The Vietnam-made Molniya class Project 1241.1/ 1241.8 Missile Boat

The missile boat of Project 1242.1 is a further development of the Molniya (Lightning) family boats, developed for export. It differs from its predecessor (Project 1241RE boats) in that the outdated P-20 missile system [SS-N-2 Styx] has been replaced by the Moskit-E ( SS-N-22 Sunburn) missile system which fires supersonic antiship missiles, and that the new Garpun-Bal multirole radar system has been installed.

Trials of the first boat of the class have already been completed. The Project 1242.1 Molniya Missile Boat is intended to engage combatant ships, amphibious ships, and other vessels at open sea. It has the variety of weapons with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air capabilities. The unique radar system covers the missile entire effective range, tracing concurrently 15 targets, and assigns six designated targets under intensive EW environment.

The gun fire control system detects air and surface targets, performs automatic tracking, and computes firing data. The radar which is used to detect surface targets provides fire control system with designation data for five targets at a time. The boat is also fitted with active radar jammers and IFF radar. The missile boat is equipped with the full set of navigation and communication equipment, powerful gas turbine power plant , air-conditioning and ventilation systems to provide efficient operation in any climatic conditions.

Russia has tested and put into production a new missile vessel, "Molniya ", armed with four Moskit missiles. The Molniya is a follow-on to the successful Soviet Tarantul-class missile boats. The St. Petersburg-based design company, Almaz, has developed an export version of the Molniya boat. The unique Russian missile boat "Molniya " is available in a tropical modification. The vessel can destroy surface ships, transport and landing facilities in a coastal zone and out at sea.

With its comparatively inconsiderable displacement of 550 tons, "Molniya " is equipped with four "Moskit" supersonic anti-vessel missiles. The first launch of Russia's newest supersonic anti-ship missile, the Moskit SS-N-22 Sunburn, was conducted from an export Molniya fast missile boat at the Feodosia test range late in October 1999. The boat has a radar missile target designation complex. It's the latest achievement in radio-electronic systems of this purpose. With its high noise-proof features, it can observe 15 targets simultaneously and define target destinations of six. The complex can reach targets 500 kilometers off. Besides strike missile guns, the boat has anti-aircraft missile weapons and automatic artillery installations. It has 12 portable anti-aircraft missile complexes "Igla" meant to hit air targets in conditions of natural visibility. The on-board rapid-fire artillery guns are meant to destroy air, surface and coastal targets. They can also be used to liquidate floating mines. "Molniya " also has two launchers and combined-interference shells to protect targets from anti-boat weapons with different guidance systems.

The boats' relatively small size enables them to blend in with coastal merchant and fishing traffic, making them difficult to locate and target. With a skilled operator, Russian-built patrol craft armed with Sunburn antiship missiles would be a significant threat to any seagoing adversary. The boat's high navigation characteristics allow it to use weapons in stormy weather with wind force 5 and ensures safety in the sea with wind force 8. Thanks to its sophisticated weapons, high running features, the boat can control a total area of water up to 5 thousand square nautical miles. The boat's speed is up to 38 knots, sailing range up to 2,400 miles, crew 44 members.

The missile boat of Project 1241.8 has been developed on the same basic platform as the Project 1242.1 boat. It differs from the predecessor by the missile armament only: it carries 16 Kh-35 [SSN-X-25 Switchblade] missiles of the Uran-E system instead of 4 missiles of the Moskit-E (SS-N-22 Sunburn) system. The Uran-E missile characteristics are similar to those of American Harpoons, but the missile boats of Project 12418 carry twice more missiles on board. The boats can be delivered to customers one year after signing a contract.

Vympel Joint Stock Shipbuilding Company (JSSC), based in the Volga River city of Rybinsk, is one of central Russia's largest shipyards specialising in series production of various types of river- and sea-going ships boats intended for diverse applications. At present the company serially builds boats up to 1,500 tons displacement intended for domestic and foreign customers both in naval and civil sectors. On of the major types of the vessels built by Vumpel is the Project 1241.8 Molniya Missile Boat.

In addition to the pilot Molniya boat undergoing tests at the Black Sea base of Feodosia, the shipyard has made four others which already have potential buyers. Vympel can only sell its patrol craft to foreign buyers since it is unlikely the Russian navy will procure new equipment in the near future.
In January 1999 it was announed that Vympel and Rosvoorouzhenie were to deliver two Project 1241RE missile boats to Vietnam. The frigate will come in versions which include a powerful gunboat, a patrol ship, a plane shooter and a hunter for submarines.

The pilot ship of the series is already under construction for Vietnam. The frigate's streamlined hull and low-profile superstructure provide an excellent hiding envelope for everything that generates noise or heat, reflects radar pulses or disturbs magnetic fields. Moreover, the superstructure can be coated with stealth materials that make it invisible to radars.

Propelled by two powerful water jets, the ship can race across shallows at over 30 knots. Big fuel tanks and fuel-saving diesel engines allow it to carry out missions at up to 3 thousand nautical miles from home base. Despite the displacement of just 545 tons, the frigate carries a formidable array of weaponry on board. This includes eight Kh-35 [SSN-X-25 Switchblade] anti-ship cruise missiles with a range of over 130 kilometers, two torpedo tubes, several anti-aircraft missile batteries of the VIKHR-K and IGLA makes and a number of large-caliber machine-guns.







Vympel Joint Stock Shipbuilding Company (JSSC),

Displacement (tons):

550 tons full load

Speed (kts):

38 knots (full)

knots (economic)

Dimension (meters):

56.1 meters long

10.2 meters beam

2.65 meters draft


gas turbine power plant Power, hp 32,000

Propellers 2 x fixed pitch








  • 4 Moskit SS-N-22 Sunburn Cruise Missiles, 2 x 2 launchers [Project 1242.1]

  • 16 Uran-E SSN-X-25 Switchblade [Project 1241.8]

  • 8 Uran-E SSN-X-25 Switchblade [Project 1241 RE]

  • IGLA -1M AD missile system (12 missiles)

  • Guns:

  • 76 mm AK-176M Gun Mount 1 x 1

  • 30 mm AK-630M Gun Mount 2 x 6

  • Antisubmarine:



  • HF and UHF radio communication aids

  • navigation radar

  • radio direction-finder

  • satellite navigation set

  • air/surface target detection radar

  • fire-control radar for cruise missiles

  • fire-control radar for gun mounts

  • decoy dispenser system (2 x PK-10)

  •, YouTube/saragon1988


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