Project 204 Poti Class
There is always a question as to what class a particular vessel falls into and the Poti Class is a good example. Some sources identify them as light ASW frigates, others classify them as Guided Missile Corvettes while others define them as Patrol Boats. This is primarily due to the Soviet nomenclature not being directly equivalent to Western standards. In the Soviet Navy they were classified as Small Anti-Submarine Ships.
Small anti-submarine ship (abbreviated: IPC / MPK) - a subclass of anti-submarine ships for the Soviet naval classification. Intended for searching, tracking and destruction of submarines in the near sea and the coastal zone. In the countries of NATO small antisubmarine ships are classified as anti-submarine corvettes. They are intended for short-range anti-submarine warfare in the marine and coastal zones.
By the mid 1950s several projects of submarine hunters were built in the Navy. Large hunters were based on a Project 122bis (full displacement - 325 tons, full speed - 20 knots). Small hunters were built a wooden hull under the Project ML-200bis (full displacement - 48.2 tons, full speed - 29 knots) and the Project 199 (full displacement - 83 tons, full speed - 35 knots) and a perfect project small hunter in steel, etc. 201 (full displacement - 185 - 192 tons, full speed - 28 knots).
The most widespread modifications were the steel projects 201M and 201T. A total of three shipyards, Zelenodolsk, Kerch and Khabarovsk in the period from 1955 to 1968 built about 160 units of the projects. Later, with the introduction of the new classification, the small submarine-chasers were called anti-submarine boats. These ships were designed to fight in coastal areas with diesel-electric submarines, having slow speed. These circumstances determined the requirements for search capabilities, the composition of weapons and tactical - technical elements of the hunters in general. The weapons mainly consisted of depth charges dropped on a submarine with located above the hunter.
The situation changed with the emergence of nuclear submarines in the US Navy, and subsequently at in the navies of Britain and France, the probable Soviet opponents. The ASW corvettes that were intended to counter underwater targets with a speed of 20 or more knots were ineffective gainst much faste nucler submarines. Therefore began development of better means of combating submarines. This included the first rapid-sonar stations and multiple rocket bomblets capable of detecting submarines and striking with volleys of depth charges ahead of the ship. These tools were implemented to combat the new project of small anti-submarine ship, replaced the small submarine hunters of the first postwar decade.
Small antisubmarine ships were a logical development projects boats water area protection: small hunter-type MO-4 and projects 199 and 201; large projects Hunter 122, 122A, 122-bis (later reclassified IPC).
The project 204 was first type of small anti-submarine ships specially developed in the USSR. Small antisubmarine ships of project 204 were the result of modifications and further development of similar ships of the project 201. These vessels were typical of the light coastal warship designs produced in large quantity by the Soviet ship yards during the first half of the Cold War. Technically they were very interesting for its original power plant, although it was accepted at the time of its creation and exploitation, the "motors" of this ship were 2 diesel and 2 gas turbines.
The combined propulsion proved overly complex and unreliable in operation. Over time, the operation on the ships was banned. Pipes that went through all the engine room, had been destroyed by corrosion. Replacing them has been associated with a large volume of related work, so they were simply abandoned, and as a result of speed in the diesel variant has dropped to 10 - 12 knots.
Some sources believe sixty-four of this class were built, but others claims that total of 66 ships were built between 1960 and 1968. Production began in the early 1960s and continued on until 1967. The ships were on all four fleets of the Soviet Navy: the Black Sea Fleet - 17, in the Pacific - 11 Baltic - 22 and in the North - 11 units.
Construction of Project 204 ships was conducted at three shipyards: Zelenodolsk Shipyard. Gorky (Zelenodolsk, located on the Volga River near Kazan), Kerch Shipyard (later "The Bay" GCC). Two ships were launched at Zelenodolsk CVD November 26, 1958 and the Kerch CVD January 17, 1959, floated respectively on March 30 and July 27, 1960 and commissioned to the Navy 29 and 31 December 1960. Despite the identified design flaws during the state testing, it was decided to build a large series of ships of the project. A total 63 ships of the project 204 were built. Of these, 31 units of the unit was built at Zelenodolsk GCC, 21 on the Kerch GCC, 11 at the Khabarovsk CVD (17% of the series). Ships built in the first two yards enlisted in the Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets. Later, a unit of the project in 1970 the ships of the fleet, the Navy 3 Romania were transferred, and 3 units - in 1975 the Bulgarian Navy.
Although examples were exported to Bulgaria and Romania the vast majority operated with Soviet naval forces. In the mid-1980s - early 1990s, they were written off, some have been turned into towing vessels, some - in training.In the Soviet Union the Poti-class corvettes were decommissioned by the late 1980s; some Bulgarian ships served into the 21st century.
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