Koni-class frigate

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Class overview
Name: Koni class (project 1159)
Preceded by: Mirka class
Succeeded by: Gepard class
Built: 1975-1988
Completed: 14
General characteristics
Type: frigate
  • 1,140 tons (standard)
  • 1,900 tons (full load)[1]
Length: 95.0 m
Beam: 12.8 m
Draught: 4.2 m
Draft: 5 m [2]
  • CODAG 2 diesels + 1 gas turbine,
  • 3 shafts; 35,000 shp total[1]
Speed: 27 knots
  • 1,800 nm at 14 knots
  • 3,300 km at 26 km/h
Complement: 110[1]
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radar barret-2, Slim Net, Strut curve, pop group, Hawk Screech, Drum Tilt, Sonar - Herkules hull mounted & dipping sonar

The Koni class is the NATO reporting name for an anti-submarine warfare frigate built by the Soviet Union. They were known in the Soviet Union as Project 1159. 14 were built in Zelenodolsk shipyard between 1975 and 1988. They were originally intended to replace the older Riga-class frigates, but were instead chosen as a design for export to various friendly navies. The Koni I sub class were designed for European waters and the Koni II were made for warmer waters.[3] One ship was retained by the Soviets in the Black Sea for training foreign crews. Only a few of these vessels remain in service today.

The Romanian Tetal class frigates were similar.



The armament consisted of two twin 76 mm AK726 gun mountings and two twin 30mm AA guns, 4 SSN-2 anti ship missile launchers were fitted in some ships, depth charge and mine racks were fitted at the stern. The Libyan vessels had a redesigned layout with the SSN-2 missiles forward of the bridge. The ships had contemporary Soviet radar and sonar.


The ships had 3 shaft CODAG machinery suite, identical to that used in the Grisha class frigates (project 1124). The middle shaft had an 18000 hp gas turbine while the outer two shafts had diesel engines with 9000 hp in total for economical cruising,

Ships in class

Project 1159 - Koni I
Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate
Delfin 21 April 1973 19 July 1975 31 December 1975 to Bulgarian Navy as Smeli in service 2014
Nerpa 22 October 1974 4 June 1977 31 December 1977 to East Germany as Rostock , scrapped after 1990
Krechet 19 January 1977 3 July 1978 31 December 1978 to East Germany as Berlin - Hauptstadt der DDR, scrapped after 1990
Sokol January 1978 21 April 1979 30 November 1979 to Yugoslavia as Split, later to Serbia & Montenegro, scrapped 2013
SKR-481 25 December 1979 24 December 1981 30 September 1982 to Yugoslavia as Koper, scrapped 1998
SKR-149 8 April 1983 30 June 1984 25 June 1985 to East Germany as Halle, scrapped after 1990
Project 1159T - Koni II
SKR-482 10 June 1978 12 January 1980 30 September 1980 to Algeria as Mourad Rais
SKR-28 17 July 1979 21 June 1980 30 December 1980 to Cuba as Mariel
SKR-35 11 June 1980 30 April 1981 30 November 1981 to Algeria as Rais Kellik, in service
SKR-471 24 April 1981 31 July 1982 17 August 1983 to Cuba as 356
SKR-129 7 July 1982 11 November 1983 30 August 1984 to Algeria as Rais Korfu, in service
SKR-451 6 May 1986 3 May 1987 25 December 1987 to Cuba as Monkada
Project 1159TR - Koni II
SKR-201 22 September 1982 27 April 1985 30 December 1985 to Libya as Al Hani , in service
SKR-195 18 April 1985 27 April 1986 25 December 1986 to Libya as Al Ghardabia, sunk 2011 during the Libyan civil war

M/V Captain Keith Tibbetts

In September 1996 a former Cuban Navy Koni II-class frigate designated 356 was scuttled in shallow water in Cayman Brac. This ship was built in 1984 as one of three Koni II-class frigates sold to Cuba to support its Cold War fleet. In 1996 the ship was purchased from Cuba by the Cayman Islands government to be scuttled in Cayman Brac as a dive attraction. The remaining two Cuban Koni II class were expended as targets. Frigate 356 was sunk upright, and initially her deck rested 90 ft (27 m) below the surface. A serious storm in 2004 broke the ship in two, and her bow now lists at a 45 degree angle, while her midships have become a debris field. Before being sunk the ship was renamed Captain Keith Tibbetts after a local politician and diver. It is one of only a few sunken Soviet Naval vessels in the Western Hemisphere, and the only one of two that is easily dived including her sister ship SKR-451.

Patrol Boat 383, P.B.

On July 16, 1998 the former Cuban Navy Koni II-class frigate designated 353 was scuttled in shallow water near the Cuban resort town of Varadero in the Parque Submarino Cayo Piedra del Norte as an attraction for divers. It is rumored that Fidel Castro promoted the project, being an avid diver himself. The frigate sank upright, and sits on the sand bottom in 90 ft (27 m) of water. For an unknown reason her hull number was changed from 353 to 383 prior to the scuttling.[4] The dive operators in the varadero area refer to the dive site as Patrol boat 383 or simply P.B even though it is a frigate.

Original operators

Mourad Rais of Algerian National Navy in 1986. One of the warm-water export versions.
  • Soviet Union - 1 (to Bulgaria in 1990), Delfin was originally used for training foreign crews in the Black Sea, before being sold to the Bulgarian Navy, currently in service as Smeli (Bulgarian: Смели" ("Brave")).
  • Algeria - 3, in service, being upgraded with new electronics, ASW torpedo tubes and 8 x Kh-35 Uran/SS-N-25 Switchblade anti-ship missiles
  • Cuba - 3, 356 (No name) ex SKR-471 sunk as a reef , 353 (later 383) (Monkada or Moncada) ex SKR-451 sunk as a reef [4] and 350 (Mariel) ex SKR 28 status unknown.
  • East Germany / Germany - 3, two scrapped in 1990 and one scrapped in 1995. (Rostock, Berlin - Hauptstadt der DDR, Halle)
  • Libya - 1 (formerly 2), 4 x 406mm torpedo tubes, status unknown, damaged by bombing May 19/20 and on August 9, 2011. (Al Ghardabia). The remaining ship, Al Hani captured by NTC in Benghazi, and has become the flagship of the reorganized Libyan Navy.
  • Libyan People's Army - 1, 4 x 406mm torpedo tubes (Al Hani, captured from Libyan Navy)
  • Yugoslavia - acquired two ships, Split (VPBR-31) and Koper (VPBR-32), during the 1980s.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Koni class - Project 1159". FAS.org. 2000-09-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Couhat Jean. Combat Fleets of the world 1982/1983 Their Ships, Aircraft, and Armament Paris: Editions Maritimes et d'Outre-Mer, 1981 ISBN 0-87021-125-0 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-50192 Pg.2
  3. "Koni Class - Project 1159". globalsecurity.org. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://www.wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?137249