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Project 1241 Tarantul class
Guided Missile Corvette

It is better to be approximately right than exactly wrong. The confusion among various authoritative sources concerning the taxonomy and nomenclature of the various types in this class, as well as the units associated with each type and their present status, is nearly complete.

The Project 1241 are a class of Soviet missile corvettes. They have the NATO reporting name Tarantul (not to be confused with the Stenka class patrol boat, whose official Soviet name is also "Tarantul"). The naming convention for NATO reporting name Tarantul was a special case.

Haze
Gray
Combat
Fleets
World
Warships
Russian-
Ships.info
Russia's
Arms
Tarantul-I
Molnaya
Pr.1241/.1
455 tons
4 x P-15M Termit
SS-N-2 Styx
Tarantul-I
Pr.1241RE
477 tons
4 x P-20 Termit
SS-N-2 Styx
Tarantul I
Pr.1241.1
29 units
477 tons
Pr.1241RE
25 units
455 tons
4 x P-20M
Pr.1241RE
9 units
469 tons
4 x Termit-R
Tarantul-II
Molnaya
Pr.1241.1/2
Pr.12411M
469 tons
4 x P-15M Termit
SS-N-2 Styx
Tarantul-II
Molnaya
Pr.1241.1/2
Pr.12411M
18 units
469 tons
4 x P-15M Termit
SS-N-2 Styx
Tarantul II
Pr.1241.2
3 units
469 tons
4 x KT-15M
Termit
Pr.12411T
13 units
469 tons
4 x P-15M Termit
Pr.12417
1 unit
550 tons
Pr.12417
1 unit
495 tons
4 x P-15M Termit
Tarantul-III
Molnaya-M
Pr.1241.1RZ
34 units
493 tons
4 x 3M-80 Moskit
SS-N-22 Sunburn
Tarantul-III
Molnaya-M
Pr.1241.1RZ
29 units
493 tons
4 x P-270 Moskit
SS-N-22 Sunburn
Tarantul III
Pr.1241.1RZ
1 unit
493 tons
4 x SS-N-22 Sunburn
Pr.12411
34 units
493 tons
4 x P-100 Moskit
4 x P-105 Moskit-M
Pr.1241.1
44 units
493 tons
4 x Moskit
Tarantul-IV
Pr.12412
1 unit
550 tons
4 x P-270 Moskit
SS-N-22 Sunburn
Tarantul IV
Pr.12421
2 units
500 tons
4 x KT-184
SSM launcher
[Kh-35 Uran?]
Project 1242
Tarantul V
Pr.1241.8
5 units
457 tons
16 x SS-N-25
Switchblade
Pr.12418
4+5 units
500 tons
16 x 3M24E Uran-E
Pr.12418
Molnia
500 tons
16 x Garpon
displacement is fully loaded

Part of the problem is that there are at least two major [and several minor] nomenclature taxonomies. NATO calls these vessels Tarantul, of which there appear to be five variants. The Soviets and Russians use an alpha-numeric project designator, of which upwards of a dozen have been sited at one time or another. There is no readily apparent walk-across between these two systems, and indeed Combat Fleets in 2013 had decided that the Tarantul-II corresponded to Pr.1241.1/2 and Pr.12411M, whereas in 1995 Taratul-II was Project 1241.7.

According to some sources, NATO called the first version of the class as Tarantul-II, given that they had a better sensor suite/equipment than the ships of the following class Tarantul-I, which was produced exclusively for export. Other sources report some number of Tarantul I in Russian service, which would be inconsistent with Tarantul I being the export version. World Warships alone classified R-63 as the Tarantul III (Project 1241.1RZ) transferred to Ukraine as Kremenchug U156. Haze Gray agrees the the Ukrainian vessel was a Tarantul-III, but makes it out to be on of at least 28 ships of Project 1241.1RZ, Molnaya-M. Black Sea Fleet / Sevastopol.info reports the Tarantul IV as Guided Missile Corvette "R-71" of Project 12417.

These ships were designed to replace the Project 205 Tsunami (NATO: "Osa") 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 high lighted in the First Gulf War, when 12 Iraqi 'Osa-I's' were destroyed or damaged by short ranged Sea Skua anti-ship missiles. They were attacked by British Lynx helicopters, but the Osa crews didn't notice them because they flew below their radar horizon.

The Tarantul Missile Boat (Raketnyy Kater RK) are smaller and less capable than the previous Nanuchka class, though several knots faster. They feature the small hull and basic arrangement of the Pauk class anti-submarine corvettes with a different propulsion system. They may be considered a better armed successors to the Osa-class missile boats.

In the Tarantul, both the single 76 mm main gun and the two 30 mm Gatling-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 or Project 1241.2.

A total of at least 45 were built beginning in 1979. Several units were stricken or transferred in the 1990's, and as of early 2000 about 18 Tarantul-I/II were believed to remain in service, along with 28 Tarantul-III units. By 2001 only 5 Tarantul-II class boats and one Tarantul-I class boat remained, along with 28 Tarantul-III units. And by late 2003 it appeared that 5 Tarantul-II class boats and one Tarantul-I class boat remained, along with 20 Tarantul-III units. Announced plans called for either resuming production of this class or an improved, enlarged version. With over 30 sales on the export market the Tarantul has been a relative success for the Russian shipbuilding industry.

Project 1241.1 (NATO: Tarantul-II)

The first version was based on the Pauk-class hull, though with a significantly increased 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, 75100 km range in passive mode, with an added air surveillance capability). 1 x AK176 76.2 mm main gun and 2 x AK-630 30 mm six-barreled Gatling guns, 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 M70 at 12,000 hp (8826 kW) high power gas turbines with a combined 24200 horsepower output for full power and two cruise gas turbines type M75 with a combined output of 5,000 hp (2942 kW). Top speed is 38 knots.

Between 1979 and 1984, 13 ships of the type were built. Another ship R-55 was rebuilt after its completion as a test vessel for the "Kortik" short-range defense system for Project 1241.7.

Project 1241.RE (NATO: Tarantul-I)

By NATO's definition, Project 1241.RE (NATO: Tarantul-I) was an export version of Project 1241.1 (NATO: Tarantul-II). This class of ships could be distinguished by the lack of fire control radar on the roof of the bridge. Instead, the fire control radar, X-band "Garpun-Bal" (NATO: "Plank Shave"), built for the anti-ship missiles, was installed on the top of the mast. Other equipment included a small navigation radar type "Kivach-2" on the bridge roof (or MR-312 "Pechera-1" on the ships of Poland), and the gun-fire control radar MR-123 Vympel (NATO: "Bass Tilt") at the foot of the mast. Two PK-16 decoy launchers were also installed. The model of the missiles in the KT-138 launch containers were P-20(NATO: SS-N-2B), basically they were P-15 updated with the new guidance system but with the original 40 km range.

Between 1977 and 1979, 22 ships of this class were produced exclusively for export. Only one of these ships, R-26, retained by the Soviet Navy for training purposes. India bought five of these ships as Veer class corvettes, and started building further eight ships in the same class by themselves later on. The Indian navy paid approximately $30 million each to license-produce Tarantul-I in the early 1990. Vietnam also bought six Project 1241.RE ships from various sources over the years.



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