitalnyi-Vladimirov Aviatsionnyi Krupnokalibernyi' (ShVAK)

During the 1930s he continued his weapons development and worked on a new carriage for the Maxim infantry machine gun. This shielded tri-wheeled carriage was in use with the Soviet Red Army during the entirety of World War II. Besides infantry weapons, Vladimirov was also involved in the development of aircraft weaponry. From all his inventions, however, only the 12.7 mm and 20 mm ShVAK cannons went into mass production.

Not satisfied with resting on his laurels, in 1943 Vladimirov created a new heavy machine gun based on the B-20 automatic cannon, which used 14.5 anti-tank rifle bullets from the PTRD rifle. In 1944 this weapon, now named the ‘CPV-44’, went into series production and was installed on Soviet vehicles under the designation ‘KPVT’. It remains installed on Russian military vehicles today.

Semyon Vladimirov was awarded multiple orders and medals for his work as a weapons engineer. In 1949, he was further awarded with the ‘Stalin Premium of the First Degree’, a monetary reward for extraordinary work for the benefit of the Soviet Union.

Vladimirov died in an accident on July 12th, 1956, where he was fatally injured while disassembling a machine gun of his own construction. He was buried in Kovrov.


Check out Vladimirov's invention in War Thunder, with PhlyDaily taking the
Soviet Lavochkin La-5 and its two ShVAK cannons to 'Operation Uranus':

Leave a comment about the article and your experience with the ShVAK cannon on our forums! Good hunting!


Read more:
Earn the Churchill AVRE in the Operation Overlord Event!
  • 30 May 2024
Pages of History (June): The Military Engineer
  • 30 May 2024
New Locations: Mysterious Valley and Bering Sea!
  • 30 May 2024
Might of the US: History of American Bombers
  • 29 May 2024