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Project 1171 Tapir / Alligator class - Program

In the late 1950s, the Soviet Navy (Navy) had a need to create a large ocean-going landing ship. And in 1959, the leadership of the Navy formulated the terms of reference (to the Leningrad TsKB-50) for the development of the BDK project 1171 with performance data comparable to those of Western landing ships. BDK pr. 1171 (code "Tapir") was developed in the early 60s at TsKB-50 under the leadership of chief designer I.I. Kuzmin, and in 1963 was transferred to TsKB-17 (since 1967 - Nevsky G1KB).

Almost simultaneously, the Ministry of the Navy ordered a project 1173 bulk carrier with a bow ramp, which in wartime could be used as a landing ship. Both projects were combined into one under the general designation: project 1171 "Tapir". But the Ministry of the Navy decided to abandon the "joint" vessel, because its operation with such powerful engines (the Navy required a speed of up to 17 knots) became unprofitable.

The high complexity of a ship that is fundamentally new for the fleet, as well as the proximity of the destination of both projects, forced the Soviets to recall the planned economy. Both projects were combined into one under the general designation: project 1171 "Tapir". At the same time, the dual purpose of the vessel - military and civil - was preserved, but because of this, its characteristics decreased somewhat. The conflicting requirements of civilian customers (high efficiency, use of the entire volume of holds, good cabins for the crew) and the military (space for weapons, increased unsinkability, high speed, special equipment) forced a compromise.

The designers made up four versions of the project, taking into account all the wishes, if possible, but the undoubted priority was still given to the military. The last straw was the replacement of the main engines. Instead of the 2500 hp diesel engines planned for the vessel. it was decided to install motors twice as powerful. This suited the Navy quite well, since the speed increased to 17 knots - almost up to the original task. However, the Ministry of the Navy decided to abandon the "joint" vessel - its operation with such powerful mechanisms became unprofitable.

As a result, the dual purpose of the project 1171 "Tapir" manifested itself only in appearance, more typical for a civilian ship. The ship received the designation BDK - "large landing ship" - and was built exclusively for the Navy.

The lead ship of project 1171 "Voronezh Komsomolets" was laid down on February 5, 1964, launched on July 1, 1964, and accepted into the fleet on August 18, 1966. Project 1171 ships were built in Kaliningrad at the Yantar Baltic Shipyard from 1964 to 1975. A total of 14 ships were built (out of 15 planned) in four versions. According to open sources, by 2015 the ranks of the Navy of the Russian Federation held 4 BDK project in 1171. Many have been retired, and remaining units may be in reserve, given the Russian Navy's decreased emphasis on amphibious operations. As of 2022 four BDKs of this series still served in the Black Sea and Pacific Fleets of Russia. The places of service and sea trips track the zones of interests and influence of the USSR. Russia has no less interests, though the possibilities are simply not comparable.

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Page last modified: 24-03-2022 19:22:22 ZULU