Soviet Missile Corvettes

Soviet Missile Corvettes

250 Corvettes: Poti, Nanuchka, Tarantul, Pauk

Poti class corvettes -68 ships (1961-68)

Poti class

Built in Khabarovsk, Zelenodolsk and Kerch, these 69 units (project 204) were specialized in coastal ASM control and cheaper than the class Petya or Mirka frigates. They had new M2 gas turbines, giving them 38 knots, the best speed ever recorded by a Soviet ship of this type. The vents of these turbines exceeded the stern structure, which also housed two ASM grenades bins. The first units (there is no Poti I or Poti II) were equipped with the open version of the twin 57 mm AA, and two rocket launcher ASM type RBU 2500. They also had 4 torpedo tubes fixed ASM 406 mm, replaced on the three units delivered in 1937 to Romania by TLT of 533 mm antinavires. Three other units were delivered to Bulgaria in 1973.

Note: This is an introduction on the matter, a starter article. It will be extensively rewritten soon, with the carrer of each ship detailed, and posted on Facebook.

Accurate information on the fate of these ships is scarce, but it appears that all units (except those transferred) were in service in 1980. In 1990, this appears to be more than half. For example, on the website of the Black Sea Fleet,, it appears that 17 units were in service in 1981-90 (including one until 1975), and as a result, there were only 12 in service in 1990, and only 2 in 1998. There are none at present.

Poti class illustration


Displacement: 500, 580t FL
Dimensions: 59.4 x 7.9 x 2 m.
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 CODAG turbines, 30,000 hp, 2 diesel 8000 hp, 38 knots max.
Crew: 80
Electronics: Strut Curve Radar, Cob Muff, Spin Through, Herkules Sonar, 2 CME Watch Dog.
Armament: 2 guns 57 mm DE (1×2), 2 LR RBU 6000, 2 ASM grenades banks (12), 4 TLT 406 mm ASM.

Nanuchka class corvettes -35 ships (1968-75)

Nanuchka class

Built in Ulis (Vladivostok) and Petrovsky (Leningrad), they were 35 multi-role corvettes (17 Nanuchka I and 17 Nanuchka III), not including the Nanuchka II export (7 for Libya and Algeria), but the only prototype Nanuchka IV in 1976. These units, from Project 1234 Ovod, were classified as coastal vessels similar to massive missile launchers (500 tons). They also had the look. But they also had an arsenal of ships of a much higher tonnage, with anti-ship capabilities (6 SS-N-9), anti-aircraft (SA-N-4 silo, guns 57 or 76 mm, Gatling missile 30 mm), but not ASM.

They were also long-range vessels, since those of the Black Sea were frequently observed in the Mediterranean. The SS-N-9 missile was new and still secret, so the exported versions had instead only SS-N-2C and the adapted radar, the new Square Tail. Nanuchka III differs from Nanuchka I in adopting a single 75mm AA gun and a 30mm missile Gatling with a Bass Tilt firing radar. The Nanuchka IV had two sextupled SS-N-25 ramps in special containers.

In general, the Nanuchka had serious defects: Although stable because they were wide, they were subjected to excessive pitching because they were too loaded in the tops and with a low bow, and their first M503s diesels did not give satisfaction and deteriorated quickly . Nevertheless these units remained in service until 1990. A number are still active now

Author’s illustration of the Nanuchka class


Displacement: 560, 660t FL
Dimensions: 59.3 x 12.6 x 2.4 m.
Propulsion: 3 propellers, 2 diesels, 30,000 hp, 30 knots max.
Crew: 60.
Electronics: Band Radar Stand, Peel Peer, Pop Group, Bass Tilt, 2 CME Passive Antennas, 2×16 LL.
Armament: 1 barrel 76 mm AA, 6 (2×3) SS-N-9 AN, 1×2 SA-N 4 (20), 1 of 30 mm Gatling AM.

Tarantul class corvettes -35 ships (1981-1996)

Metalowiec in Gdynia, Tarantul class Corvettes
Metalowiec in Gdynia, Tarantul class Corvettes

Built at Volodarsky in Rybinsk, Petrovsky in Leningrad, Srednyy Neva in Kolpino, and Ulis (Valdivostock), they were 45 multirole corvettes (Raketny Kater, or KR), built since 1981, from 1981 to 1986 for the Tarantul II, 23 vessels, and more than 20 for export (Tarantul I). The Tarantul III are a later version for the Soviet fleet. The Almaz design office started to work on these ships as early as 1970. At that time, it was necessary to study a replacement for Osa and Komar. More marine capabilities, more autonomy, and above all armament, were required, and the quadrature of the circle could only be solved by an extension of dimensions and tonnage. As a result, the Tarantuls (project 1241) have moved from star to corvette status.

These studies led to the design of a launching vessel around the new SS-N-22 anti-ship missiles, developed in parallel for the Sovremennyy. But the latter was only ready for the Tarantul III in 1985. The first Tarantul II and I export had to be satisfied with an improved version of the SS-N-2C ‘Styx.’ As intermediate ships between stars and small corvettes, the tarantul have a hull specially designed for high speeds, neither manoeuvrable nor spacious, and the lack of oil on board limited autonomy to the ribs.

In theory its huge CODAG machinery allowed it to reach 43 knots (well under test), but the “normal” peak speed in normal condition was 41 knots. The diesels made it possible to restore a certain autonomy. In 1990, there were approximately 45 units produced, which remained in service until 1990; several were ceded abroad (India (7), GDR (5), Poland (7), Yemen (2), India subsequently acquired the building license and started a series of 23 units. the Tarantul IVs succeeded them, equipped with new anti-missile systems of the CADS N-1 type, and missiles SS-N-25, more effective and longer range than the “Styx” They are not currently in production, but inspired the Pauk In 1994, these 25 vessels were in service (23 Tarantul II and 2 Tarantul I kept as training ships), but in 2000, there were only 18 left, and 23 Tarantul III. would remain only 5 Tarantul II and 1 Tarantul I, and 20 Tarantul III.

Tarantul class
Author’s illustration of the Tarantul


Displacement: 480, 540t FL
Dimensions: 56 x 10.5 x 2.5 m.
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 CODAG turbines, 12,000 + 8,000 hp, 41 knots max.
Crew: 50.
Electronics: Sprint Through Radar, Bass Tilt, 1 targeting radar, 4 passive CME antennas, 2×16 LL.
Armament: 1 barrel 76 mm AA, 4 (2×3) SS-N-2 C, 1×4 SA-N 5 (8), 2 guns of 30 mm Gatling AM.

PAUK class corvettes -45 ships (1977-1982)

Pauk class corvettes

Built in Yaraslavl and Ulis (Vladivostok), they were 45 ASM corvettes (project 1241.2 Molnya-2, or Malyy Protivolodochnyy Korabl ‘MPK), quickly designed on the hull of Tarantul. The weaponry included four ASM torpedo tubes and grenades, as well as one SA-N-5 or 8 short-range quad launcher. They are ships with limited autonomy, coastal, light because their hull is made of steel but their superstructures of aluminum. There were some differences (but not Pauk II) officially, the last glimpses having a modified bridge superstructure. These vessels were defined around the Bronza hull and stern sonars and implemented a helicopter SPV at the stern. The KGB received many of these units, and others were exported: one to Cuba and Libya in 1990, two to Bulgaria, four to India, which acquired the manufacturing license. they are distinguished by their two 533 mm TLTs and a Cross Round radar. In 1990 there were still 37 in service. Figures for 2005 are unknown.

Pauk class corvettes
Pauk class corvettes


Displacement: 399, 495t PC
Dimensions: 57 x 10.2 x 2.5 m.
Propulsion: 2 propellers, 2 diesels, 20,000 hp, 35 knots max.
Crew: 36
Electronics: Spin Through Radar, Bass Tilt, 1 air-surface radar, 4 passive CME antennas, 2×16 LL.
Armament: 1 barrel 76 mm AA, 1×4 SA-N-8, 4 TLT 406 mm ASM, 1 30 mm Gatling AM, 2 LR RBU1200 (25), 2 ASM Grenade racks.

Author: dreadnaughtz

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