Tapir-class landing ship

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Nikolay Filchenkov in Sevastopol, 2007
Class overview
Succeeded byIvan Gren class
In commission1965–present
Laid up1 (claimed)
General characteristics
TypeLanding ship, tank
  • 3,400 tons standard
  • 4,360–4,700 tons full load
Length112.8–113.1 metres (370–371 ft)
Beam15.3–15.6 metres (50–51 ft)
Draft4.5 metres (15 ft)
Propulsion2 diesels, 2 shafts, 9,000 bhp (6,700 kW)
Speed16–18 knots (30–33 km/h)
Capacity1,000 tons
Troops300–425 troops and 20 tanks, or 40 AFVs, or 1,000 tons
  • Missiles: 1 × 122 mm naval Grad bombardment rocket launcher in some, 3 × SA-N-5 SAM positions in some.[1]
  • Guns: 1 dual 57 mm/70 cal DP, 2 dual 25 mm AA in some.[1]

The Soviet designation Project 1171 (Tapir-class) landing ship (NATO reporting name: Alligator) is a class of Soviet/Russian general purpose, beachable amphibious warfare ships (Soviet classification: large landing ship; Russian: большой десантный корабль, БДК).


In Soviet post–World War II analysis of amphibious operations, the recommendation was made that the Soviet Navy should start building dedicated amphibious ships. Among the first ships, launching in 1967, was the Polnocny class of medium landing ships, whose 900-ton vessels could transport six tanks and 180 troops.

Saratov in Sevastopol, 2007

A newer type of amphibious warship followed in the late 1950s, a true Landing Ship, Tank (LST) that was named Project 1171 and also called Tapir. Labelled "Large Landing Ship", her displacement was 4,360 tons full load and could transport up to 313 troops and 20 tanks. Additional vehicles could be stored on the upper deck. NATO gave these ships the code name "Alligator", and several subtypes were created.

The design of Project 1171 was initiated in 1959 by the Navy, while a similar dual-purpose Project 1173 was ordered by the Ministry of the Maritime Fleet. Eventually both designs were merged under the Project 1171 umbrella, and the resulting vessel was a compromise between military (speed, survivability) and civil (fuel economy) objectives. The design team produced four different configurations; the Navy selected the most powerful and fastest option, which was also the least fuel-efficient, while the Ministry of the Maritime Fleet withdrew from the project completely. All production ships were made for the Navy and never operated on shipping lines.[2]

A total of 14 vessels were completed between 1964 and 1975; all were retired between 1992 and 1995.[2] As of September 2008, two vessels, currently named Orsk and Saratov, were in active service with the 197th Brigade of Landing Ships in the Russian Black Sea Fleet.[3] As of March 2014, Saratov and Nikolay Filchenkov were in service with the 197th Brigade of Landing Ships in the Black Sea Fleet, Nikolay Vilkov was in service with the 100th Brigade of Landing Ships in the Russian Pacific Fleet, and Orsk was inactive and undergoing refits.[4]

Saratov (BDK-65) was launched in July 1964, commissioned in 1966 as Voronezhsky Komsomolets. As a lead ship of a formation, she lacked the habitable troop compartments installed on other ships of the class. Saratov was stationed in Donuzlav (Black Sea Fleet) until the dissolution of the Soviet Union and then remained mothballed in Odesa until 1994. The ship was reported in active operations in 2000 and later.[5]

From 2013 on, Nikolay Filchenkov and Saratov were used to transport military equipment from Novorossiysk to Tartus in Syria, during the Russian military intervention in the Syrian civil war, along with Ropucha-class ships.[6]

Orsk (BDK-69) was launched and commissioned in 1968 as Nikolay Obekov. She served a total of 11 campaigns in the Indian and Atlantic oceans and the Mediterranean. Later, under the Russian flag, she carried troops and materials to Yugoslavia, Adjara, and Abkhazia.[7] In 2018, the vessel was seen transporting Russian equipment to Syria.[8] On 21 March 2022, she appeared in Russian TV reports unloading military equipment in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian port of Berdiansk,[9] which led to initial confusion when her sister ship Saratov was destroyed three days later at the same place.

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Battle of Berdiansk, Saratov was reported as destroyed by a Ukrainian attack on 24 March 2022 while in the port of Berdiansk.[10] Video showed a large fire, smoke, and explosions, with one explosion engulfing the bow of the ship.[11][12] The ship was originally reported as having been Orsk, but the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces later reported that Saratov had been destroyed, and two Ropucha-class ships, Tsezar Kunikov and Novocherkassk damaged.[13] Russian sources confirmed a missile attack on Berdiansk harbour (without clarification of missile type), which damaged two landing ships—Saratov and unnamed one, as well as sinking Saratov.[14] On 2 July 2022, Russian official in southern Ukraine Vladimir Rogov confirmed a Tochka-U ballistic missile was used back on 24 March to target the Port of Berdiansk and that Saratov was scuttled by her crew in order "to prevent detonation of the on-board munitions by the fire that had started". There are no Russian reports publicly available as to the extent of damage to the ship, but Russian sources state she was salvaged and was to be towed to Kerch, Crimea.[15]

Ships of class[edit]

Name Type In service Status
Saratov (BDK-65) 1171 18 August 1966 Sunk or scuttled on 24 March 2022 in the Port of Berdiansk after sustaining missile damage during operations against Ukraine.[16]
Krymsky Komsomolets (BDK-6) 30 December 1966 Decommissioned on 19 March 1992, scrapped in 1995
Tomsky Komsomolets (BDK-13) 30 September 1967 Decommissioned on 5 July 1994
Komsomolets Karelii (BDK-62) 29 December 1967 Decommissioned on 1 December 1997
Sergey Lazo (BDK-66) 1171/II 27 September 1968 Decommissioned on 5 July 1994
Orsk (BDK-69) [ru] 31 December 1968 In service
50 Let Shefstva VLKSM (BDK-77) 1171/III 30 September 1969 Decommissioned on 5 July 1994
Donetsky Shakhtyor 31 December 1969 Decommissioned on 10 April 2002
Krasnaya Presnya (BDK-100) 30 September 1970 Decommissioned on 30 June 1993, sold to commercial service, sunk in a storm on her way to be scrapped in 1995
Ilya Azarov (BDK-104) [uk] 10 June 1971 Acquired by Ukraine on 10 January 1996 as Rivne (U762). Decommissioned and used as a civilian freighter in 2004 before being scrapped in 2007.
Aleksandr Tortsev 31 December 1971 Decommissioned on 5 July 1994
Pyotr Ilyichyov 29 December 1972 Decommissioned on 30 June 1993
Nikolay Vilkov [ru] 1171/IV 30 July 1974 In service
Nikolay Filchenkov [ru] 30 December 1975 In service
Nikolay Golubkov - Never completed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Polmar, Norman (1991). Guide to the Soviet Navy (5th ed.). Naval Institute Press. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-87021-241-3.
  2. ^ a b "1171 Тапир". Encyclopedia of Ships (in Russian). Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Alligator Class – Project 1171 Tapir class Alligator". GlobalSecurity.org. Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  4. ^ "1171 Tapir /Alligator class large landing ships". Russian Military Analysis. Archived from the original on 1 December 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Большой десантный корабль "Саратов"" [Large landing ship Saratov]. kchf.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  6. ^ Kubiak, Krzysztof (2017). "Syryjski ekspres". Raport-WTO (in Polish). No. 4. p. 48. ISSN 1429-270X.
  7. ^ "Большой десантный корабль "Орск"" [Large landing ship Orsk]. kchf.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  8. ^ -YouTube. YouTube. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Assessing Russia's first major naval loss of the war in Ukraine". Navy Lookout. 28 March 2022. Archived from the original on 2 April 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  10. ^ "Russian warship destroyed in occupied port of Berdyansk, says Ukraine". BBC News. 24 March 2022. Archived from the original on 24 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  11. ^ Mcilkenny, Stephen (24 March 2022). "Ukraine conflict: Large Russian ship, the Orsk, destroyed by Ukrainian military – reports". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 24 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  12. ^ Smith, Hannah (24 March 2022). "Russian Navy Ship Destroyed After Propaganda Footage Gave Away Its Location". UNILAD. p. 1. Archived from the original on 24 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  13. ^ "General Staff update: Not Orsk but Saratov landing ship destroyed at Berdiansk Port". Ukrinform. 25 March 2022. Archived from the original on 25 March 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  14. ^ Kots, Andrey (4 April 2022). "Какое оружие Россия впервые применила на Украине" (in Russian). RIA Novosti. Retrieved 1 January 2024. Двадцать четвертого марта ВСУ выпустили ракеты по порту Бердянска, повредив два больших десантных корабля. На БДК "Саратов" разгорелся сильный пожар, в результате его пришлось притопить у причала. Фактически этот обстрел — единственный более-менее значимый успех украинских военных в противостоянии с российским флотом. [On March 24, the Armed Forces of Ukraine fired missiles at the Port of Berdyansk, damaging two large landing ships. A strong fire broke out at the large landing ship Saratov, as a result she had to be flooded at the pier. In fact, this strike is the only more or less significant success of the Ukrainian military in the confrontation with the Russian fleet.]
  15. ^ "Russia salvages landing ship hit by Ukraine missile fire". BBC News. 2 July 2022. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  16. ^ Newdick, Thomas (24 March 2022). "Russian Landing Ship Destroyed In Massive Explosion In Captured Ukrainian Port City". The Drive. Retrieved 25 March 2023.

External links[edit]

Media related to Voronezhskiy Komsomolets class landing ship at Wikimedia Commons