Delfin [NATO Koni] class
In 1977 a new frigate was spotted in the Black Sea and at first was thought to be replacements for the Riga Class frigates built in the 1950s. The Koni class of coastal Anti-Submarine Warfare ships was constructed for foreign sales. The ships were called Storojeve Korabli (SKR) or Escort or Guard Ships.
Built by the USSR at the Zelenodolsk shipyard on the Black Sea, the Koni class was widely exported but not operated (other than in the training role) by the Soviet navy. The Koni I ships were designed for navies of Europe, Russia, East Germany and Yugoslavia, the Koni II was designed for warm water navies.During the 1980s Koni class frigates were supplied to the fleets of Algeria (tree), Cuba (two), Libya (tw), East Germany (three) and Yugoslavia (four). A single unit of this class, which was retained by the Soviet Union for demonstration and training purposes, was transferred to Bulgaria in 1990.
The Libyan and Yugoslavian ships were refitted with four Styx SSMs and torpedoes: four 406 mm tubes for Soviet Type 40 ASW torpedoes and six 324 mm tubes for the more capable Whitehead anti-submarine torpedoes on the latter. The East German Koni class ships have no future in the bavy of reunified Germany and they will be deleted, and the fate of the Yugoslavian frigates remain to be seen.
In 1960, exports from the USSR of small displacement patrol ships expanded significantly, which forced the development of a special export patrol ship to begin. Its creation began in 1968 at the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau. The project received code number 1159 according to the tactical and technical assignment issued by the Navy. Yu. A. Nikolsky was appointed the chief designer of the project, captain of the 2nd rank A. P. Demeshkevich was the main observer from the Navy. When designing, the developers took into account the experience of creating patrol ships of project 159 and small anti-submarine ships of project 1124.
The lead ship of project 1159, called the Dolphin, was built in 1975 at the A.M. Gorky plant in Zelenodolsk (Shipyard No.340), and a total of 14 ships were built from 1975 to 1987: 6 projects 1159 , 6 projects 1159-T and two vessels under project 1159-TP . Initially, they were part of the Navy of the USSR , but then they began to be exported.
The total displacement of the ship reached 1760 tons. The main air defense weapons included two self-defense air defense systems. ZIF-122 twin launcher for the 8E10 air defense system (aka Osa-M) with 20 9M33 missiles. And two MT-4US four launchers for the Strela-3 air defense system with 16 9M32M missiles. The armament also included two twin AK-726 gun mounts of a caliber of 76.2 mm (one in the bow and aft), two twin AK-230 anti-aircraft guns of a caliber of 30 mm, a tactical strike P-20 air defense system (on five ships) with four missiles P-20 and two rocket launchers RBU-6000 (ammunition - 120 RSL-60). There were bomb spreaders and rails for receiving sea mines.
The main power plant, a three-shaft one, completely repeated the installation of Project 1124 small anti-submarine ships, however, its high-speed diesel engines on the side shafts were replaced with less powerful medium-speed ones. An afterburner gas turbine M-8B with a capacity of 18 thousand horsepower worked on the middle shaft. The maximum speed of the ship reached 29 knots, the search lay in the range of 20-24 knots, and the economic speed was 14 knots. At a speed of 14 knots, the cruising range was 2000 miles. According to the safety conditions for navigation, seaworthiness was estimated at 8 - 9 points, for the use of weapons only 5 points. The crew of the ship totaled 110 people, the autonomy of navigation in terms of provisions was 10 days.
In addition to the basic project, a special version of the 1159-T project was created specifically for some countries: 6 ships were built for Algeria and Cuba (NATO's code name is Koni-II). Five guard watchmen were also built for the fleet of the SFRY and Algeria, armed with four single-container launchers of the P-20 anti-ship missiles, aimed at the stern. Some more ships received two similar MT-4US launchers to launch Strela-3 air defense missiles. Two more ships were built for Libya according to project 1159-TP (codenamed NATO - Koni-III): the ships were distinguished by increased displacement, redesigned superstructures and the presence of two twin launchers for anti-ship missiles P-20M, located side by side at the bow superstructure.
After the reunification of Germany in 1990, all three ships of the GDR were withdrawn from the fleet and scrapped. Two of the three Cuban ships were decommissioned between 1996 and 1997. In May 1997, the Algerian frigate "Rais Korfou" arrived in Kronstadt at the KMOLZ, where it underwent repairs and modernization, which ended in 2000. One of the two Libyan ships ("Al Ghardabia") was sunk by the British Air Force in 2011 during an intervention in Libya.
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