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Project 183R PTG Komar Class

Soviet missile boats include Komar [Mosquito] class, with a range of 800 nautical miles at 25 knots and 400 nautical miles at 30 knots respectively. They are armed with the Styx missile, which has a range of 18 miles and carries a 1100-pound conventional warhead. The development of the P-15 Styx SS-N-2 missile began in 1954, with the first launch in October 1957 from a Komar FAC prototype.

The first in the world missile boats were built at ALMAZ. Manouevring high-speed boats of 183 project equipped with ship-to-ship cruise missiles became new efficient arms of the Navy. In compliance with higher requirements of the Navy to the composition of arms, navigability and operational capability a project of a new steel hulled missile boat was developed. The results of performed scientific-and- engineering works and full-scale tests of the boat of 183 project underlay the basis of creation of the boat of 205 project.

The October 1967 destruction of the Israeli destroyer Eilat by 'Styx' anti-ship missiles fired from an Egyptian Komar-class vessel which set off the explosion in fast attack craft [FAC] sales. This followed the proliferation of Soviet-produced Project 183R Komar-class and Project 205 Osa-class FAC in the navies of the then Warsaw Pact and other Soviet client states.

There was no evidence that either type of boat or the SSN2 missile had been delivered to North Vietnam as of 1967. Chinese Osa boats have been seen in the South China Sea and could be deployed to naval bases on Hainan Island or in the Tonkin Gulf area. If either the Soviets or the Chinese were to deliver these units to the North Vietnamese, US ships operating off the North Vietnamese coast would be vulnerable to sneak attack. The boats could be dis- persed among the many islands and waterways marking the Vietnamese coastline and would be difficult to detect if they moved within groups of junks and other small craft.

The first operational use of surface-to-surface antiship missiles took place on 21 October 1967 when Egyptian guidedmissile patrol boats sank the Israeli destroyer Eilat off Port Said. Launched from Osa and Komarclass patrol boats, the Sovietdesigned SS-N-2 missiles gave a big punch at low unit cost to fledgling navies charged with defending coastal areas. These boats were used by the Soviet and East European navies for close-in defense against attacking naval forces. They had been delivered to four nonCommunist countries as well as to Cuba, Communist China, and North Korea.

At the time it was attacked, the Eilat was patrolling off the Egyptian coast to prevent maritime infiltration of the Sinai. Israeli ships had regularly patrolled within range of Egyptian weapons since the war in June, and the Eilat previously had passed thrOugH the area of attack several times. When it was struck, the Eilat probably was either just ins1de or just outside the 12mile territorial limit claimed by Egypt.

The Israelis were on alert for a missile attack, and the crew of the Eilat knew it was being watched by land-based Egyptian radars, The Eilat's crew did not see any missile patrol boats, however, and did not realize their ship was under attack until the first of three or more missiles fired by the Egyptians was sighted at a range of about six miles. Attempts to shoot down the missile before it struck were unsuccessful.

The Israeli destroyer received a second missile hit within minutes. Disabled and without power, the Eilat floated dead in the water for nearly two hours while the crew fought to save it. Following a second attack, in which the Eilat was struck by at least one other missile, the ship sank. The Eilat probably was attacked by two Komarclass missile boats, each of which fired two missiles.

The SS-N-2 system (Soviet designation R-15) is designed to provide mobile defense against attacking naVal forces. In the Soviet concept of operations , aircraft or other ships are used to locate the target and to direct the attacking patrol boats until they can pick up the target on their own radars; the detection range of the radar carried on the Osa and Komar boats is limited by the height of the radar antenna to about 20 miles.

The radar aboard the boats is used to locate the target, provide firing data to the SS-N-2, and assess damage after an attack. The effective range of the system probably could be extended and the element of surprise enhanced through the use of a coastal radar to provide target detection and location data. For maximum effect, however, the missile must be aimed and fired on the basis of data provided either by the shipborne radar or by an optical system carried on the patrol boats.

After the necessary informa tion has been fed into the missile's guidance system, a rocket booster lifts it from its launcher and carries it to cruise altitude and speed. The missile flies toward the target at a speed of Mach 0.9 and an altitude between 300 and 1,000 feet. Because of the low altitude and high speed, defending forces have only about a minute to react.

The best defense against the system is to attack the patrol boats before they fire their missiles. The missile's speed, low flight altitude, small radar cross-section, and built-in defense against electronic countermeasures made it difficult to counter. The system, nevertheless, has limitations. Targets closer than five miles cannot be engaged because the SSN-2's homing and arming mechanisms are not activated until the missile has flown that far. Moreover, if two targets are detected, the homing radar cannot be relied upon to seek out the preferred one. The homing radar also may be susceptible to some types of electronic countermeasures.

Fixings apparently cannot be made if the air temperature falls below 4F or rises above 104F. A final shortcoming of the system is that targets within four miles of shore cannot be attacked from their seaward side, because "clutter" reflected by the terrain prevents the homing radar from operating properly. In such cases, the attacking patrol boat has to maneuver to fire parallel to or away from the beach.

The usage of boats with missile weapons in combat actions proved to be very important for increasing the defensive capacity of the country. Missile boats are a universal means of destruction of an enemy's ships and vehicles, of guard of the coastal area and of struggle against landing troops.

The boat of the project 183P "Komar" had a hangar type launcher, and the wings of a rocket did not unfold. The launcher rails were were rigidly fixed at an angle of 11,5 . The launcher was originally made 4.5 meters long, and then it was shortened to 2,75 m. The weight of the launcher is 1100 kg. Under the project the boat of the project 183P could fire rockets at speeds from 15 up to 30 knots and a condition of the sea up to sea state 4. Reloading launchers it was made in base, thus on one rocket it was spent about 30 minutes. On the boat it was placed PUS "Klen" which obtained the data from RLS "Rangout". Function PUS was development of a fighting rate of a boat and its deduction on a rate, development of time of independent flight of a rocket, parameters onboard and keel rolling for stabilization of a rocket etc. Reserve means for targeting was optical sight PMK-453.

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