Surface Forces: That Gift That Must Be Given Back


September 2, 2015:   On 19 August a Tarantul class Russian corvette was seen entering the Black Sea. The ship was flying the Russian flag and appeared to have a Russian crew. This was curious as two weeks earlier the ship had arrived in Egypt as a gift from Russia to Egypt. Shortly thereafter the corvette, flying Russian and Egyptian flags, appeared at a public event. But now it was back in Russia. What happened was that the corvette was an unexpected gift to Egypt and after considering the situation the Egyptians decided they could not really care for the ship since no Egyptian sailors had been trained to operate or maintain the vessel. So the ship was sent back to Russia until Egyptian sailors and technicians could be sent to Russia for training.

The ship sent to Egypt was one of the latest versions of the Taruntul class corvettes. This ship was considered unique enough to be considered a new class; Molniya. Russia had two of these, and in June 2015 Russia delivered two Tarantul/Molniya class corvettes to Vietnam. Since the late 1970s about 80 Taruntus have been built, most for export. The ship sent to Egypt entered service in 2000 and was often used as a demonstrator by Russian sales personnel. 

Tarantul is a 500 ton, 56 meter (184 foot) vessel with a top speed of 78 kilometers an hour and the ability to stay at sea ten days at a time. The crew of fifty operates four anti-ship missiles (various models are available), four shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles, one 76mm gun and two AK630 30mm multibarrel auto cannon for anti-aircraft or anti-missile defense.



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