Končar-class missile boat

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RTOP-21 Sibenik.jpg
Šibenik (RTOP-21) of the Croatian Navy. Note that unlike other Končar-class ships, Šibenik is armed with two RBS-15.
Class overview
Builders: Tito's Shipyard Kraljevica, Kraljevica, SR Croatia
Operators:  Croatian Navy
 Montenegrin Navy
Succeeded by: Kralj class
In commission: 1977–present
Completed: 6
Active: 3
Laid up: 3
General characteristics (as completed)
Type: Missile boat
Displacement: Full: 271 t (267 long tons)
Length: 44.9 m (147 ft 4 in)
Beam: 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in)
Draft: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Propulsion:
Speed:
  • Maximum: 38–40 knots (70–74 km/h; 44–46 mph)
  • Cruising: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Endurance: 5 to 7 days
Complement: 30
Armament:

The Končar-class is a class of six missile boats built for the Yugoslav Navy during the late 1970s at Tito's Shipyard Kraljevica, SR Croatia. The boats featured a mixture of Western and Eastern equipment, including Soviet anti-ship missiles and Swedish guns.

During the Croatian War of Independence one ship, Vlado Ćetković, was captured by Croatian forces while being overhauled. It was eventually commissioned with the Croatian Navy as Šibenik and is still in use. The remaining five ships were relocated to Montenegro, entering service with the new FR Yugoslav Navy, with three of them being decommissioned in the early 2000s. The last two ships of the class are planned to be modified as patrol boats for service with the Montenegrin Navy.

Description[edit]

The Končar class was developed by the Brodarski institut (BI) from Zagreb. The six-strong class was built at the Tito's Kraljevica Shipyard from 1977 to 1979 with all six ships being named after People's Heroes of Yugoslavia. The ships measure 44.9 m (147 ft 4 in) in length, with a 8.4 m (27 ft 7 in) beam and 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in) draught. The hull, similar to the Swedish Spica class, is made of steel with an aluminium superstructure. Fully loaded they displace 271 t (267 long tons) and are manned by a crew of 30.[1][2]

The class utilizes a CODAG engine configuration for propulsion. Mounted on four shafts, two MTU 16V 538 TB91 diesel engines are used for economical cruising while two RR Marine Proteus 52 M gas turbines are used for achieving high speeds. Cruising speed is 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) while the maximum achievable speed is 38–40 knots (70–74 km/h; 44–46 mph). Travelling at a near maximum speed of 38 knots, the ships have a maximum range of 380–490 nautical miles (700–910 km; 440–560 mi). Powered by diesel engines only and travelling at a speed of 22–23 knots (41–43 km/h; 25–26 mph) they have a range of 780–870 nautical miles (1,440–1,610 km; 900–1,000 mi), with exact numbers varying from source to source.[1][3][4] Endurance is between five to seven days.[3][5]

Gun armament of the class consists of two Bofors 57 mm (2.2 in)/70 Mk1 gun mounted on the bow and towards the stern. During the development phase, the designers planned on using French Exocet anti-ship missiles as the class's main weapon system. However, due to the high price the French asked for the missile, possibly because of political reasons, the project was changed and two Soviet P-20 (SS-N-2B) were used instead. Self-defense measures include two Wallop Barricade chaff launchers.[6][1]

Ships[edit]

Name Pennant number[7] Namesake Builder[2] Launched[8][1] Commissioned[8][1] Fate
Rade Končar RTOP-401 Rade Končar Tito's Shipyard Kraljevica, Kraljevica, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia 16 October 1976 April 1977 decommissioned; fate unknown[9]
Vlado Ćetković RTOP-402 Vlado Ćetković 20 August 1977 March 1978 In service with the Croatian Navy[4]
Ramiz Sadiku RTOP-403 Ramiz Sadiku 24 April 1978 September 1978 scrapped[10]
Hasan Zahirović-Laca RTOP-404 Hasan Zahirović-Laca 9 November 1978 December 1978 decommissioned; fate unknown[9]
Jordan Nikolov Orce RTOP-405 Jordan Nikolov Orce 26 April 1979 August 1979 In service with the Montenegrin Navy[11]
Ante Banina RTOP-406 Ante Banina 23 November 1979 November 1980 In service with the Montenegrin Navy[11]

Service[edit]

Aft section of Šibenik. Two RBS-15 launchers and the AK-630 CIWS are visible.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s Rade Končar and Vlado Ćetković underwent a modernization program which included removing the stern 57 mm Bofors and installing a Soviet AK-630 CIWS. At the start of the Croatian War of Independence, Vlado Ćetković was captured by Croatian forces in Šibenik while being overhauled. It was commissioned with the Croatian Navy on 28 September 1991 as Šibenik (RTOP-21). Sometime between 1991 and 1994 Šibenik underwent a refit that included removing the P-20 launchers and installing two mounts for up to four Swedish built RBS-15 anti-ship missiles. As of 2014 Šibenik is in active service with the Croatian Navy.[1][9][5]

The rest of the class remained in hands of the Yugoslav Navy. On 6 October, Hasan Zahirović-Laca along with the Koni-class frigate Koper (VPBR-32) took part in the Battle of Zadar. Croatian coastal batteries in the area operated two captured Bofors 40 mm (1.6 in) guns with only one of them being in position to open fire on the ships. The initial five to six rounds fired at Hasan Zahirović-Laca missed their target, after which the gun malfunctioned. After a quick repair, the missile boat was targeted again, with three rounds hitting the stern section and causing no damage because the gun crew didn't have armor-piercing ammunition at their disposal.[12]

Two Končar-class missile boats also took part in the Battle of the Dalmatian Channels. Jordan Nikolov-Orce, operating under the codename "Parak", and Ante Banina, under the codename "Pakra", were members of the tactical group "Vis" which was tasked with enforcing a naval blocade of the city of Split and the surrounding islands.[13] With the Yugoslav Peoples Army endings its campaign in Croatia, all ships of the class, excluding Vlado Ćetković, were relocated to Montenegro where they were commissioned with the new FR Yugoslav Navy of Serbia and Montenegro.[9]

During the 1990s the major overhaul of Ramiz Sadiku was stopped; the ship was decommissioned and eventually sold for scrap. Rade Končar and Hasan Zahirović-Laca were decommissioned in 2006 with their final fate unknown as of 2014.[9] In 2013, the Ministry of Defense of Montenegro issued the Strategic Overview of the Defense of Montenegro (Strategijski pregled odbrane Crne Gore) in which it was stated that until sufficient funds to acquire new patrol boats were made available, the Montenegrin Navy would modify two Končar-class missile boats, RTOP-405 and RTOP-406, for use as patrol boats.[11] In February 2014 it was revealed that the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense chose the Brodarski institut from Zagreb to create the project documentation for the modification of the missile boats. As planned, the boats would be stripped of their missile launchers and the aft Bofors gun to allow a rigid-hulled inflatable boat[14] to be carried.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Books
News reports
Other sources