Boris Gavrilovich Shpitalnyi

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shpital’nyi, Boris Gavrilovich


Born July 25 (Aug. 7), 1902, in Rostov-on-Don; died Feb. 6, 1972, in Moscow. Soviet designer of aircraft armament. Hero of Socialist Labor (1940). Professor (1949). Member of the CPSU from 1940.

Shpital’nyi graduated from the M. V. Lomonosov Moscow Institute of Mechanics in 1927. In 1930, he and I. A. Komaritskii developed the ShKAS 7.62-mm rapid-fire machine gun, which was adopted as armament on Soviet aircraft. The rate of fire of the weapon was subsequently doubled, to 3,000 rounds per minute. The ShKAS was the basis for the ShVAK 20-mm cannon, which was designed by Shpital’nyi and S. V. Vladimirov in 1936. The ShVAK was mounted in a number of aircraft, including the Iakovlev, Lavochkin, and Tupolev models, as well as on the T-60 tank.

Shpital’nyi was head and master designer of a special design office from 1934 to 1953. He later took a position as a professor in a subdepartment of the Moscow Engineering Institute of Geodesy, Aerial Photographic Surveying, and Cartography.

Shpital’nyi received the State Prize of the USSR in 1941 and 1942 for his work in the development of new types of aircraft armament; he was also awarded two Orders of Lenin, four other orders, and various medals.


Sytin, V. A. Izobretatel’ sverkhpulemeta. Moscow, 1941.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.