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Tarantul class corvette

Tarantul class corvette

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The Project 1241.1 Molniya (Lightning) are a class of Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 missile corvette
A corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship, originally smaller than a frigate and larger than a coastal patrol craft or fast attack craft , although many recent designs resemble frigates in size and role...

s. They have the NATO reporting name
NATO reporting name
NATO reporting names are classified code names for military equipment of the Eastern Bloc...

 Tarantul (not to be confused with the Stenka class patrol boat
Stenka class patrol boat
The Stenka class is the NATO reporting name for a class of patrol boats built for the Soviet Navy and Soviet Allies. The Soviet designation was Project 205P Tarantul...

, whose official Soviet name is also "Tarantul"). These ships were designed to replace the Project 205 Tsunami (NATO: "Osa
Osa class missile boat
The Project 205 Tsunami, more commonly known by their NATO reporting name Osa, are a class of missile boats developed for the Soviet Navy in the early 1960s. The Osas are probably the most numerous class of missile boats ever built, with over 400 vessels constructed for both the Soviet Navy and for...

") missile boats.


In the late 1970s, the Soviets realised the need for a larger, more seaworthy craft with better gun armament and higher positioned air search radars. The need for these improvements was underscored by the First Gulf War, when 12 Iraqi 'Osa-I's' were destroyed or damaged by short ranged Sea Skua
Sea Skua
The Sea Skua is a British lightweight short-range air-to-surface missile designed for use from helicopters against ships. It is primarily used by the Royal Navy on the Westland Lynx helicopter, although Kuwait uses it in a shore battery and on their Umm Al Maradem fast attack craft.The British...

 anti-ship missiles. They were attacked by British Lynx
Westland Lynx
The Westland Lynx is a British multi-purpose military helicopter designed and built by Westland Helicopters at its factory in Yeovil. Originally intended as a utility craft for both civil and naval usage, military interest led to the development of both battlefield and naval variants...

 helicopters, but the Osa crews didn't notice them because they flew below their radar horizon. In the Tarantul, both the single 76 mm main gun and the two 30 mm Gatling
Gatling gun
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...

-type guns are used for air defence, together with a comprehensive electronic warfare suite. The boats are built by the Petrovsky yard (Leningrad), Rybinsk and Ulis yard (Vladivostok). A version of these ships for coastal anti submarine warfare and patrol was developed as the Pauk class corvette
Pauk class corvette
The Pauk class is the NATO reporting name for a class of small patrol corvettes built for the Soviet Navy and export customers between 1977 and 1989. The Russian designation is Project 1241.2 Molniya-2. These ships are designed for coastal patrol and inshore anti-submarine warfare...

 or Project 1241.2. The Indian navy paid approximately $30 million each to license-produce Tarantul-I in the early nineties. With over 30 sales on the export market the Tarantul has been a relative success for the Russian shipbuilding industry. Tarantul class vessels operate with the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy
People's Liberation Army Navy
The People's Liberation Army Navy is the naval branch of the People's Liberation Army , the military of the People's Republic of China. Until the early 1990s, the navy performed a subordinate role to the PLA Land Forces. Since then, it has undergone rapid modernisation...

 (PLAN) but exact figures are disputed. Some sources credit the PLAN with at least one Tarantul presently in use and more than 30 planned (licensed indigenous production), while other sources reject this estimate, mostly because of the availability of indigenous 'Houijan
Type 037-II class missile boat
The Type 037-II is a missile equipped corvette built by Huangpu Shipyard of Guangzhou for the People's Liberation Army Navy. A total of six vessels were delivered to the PLA Navy, with one lost in an accident in 2006...

' missile corvettes (also with some Russian content).

Projekt 1241 'Molniya'/Nato: Tarantul-I

First version, based on the Pauk-class hull, though with a significant added amount of weight. Equipped with four SS-N-2 'Styx' ship-to-ship missiles (either the 40 km range P-15 'Termit' missile or the later P-20 variant with 80 km range) and the associated 'Plank Shave' radar targeting system (45 km range in active mode of surveillance, 75-100 km range in passive mode, with an added air surveillance capability). 1 x AK–176 76.2 mm main gun and 2 x AK-630
The AK-630 is a Soviet fully automatic naval close-in weapon system based on a six-barreled 30 mm Gatling gun. It is mounted in an enclosed automatic turret and directed by radar and television detection and tracking. The system's primary purpose is defense against anti-ship missiles and other...

 30 mm six-barreled Gatling gun
Gatling gun
The Gatling gun is one of the best known early rapid-fire weapons and a forerunner of the modern machine gun. It is well known for its use by the Union forces during the American Civil War in the 1860s, which was the first time it was employed in combat...

s, the latter CIWS system supported by the 'Bass Tilt' targeting radar. Furthermore, there is a Fasta-N SA-N-5 quadruple MANPAD lancher and two PK-16 decoy launchers.
Propulsion is a COGOG system (COmbined Gas Or Gas)consisting of two NK-12M high power gas turbines with a combined 24200 horsepower output for full power and two cruise gas turbines with a combined output of 6000 hp. Top speed is 42 knots. Although the Soviet Navy only used two Tarantul-I's, mainly as trails platforms and for the training of foreign crews, the Projekt 1241's became a relatively successful export product, with about 33 export sales.

Projekt 1241.1M 'Molniya'/Nato: Tarantul-II

Second version, with the same propulsion as the previous class but with a rather different superstructure on the basic 'Pauk' class hull. The reason for this was the installation of four SS-N-22
SS-N-22 Sunburn is the NATO reporting name for two unrelated Soviet anti-ship missiles. Although the missiles were very different, distinguishing between them is difficult because their ship-mounted launching containers were identical. Confusion was exacerbated by the Soviet practice of mixing...

 'Sunburn' supersonic ship-to-ship missiles with a range of at least 100 km. The associated radar system is the L-band 'Band Stand' radar, with a 120 km active and 500 km passive range and the capability to track 15 different targets. The missiles can also receive third party guidance through the 'Light Bulb' uplink (from other ships, helicopters or long range patrol aircraft). Cannon armament is retained, as were the PK-16 launchers, although Soviet Navy ships benefited from the improved SA-N-8 quadruple MANPAD launcher. At least one ship had an SA-N-11 Kashtan gun+missile CIWS installed instead of the AK-630's.

Although highly capable, the ships had to be heavily modified and were rather overweight and very cramped, further adding to the limited sea-endurance. Other problems occurred with electronic interference and the high electric power consumption. However, as at least 18 Tarantul-II were built for the Soviet navy, most of these problems got solved one way or the other.

Projekt 1241-RE 'Molniya'/Nato: Tarantul III

Retaining the main armament and basic hull form of the 1241.1M, the third version received nonetheless important upgrades. Apart from a modest but useful internal redesign, the Tarantul-III had a new motorisation, consisting of a CODAG(COmbined Diesel And Gas) system. Two PR-76 gas turbines (rated at 12000 hp each) and two M504 (rated at 5000 hp each) diesel engines were used, being a big improvement over the earlier COGOG system both in terms of serviceability (the two cruise diesels being almost something of a Soviet 'classic'), fuel efficiency and, most importantly, service life expectancy compared to the older NK-12M's.

Apart from these modifications, Soviet naval engineers still considered the design to be insufficiently protected against air attack. The Tarantul-III, built from 1987 on, received an improved ECM (Electronic countermeasures
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

) suite, consisting of 2 'Half Hat' and 2 'Foot Ball' jamming systems, coupled to 4 improved PK-10 decoy launchers. At least 24 of these ships were built for the Soviet Navy before production ended in 1992.

Project 1242.1/1241.8 'Molniya'

Project 1242.1 and project 1241.8 are further developments of the Molniya family boats. The two projects has been modified and rearmed with modern missile systems like the Uran-E. The projects are maufactured by the Russian Vympel Shipyard.Russia recived atleast one boat for trials in the 1990s and in 1999 Vietnam orderd two vessels. Vietnam has also started its own production line of 1241.8 boats with the assistance of Almaz Central Design Bureau in St. Petersburg and has of 2011 four boats in construction.In 2009 Libya orderd 3 ships.

East German Navy
Volksmarine was the official designation of the maritime forces of the German Democratic Republic . It was part of the National People's Army, established in 1956.-History:...

Five ships built - all retired, including Hiddensee
Hiddensee (corvette)
Hiddensee is a former East German Navy corvette now part of the Battleship Cove site in Fall River, Massachusetts.Originally commissioned by the Volksmarine as the Rudolf Egelhofer, the Hiddensee is a built at the Petrovsky Shipyard in 1984, located near the Soviet city of Saint Petersburg...

, which is currently a museum ship in Fall River
Fall River
-Cities and towns:In Canada:*Fall River, Nova ScotiaIn the United States:*Fall River, Kansas*Fall River, Massachusetts, the largest city with this name*Fall River, Tennessee*Fall River, Wisconsin*Fall River County, South Dakota-Rivers:In Canada:...


Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

The Indian variants are known as the Veer class corvette
Veer class corvette
The Veer class corvettes [Veer = Brave] of the Indian Navy are a customized Indian variant of the Soviet Tarantul class. They form the 22nd Killer Missile Vessel Squadron....

s. At least 12 are currently in active service.

Polish Navy
Polish Navy
The Marynarka Wojenna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej - MW RP Polish Navy, is the branch of Republic of Poland Armed Forces responsible for naval operations...

Four built, two in service
  • ORP Górnik (434) (decommissioned)
  • ORP Hutnik (435) (decommissioned)
  • ORP Metalowiec (436)
  • ORP Rolnik
    ORP Rolnik
    ORP Rolnik is a Polish Navy missile ....


Romanian Navy

Three ships, all in service, homeport Mangalia
Mangalia , is a city and a port on the coast of the Black Sea in the south-east of Constanţa County, Romania.The municipality of Mangalia also administers several summer time seaside resorts: Cap Aurora, Jupiter, Neptun, Olimp, Saturn, Venus.-History:...

  • F-188 Zborul commissioned 1990
  • F-189 Pescăruşul commissioned 1991
  • F-190 Lăstunul commissioned 1991

United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

The Hiddensee
Hiddensee (corvette)
Hiddensee is a former East German Navy corvette now part of the Battleship Cove site in Fall River, Massachusetts.Originally commissioned by the Volksmarine as the Rudolf Egelhofer, the Hiddensee is a built at the Petrovsky Shipyard in 1984, located near the Soviet city of Saint Petersburg...

 was briefly in service with US Navy, after it was transferred from the German Navy. The ship has been retired and has since become a museum ship in Battleship Cove
Battleship Cove
Battleship Cove, located in Fall River, Massachusetts, is a nonprofit maritime museum and war memorial that traces its origins to the wartime crew of the World War II battleship . This dedicated veterans group was responsible for the donation of the decommissioned vessel from the Navy and its...

 in Fall River, Massachusetts
Fall River, Massachusetts
Fall River is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is located about south of Boston, southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, and west of New Bedford and south of Taunton. The city's population was 88,857 during the 2010 census, making it the tenth largest city in...