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Project 50 Riga class

The Riga Class frigate was designed as an improved but more lightly armed version of the earlier Kola class escort frigate. The first example appeared in 1952. By one account forty-eight examples were produced before production ended in 1958. Another source estimated that 65 Rigas were built between 1955 and 1959, and the last was scrapped in the early 1990s.

The Riga Class was intended as a simple escort designed to protect larger vessels from hostile submarines and aircraft. The ships defensive armament was quite capable during the 1950s but by the 1970s they were unable to discharge their defence duties against more modern threats and most of the vessels had been removed from active service.

The vessels went through a series of upgrades during the 1960s and early 1970s but despite these efforts to keep them effective the Soviet Navy began to withdraw them from service in the mid 1970s.

Riga Class frigates also saw service with other Warsaw Pact navies. East Germany purchased four between 1956 and 1959 and the Bulgarian navy purchased two between 1957 and 1958. Two ships went to the Finns in 1964 and Indonesia bought eight between 1962 and 1965. Finally the People's Republic of China bought ship components and used them to build four Riga-type vessels for coastal patrol duty.



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