Small Rocket Ships and Boats
MRK malye raketnie korabli / malye raketnie kater]
The class of missile and artillery ships included missile boats and small missile ships. The rocket “mosquito” fleet owed its appearance exclusively to the Soviet Navy. Here, for the first time, both the idea of equipping a boat with an anti-ship missile and the weapon itself appeared. For various reasons, not initially perceived in almost any country, after the sinking of an Israeli destroyer by the Soviet-built Egyptian destroyer in 1967, this idea won the minds of sailors literally all over the world.
The new weapon system was a very effective means of combating surface ships in the coastal zone, and regardless of the "greatness" of the naval power. Further, in the development of the idea of a missile boat, very successful, so-called, small missile ships are being created in the Soviet Union. Their appearance is due to some traditional shortcomings of Soviet combat boats. The fact is that from the time of the first torpedo boats, such ships for self-defense were armed with heavy machine guns, and then with anti-aircraft guns of caliber up to 30 mm. Despite the experience of the Great Patriotic War, when military clashes between Soviet and German torpedo boats for the first, as a rule, ended in failure, nothing changed in the post-war period.
The history of the creation of the world's first missile boats and small missile ships is inextricably linked with the JSC “TsMKB“ Almaz” bureau. In the period after the Second World War, with the advent of new means of ship self-defense, which include radar stations (radar) for target detection and fire control, a torpedo as a traditional weapon of attack on ships and enemy ships has lost its relevance. Guided missile weapons (URO) came to the fore. The first generation missile boats have been developed since the mid-1950s on the basis of project 183 torpedo boats in a wooden hull. The first successful launch of the P-15 cruise missile from the board of the TKA-14 boat on a fixed target was made on September 6, 1958.
This gave rise to the large-scale serial construction of missile boats of Project 183P. They were built 112 units for the domestic Navy and 48 units for export. The next step was the creation of a project 205 missile boat in a steel hull. This project was even more in demand. 243 units were exported, and the aggregate number of the series totaled more than 600 units. Further development of the subject of missile boats in the mid-1960s. led to the creation of a completely new subclass of warships - small missile ships (RTOs). This is a project 1234 "Gadfly".
The effectiveness of the "mosquito fleet" has been repeatedly confirmed during local international conflicts. In October 1967, two boats of Project 183P Komar of the Egyptian Navy attacked and sank the Israeli destroyer Eilat. Three years later, Project 205 Wasp Egyptian missile boats sank an Israeli reconnaissance vessel. And in 1971, the boats of the project 205 of the Indian Navy, during an attack on the naval base of the Pakistani Navy, Karachi inflicted tremendous damage to the enemy, in fact, deciding the outcome of the Indo-Pakistani conflict in favor of the Indian side.
The very first military clashes, this time with Israeli boats, confirmed the existing experience. However, the general situation was aggravated by the fact that the effectiveness of 30-mm anti-aircraft guns was clearly not enough to deal with enemy air attack weapons. This required equipping missile boats with medium-caliber artillery and self-defense anti-aircraft missile systems. Naturally, such an increase in anti-aircraft weapons entailed an increase in displacement, but the latter was partially justified by an increase in shock capabilities. True, in the export version, on small missile ships, they basically preserved the same strike missile complex as on missile boats.
Subsequently, the Russian fleet included missile boats with a 76-mm artillery mount, almost commensurate in size with the new small missile ships. Therefore, these two subclasses - missile boats and small missile ships - have practically merged into a single class of warships. Formally, these are ships of the coastal zone, but before they successfully went even to the Mediterranean and South China Seas. Updated and re-equipped "Gadgets" will be able to launch missiles at a potential enemy no worse than destroyers or frigates .
In connection with the increase in the requirements of the military-political leadership of the country to the tactical and technical characteristics of missile boats in terms of seaworthiness, speed (42-43 knots), habitability, range of missile defense, military self-defense and electronic warfare (EW), in 1973 The design of the large Molniya missile boat as a carrier for the Mosquito anti-ship missile system began, the development of which was launched in 1973 as well. The implementation of such an ambitious program was not carried out as smoothly as planned, but in the end 17 boats were built in the intermediate modification 1241-1 (with the URT Termit complex) for the domestic fleet and 1 boat for Bulgaria, 30 boats in the modification 12411 (with the complex "Mosquito" and diesel-gas turbine power plant) for the Navy of the USSR, 22 boats in export modification, 1 boat in modification 12417 (with the Kortik complex) and 1 boat in modification 12421 for the domestic fleet. Eight boats of Project 1241RE were built under license at shipyards in India. Two boats of project 12418 (with the Uran-E complex) were created for the Navy of Vietnam and another 6 units were assembled under license in Ho Chi Minh City (SRV), 2 boats of project 12418 were built for the Navy of Turkmenistan.
The collapse of the shipbuilding industry that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the fact that for a long time the Navy of the country was not replenished with new ships. The situation began to improve only in the early 2000s, when shipbuilding programs were re-launched, one of which was the creation of a series of project 20380 corvettes. However, the construction of ships of the main classes requires a significant investment of time and money. Given the limited resources of the Russian Navy command, the Soviet idea of a “mosquito” fleet seemed quite attractive: the domestic developers — the Central Marine Design Bureau “Almaz” and the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau — were tasked with designing the most efficient boat or ship of very limited displacement, which could be quickly mastered by domestic industry, and due to the relatively low price, it could be built in a sufficiently large series.
the fleet, based on its own considerations, made its choice in favor of a small missile ship of project 21631 Buyan-M, created on the basis of a small artillery ship of project 21630 Buyan. The peculiarity of the ships of these projects is that they are designed for mixed river-sea navigation, therefore they are equipped with water-jet propulsors and are characterized by low draft, so that they can easily navigate inland waterways and in the waters of the Caspian Sea. However, because of this, they do not have very high seaworthiness, but as it was assumed, that the ships will not go into the open sea and will be protected by coastal air defense systems, their autonomy and means of self-defense are limited. The combat use experience gained by RTOs of project 21631 during the Syrian campaign revealed both their advantages and their disadvantages.
The fleet needed a ship with powerful missile, artillery and anti-aircraft weapons, which had greater speed and seaworthiness, and in 2015, project 22800 received a ticket to life. "Karakurt" are equipped with universal launchers UKSK 3S14. They allow the use of Caliber, Onyx and their analogs cruise missiles (Yakhont and BrahMos), as well as Zircon hypersonic missiles after they are put into service. In addition, the AK-176MA advanced artillery mount (AU) is used, which, due to the use of electric drives, has improved firing accuracy.
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