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Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class)

Guided-Missile Corvette Warship

Soviet Union | 1977

"The Tarantul-class, and all of its related offspring, were Soviet-era corvette warship developments with many still operating today."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/15/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
During the Cold War period, the Soviet Navy invested considerable resources in its corvette fleet. One product of the late stages of the war became Project 1241 "Molniya" (the ships designated by NATO as the "Tarantul-class") which led to some eighty hulls were constructed including the related Pauk-class and Veer-class ships for. These vessels not only served with the Soviet Navy but went on to include global customers made up of soviet allies and supported client states including Bulgaria, East Germany / Germany, Egypt, India, Myanmar, Poland, Romania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Yemen. A single vessel fell to the United States Navy (USN) and this example was transferred to the Germans..

Though their best days remain behind the group, the design continues in active service in one form or another today (2022).

The first hulls were activated for operational service in 1977 with the Soviet Navy and the group was used to succeed the aging Project 205M (Tsunami) vessels (Osa-class in same role. As corvettes, the warships are the smallest classified fleet ships and the most dimensionally compact in size. Able to operate in Blue Water environments as well as close-to-shore, the ships are of tactical value to any one navy service.

Aboard the 500-ton design is a modest operating crew of fifty personnel. Dimensions include a running length of 183.8 feet, a beam of 34.4 feet, and a draught of 8.1 feet. The shallow draught allows the vessel to operate close to shore lines.

Installed power is through a COGAG (COmbined Gas-And-Gas) arrangement which sees 2 x Gas turbines of 11,000 horsepower coupled to 2 x Gas cruising turbines offering 4,000 horsepower driving twin shafts astern. This propels the ship to speeds of 42 knots in ideal conditions with range out to 2,800 miles.

The variable armament suite consists of a single 76mm AK-176 Dual-Purpose (DP) turreted deck gun over the forecastle. There are 2 x 30mm AK-630 Close-in Weapon Systems (CIWSs) present (or 1 x CADS-N-1 "Kashtan") for shorter-ranged aerial threats. 4 x P-15 "Termit" or 4 x P-270 "Moskit" or 16 x Kh-35 "Uran" surface-to-surface missiles can be carried depending on configuration. Additionally, a single SA-N-5 Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher (in MANPAD form) is used to deter inbound aerial threats at range.

The silhouette of the warship is consistent by Cold War standards: the deck gun takes up its usual spot over the forecastle and the bridge superstructure is directly aft with its stepped approach. The main mast sits atop the superstructure and the bridge section is straddled by a pair of stacked, cylindrical launcher units. The superstructure then steps down towards the stern, terminating in a flat stern hull wall.

The first iteration of the class was Project 1241.1 (NATO: "Tarantul-II") which were brought online from 1979 until 1984 and comprised thirteen series ships. The export model of this variant was the downgraded Project 1241.RE (NATO: "Tarantul-I") and twenty-two hulls followed during the span of 1977 and 1979.

Then followed the upgraded Project 12411, 1241.1M, and 1241.1MR hulls (NATO: "Tarantul-III" / "Tarantul-III Mod"). These came online from 1985 until 2001 and number 34 total hulls.

A further evolution of the P.12411 design became the Project 1242.1 and Project 1241.8 "Molniya" class featuring more modern combat solutions. While Vympel Shipyard handled the Russia procurement, Vietnam constructed their lot locally under license. The hulls began service in the 1990s and represent some of the more modern offerings of the entire Tarantul series.

India also took on local construction of the design and these have appeared until the Veer-class name.

The modern Russian Navy operates twenty-two hulls of the series (considerably less than the Soviet Navy's forty-eight examples). Bulgaria a single example and Romania three. Vietnam fields twelve total hulls. Turkmenistan utilized three total Molyina-class ships though only two of the original trio remain in service (2022). Yemen operates a pair of vessels. Poland has decommissioned all four of its ships. All five of the East German / German hulls have been given up.

The Ukrainian Navy lost all four of its P.1241 hulls during the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea. Two may be serviceable and in use by the Russian Border Guard service.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class).
COGAG (COmbined Gas-And-Gas): 2 x Marine turbines developing 11,000 horsepower with 2 x Cruise turbines developing 4,000 horsepower; 2 x Shafts astern.
42.0 kts
48.3 mph
Surface Speed
2,433 nm
2,800 miles | 4,506 km
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class).
183.8 ft
56.02 meters
O/A Length
34.4 ft
10.49 meters
8.1 ft
2.47 meters
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class).
1 x 76mm AK-176 Dual-Purpose (DP) turreted deck gun.
4 x P-15 "Termit" (SS-N-2 "Styx") OR 4 x P-270 "Moskit" (SS-N-22 "Sunburn") OR Kh-35 "Uran" (SS-N-25 "Switchblade") anti-ship / anti-surface missiles.
2 x 30mm AK-630 OR 1 x CADS N-1 Kashtan Close-In Weapon System (CIWS).
Ships-in-Class (70)
Notable series variants as part of the Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class) family line as relating to the Tarantul I/II/III-class / Molniya-class group.
Total of 80 hulls ultimately built including subclasses Pauk-class (P.1241.2) and Veer-class (local to India).
Global operator(s) of the Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.

Shipbuilder(s): Vympel Shipyard - Soviet Union / Russia; India; Vietnam
National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Egypt National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of India National flag of Myanmar National flag of Poland National flag of Romania National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Turkmenistan National flag of Ukraine National flag of the United States National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yemen

[ Bulgaria; East Germany (former); Egypt; Germany; India; Myanmar (former); Poland; Romania; Russia; Soviet Union (former); Turkmenistan; Ukraine (former); United States (former, transferred to Germany); Vietnam; Yemen ]
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Image of the Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class)
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
Tarantul / Project 1241/12411/1242 (class) Guided-Missile Corvette Warship appears in the following collections:
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