AND AGAIN — CORVETTES

AND RE — CORVETTESIf to speak about laws of development of the escort forces of the main sea powers in 1940-ies, the first thing that catches the eye of ever-increasing size of ships. This trend continued during the cold war. In the vast oceans required the hull, allows you to accommodate not only solid fuel but also of appropriate weapons, numerous electronics and gidroakustiki, which led to an increase in displacement and cost of construction. The once-popular corvettes, leading descended from small fishing boats, seemingly forever disappeared from the scene.

 

However, for countries located on the shores of inland seas and not applying for ocean domination, the advantages of low cost of construction and operation of small fighting units of the fleet remained quite tempting. In the West, the most consistent advocate of this point of view was Italy. We have already talked about the successful anti-submarine corvettes of the “Ale”, created in this country during the Second world war. It is not surprising that they became the prototype of the cheap escort ships of the new generation.
 
The development of naval forces of the European NATO countries in the 1950s began with the financial assistance of the United States. In particular, American money Italy had to build a series of small anti-submarine ships. The plan was to put three units for its own fleet, four for the Navy of Denmark and one for Holland.
 
Elegant 800-ton corvettes of the “Albatross” resembled its predecessors of wartime very vaguely. They had a newfangled flush-deck hull superstructure from side to side in the middle, and a set of new weapons developed in the Apennine Peninsula. The latter consisted of 76-mm compact automatic installation, which later became the “highlight” of the Italian military industry.
 
However, the first pancake was lumpy. Although nominally an instrument of the firm “Stabilimento Meccanici di Pozzuoli” could make up to 50 shots per minute in the drum, from which was made the automatic feed, was only 14 unitary cartridges. So, releasing the queue for 20 seconds, the ship was stopped firing, until the drum is manually replenished from the cellar. Moreover, loading the cannons were made in the upright position of the trunk(as subsequently most missile and anti-aircraft installations). Large load on the rotation mechanism and elevation has led to frequent breakdowns. The gun has earned a very bad reputation, although in itself the principle of a loading drum and the choice of caliber was absolutely correct.
 
The Italians have failed not only with artillery: as little was and the first samples of anti-submarine mortars of the firm “Menon”. The result was sad: shortly after the commissioning of the Italian ships withdrew and 76-mm guns, and “minona”, replacing their usual 40-mm “bothersome” and obsolete “hedgehoge”. Subsequently, the defence stepped up, adding a pair of 40-mm guns and three-pipe torpedo tubes for small American torpedoes PLO. The Dutch decided not to suffer from the “Mediterranean miracle” and quickly returned built for them, “Linke” back to Italy. Only the Danes continued to patiently fight with a fragile and capricious machines (though from the mortars they firmly refused). However, they first brought the ships from the Navy (though after 25 years of service life).
 
After the first failure, the Italians returned to the construction of corvettes, only a dozen years later. Interestingly, the characteristics of the ships of the “Pietro de Cristofaro” formally was nearly the same as scheduled for their predecessors: these two 76-mm gun and mortars of the firm “Menon”… But now all the weapons worked well, and the Creator of the guns — concern “OTO-Melara” — made a serious bid for the role of the leader in compact trehdyuymovok, whose descendants to this day form the basis of the artillery of the most modern warships of the West. Speed is clearly insufficient 19 knots increased to 23, and the acoustic equipment is now included towed sonar to significantly increase the range of detection of underwater enemy. Changed the architecture of the body, which again, after a long dominance of gladkotrubnym, received the forecastle.
 
The subsequent history of the Italian corvettes characteristic trends of the late 80-ies — 90-ies of XX century. The easing of international tension associated with the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, has caused understandable desire to try to save a bit of funds. In Vogue “ships for growth”, nedovolnye and designed in peacetime for the various paramilitary purposes: protection of territorial waters, training of personnel, use as rescue boats and even tug boats.
 
The designers of the company “Fincantieri” has created two very successful series. More richly saturated with electronics, equipment and weapons of Minerva, if necessary, could take another four position anti-ship missiles “Otomat” (which you can also launch anti-submarine recettore MILAS) and towed sonar, becoming quite modern multi-purpose vehicle of small displacement with well-balanced characteristics.
 
Almost the same displacement, but shorter and wider “West” had no missile weapons, but in the stern was located a landing pad for a helicopter, making it an excellent “guard” in peacetime. It is not surprising that funds for the construction came from the Ministry of the merchant Navy is extremely interested in a cheap coast guard vessel. To maximize savings, they installed 76-mm guns, the fire control system and some other equipment captured from decommissioned frigates of the “Bergamini”. So even in our time, transformed the Italian tradition of building small patrol.
 
AND RE — CORVETTES
 
69. Corvette “Pietro de Cristofaro”, Italy, 1966
 
Built at the shipyard in Riva Trigoso. The standard displacement of 850 tons, t full 1020 maximum Length of 80.2 m, width 10 m, draft 2.5 m. Capacity twin-shaft diesel installation 8500 HP, 23 knots. Armament: two 76-mm guns, six 324-mm torpedo tubes ASW, single-barrel mortars “Menon”. Only in 1966, construction of 4 units: “Umberto Grosso”, “Pietro de Cristofaro”, “Licio, Visintini” and “miss Todaro”. Written off in 1992-1993.
 
70. Corvette “Albatros”, Italy, 1955
 
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in Castellamare. The standard displacement of 800 tons, full 950 m maximum Length of 76.3 m width 9.7 m, draught 2,8 m. Capacity twin-shaft diesel installation 5200 HP, speed 19 knots. Armament: two 76-mm guns, two 40-mm machine gun, two mortars “Hedgehog”, single release gear. In 1963, re: has four 40-mm gun and two three-pipe 324-mm torpedo tubes ASW. Only in 1955 — 1956, built 8 units: “Albatross”, “Alcione” and “Iron” for the Italian Navy, the “Linke” Dutch and “Bel-Lona”, “flora”, “Diana” and “Triton” for Denmark. All scrapped between 1974 and 1990.
 
71. Corvette “Minera”, Italy, 1988
 
Built by the firm “Fincantieri”. Displacement standard, t 1030, 1290 full t maximum Length of 86.6 m, beam 10.5 m, draught 3,5 m. Capacity twin-shaft diesel installation 11 000 HP speed 35 knots. Armament: installation SAM “Albatross”, one 76-mm gun, six 324-mm torpedo tubes ASW. In wartime the possible installation of anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles. Just 1988-1991 built 8 units: “Minerva”, “Urania”, “Danaide”, “Sfinge”, “Dryad”, “Chimera”, “Fenice” and “Sybil.” All are in the ranks.
 
72. Corvette “Cassiopeia”, Italy, 1991
 
Built by the firm “Fincantieri”. Displacement standard 1110т full 1475 t maximum Length 79,8 m, width 11,8 m, draft 3,6 m. Capacity twin-shaft diesel installation 8800 HP, speed 21 knots. Armament: one 76-mm gun, two 20-mm machine gun, one helicopter. Only in 1991 built 4 units: “Cassiopeia”, “Libra”, “Spica” and “VEGA”. All are in the ranks.

 
Speaking about the Italian corvettes, not to mention about export orders to third world countries. Not entirely successful “Albatross” however, attracted the attention — especially the fact that with its low cost, it is significantly superior to the characteristics of the old English corvettes of the “flower” in a large number of dispersed the fleets of the different countries. In addition to colleagues in NATO, “the Albatross,” I decided to buy far Indonesia, found themselves after independence in some insulation and need to create their own strong enough Navy. Two ships, “Pattimura” and “Sultan Hasanuddin”, differed from the prototype three-shaft diesel plant increased power, allows you to develop 22 knots even when increased to 950 tons displacement. Other changes included improved ventilation and a 30-mm machine guns instead of the 40mm “Bogorov”.
 
Career “Italians” in the Navy Indonesia was unusual. Shortly after commissioning in early 1958, a sharp reorientation of Pro-Sukarno government of the Soviet Union interrupted the supply of parts and ammunition. But in the “land of a thousand Islands” wide river flowed Soviet weapons. Corvettes rearmed, but compared to many frigates, destroyers and even cruisers (the former Soviet Ordzhonikidze), they quickly lost their military significance. And after the coup carried out by General Suharto in 1965, Indonesia is once again shifted to the West. Most of the larger Soviet ships went for scrapping, while “Pattimura” and “Hasanudin” survived them safely and lasted until the early 1980-ies.
 
Interestingly, in August 1993, the Navy of Indonesia has recently been enriched with corvettes that are closely associated with the Soviet shipbuilding school. We are talking about 16 units of the type “Parchim”, set soon after the reunification of Germany. These ships had a long and very interesting history.
 
To trace its beginning, we should return to the USSR, in the distant 1963, when Zelenodolsk KB was given the task to develop small antisubmarine ship (MPK) project 1124. By a curious coincidence, he got the same code name as the first postwar “Italian” the same class “Albatross”. However, the Soviet “bird” has a different origin: the Mediterranean if the Corvette was a smaller frigate, our rather increased boat project 204, because its body has retained many features of the 450-ton prototype, leading descended from great hunters for submarines.
 
The ship had quite an unusual layout, also inherited from the 204th: paired 57-mm automatic installation AK-725 was located in the rear, and the nose is the missile defense systems short-range “OSA” and rocket mortars. A significant development was towed hydroacoustic station “Shelon'”, the range of which reached 15 — 20 km. However, for this the patrol had to stay, but after discovering he could quickly gain the course, maintaining contact with the aid of a stationary gas “Argun”. Speed factors contributed to very progressive mechanical unit consisting of two diesel units, working on side shafts, and gas turbine, rotating the center shaft. In afterburner it is allowed together with diesel engines to achieve unique for anti-submarine ships of the time speed — 35 knots.
 
Original feature was the exhaust side, along the hull, instead of the traditional pipe. Not to spoil the protective coloration of the body, the aft began to paint in black, which gave these and all subsequent IPC distinctive look.
 
Project 1124 went to a great series and was built for almost two decades. On its basis was created the option for the border forces, 1124П on which place “Wasps” won the second 76-mm spark. Soviet “Albatross” turned out to be noticeably better its Italian namesake, and became the ancestor of the long branches of small anti-submarine ships.
 
The initial modification was the addition of quick-firing six-barreled 30 mm AK-630 in the feed, significantly strengthen protection against enemy aircraft and anti-ship missiles. Simultaneously to improved the “Albatross” has installed a new radar. One of the IPC completed on a special project 1124К. It was intended for full-scale testing of new complex air defense “Dagger”. But the greatest changes have been made to the project 1124M, which can be considered as a separate type. Place 57-mm Sparky took a more powerful 76-mm AK-176, and the defense further strengthened, adding to the “EfE” coupled with the installation of anti-aircraft missiles “Strela-3”. Almost completely updated radar and sonar equipment. However, a small case all is contained already in some difficulty, and little to reduce the overload, one of the jet mortars had to be removed.
 
Ship project 1124M continued to build until the collapse of the USSR and the first years of independent Russia and Ukraine.
 
Small and inexpensive, “Grisha” (such designation IPC received the NATO classification) could be interesting for allies of the USSR’s Most powerful ship-building industry of the Warsaw Pact countries had, of course, the German Democratic Republic. It was there, at the shipyard in Wolgast laid 16 units of the project 133, adopted many features of 1124M, especially the layout. There were some differences in armament and equipment. So, the Germans had to limit the “Boom” and drop the gas “Shelon” cleverly replaced the helicopter hydroacoustic station, which is “hung” on the boom to starboard. The specificity of the Baltic sea, where all recent wars have had mine weapons, led to the increase in the number taken on Board up to 30 min. Refused combined propulsion system: now all three shafts were rotated with diesel engines, which could not affect a speed of a little dotyagivaya now to a modest 25 knots.
 
Although Western experts have criticized the German IPC as too “wet”, he has earned the recognition of quality buildings. Despite the degraded (compared to the contemporary “Albatross”) data, “big brother” ordered the series for myself. The main reason was the need to support the shipbuilding industry ally. So in recent years, the existence of the socialist camp at the same shipyard, the stocks fell 12 units to the Soviet Union (draft 1331М), the latter got to the customer just a few months before the disappearance of the GDR from the world map.
 
The fate of remaining in Germany “parkhymiv” resolved immediately.
 
Several IPC even included in Bundesmarine, but not for long. In 1992 and placed in reserve and slowly rusting at berth unit several refurbish and couples began to send to the other end of the globe to Indonesia. There they are still in service, continuing service, many former Soviet corvettes-IPC fleet of Russia.
 
V. KOFMAN

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