Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Yugoslav Koni-class Frigate

The warship that I saw and photographed during my recent cruise was one of two Koni-class frigates formerly operated by the Yugoslav Navy. 31 turned out to be the Beograd (previously named Split; the name was changed in 1993), and it appears that she no longer in service with the Montenegrin Navy. Her sister ship (Podgorica [32], ex-Koper) has already been scrapped after being stripped of all her military equipment.

The Koni-class frigates were built by the former Soviet Union at the Zelenodolsk shipyard between 1975 and 1988. With the exception of one ship that was retained for training purposes (and later sold to Bulgaria), the frigates were built for export to ‘friendly’ countries (i.e. Algeria, Cuba, East Germany, Libya, and Yugoslavia).

Their characteristics were as follows:
  • Displacement: 1,140 tons (standard); 1,900 tons (full load)
  • Length: 95.0 m
  • Beam: 12.8 m
  • Draught: 4.2 m
  • Propulsion: CODAG (2 diesels + 1 gas turbine [35,000 shp]) driving three propellers
  • Speed: 27 knots
  • Complement: 110
  • Armament: 1 x SA-N-4 launcher; 4 x SS-N-2C Styx anti-ship missile launchers; 4 x 76.2mm dual purpose guns; 4 x 30mm guns; 2 x RBU-6000 depth charge launchers; 20 mines
  • Radar: Don-2; Strut Curve; Pop Group; Hawk Screech; Drum Tilt (Note: These are all the NATO designations for these radar systems)

The forward twin 76.2mm gun mounting. The two multi-barrelled RBU-6000 depth charge launchers are mounted on the superstructure just behind the gun mounting.

The aft twin 76.2mm gun mounting. The two cut outs in the stern show where the mine rails would have discharged mines into the sea. Note the overhang to ensure that the mines did not drop towards the ships stern.

The SS-N-2C Styx anti-ship missile launchers (two are mounted on each side). The Styx is a large anti-ship cruise missile that has a 454kg hollow charge high explosive warhead and a range of 80km. The cover over the pop-up SA-N-4 launcher can be seen just to the right of the right-hand Styx launcher.

The forward radar suite. On top of the bridge is the Hawk Screech fire control radar. On the mast are the Strut Curve air search radar aerials and the Don-2 navigation/surface search radar antenna. The short pyramid mast behind the main mast carries a Drum Tilt fire control radar. One of the twin 30mm gun mounts can be seen on the superstructure below the main mast.

Pop Group surface-to-air fire control director and radar.


  1. It is certainly interesting to speculate on what might happen if the SS-N-2s with their half-tonne warheards were loosed off in the confined waters of the Adriatic...

  2. Tim Gow,

    I suspect that it might have been both spectacular and terrifying at the same time!

    All the best,


  3. if the Styx misiles were loose on the confined waters of adriatic it would be more dangerous on the civil ships rather than warships, after the 80s the warships have good chance to defend their selfs from SSMs (ECM, decoys CIWS) only multiple missiles from diferent angles have chance to pass the defences, 4-8 missiles in hope one to get pass the defence

    1. Petros311,

      I think that you are probably correct. I suspect that hitting any target would have been seen as result. The Styx was not a sophisticated missile ... but if it had managed to get through an opponent's counter measures, it could have done serious damage.

      The Croatian coast seems to have so many islands that I can imagine that a Styx-armed vessel might just have been able to use them as cover to ambush a better-equipped opponent. An interesting scenario that might be worth gaming through.

      All the best,