Project 234 Torpedo Boat, UTK - Shipbuilding Dead End

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Project 234 Torpedo Boat, UTK


UTK in Leningrad fitting out

Coastal vessel, a large and fast torpedo boat, has rather poor armament for its size

In 1934, the naval engineer Valerian Brzezinski proposed a concept for a multirole ship, able to quickly swap its equipment into the roles of a torpedo boat, patrol boat, and minelayer/sweeper. The Navy approved the idea, now designated Project 234, and the task was given to the TsKBS-1 design bureau (under Brzezinski himself) and the No.194 A. Marti shipyard in Leningrad. A notable feature of the project was the use of light high pressure once-through boilers, the same concept as on the Project 45 destroyer Opytniy, which would allow it to have a high speed. In 1937 the design was approved and work on the ship began, being named the UTK, standing for “Universal’niy Turbininiy Kater” (Universal Turbine Boat). The ship initially had 3 main configurations, A: a torpedo/patrol boat with a triple 533mm torpedo tube, B: a mine ship with sweeping and laying equipment, and C: an artillery boat with a 152mm Kurchevsky recoilless rifle, this idea would be dropped after Kurchevsky’s arrest and execution in 1937.

Unfortunately, the use of once-through boilers would like Opytniy, doom the project. As the Kirov plant where the boilers were built lacked equipment to test them, they had to be first installed on the ship, where during testing poor welding caused the tubes to crack. Additionally an automatic control system to regulate the boilers had to be built, but no adequate one was created. By 1941 the ship had been more or less completed, but the inability for the boilers to be put in usable condition prevented it from being commissioned. During the war it was evacuated to the No.340 shipyard in Zelenodolsk, where it waited out the war. It was returned to Leningrad in 1946, and while post-war period advances in welding and such had allowed it to be completed, the concept and design was thoroughly obsolete. Gas turbines and powerful diesels replaced any need for steam engines on small ships, so it was decided it was not worth the extra cost to complete it and the ship was cancelled in 1951 and broken up.

Specifications: (Project)

1x1 45mm 21-K
2x1 12.7mm DShK
1x3 533mm Torpedo tubes

168t standard
200t full

Length: 37.2m

Beam: 6.39m

Draft: 2.5 m

Propulsion: 2 geared steam turbines with 2 Ramzin once-through boilers, 12 000 hp, driving 2 shafts

Speed: 40 knots (74.1 km/h)

Range: 667nmi (at 20 knots)

Crew: unknown



Budzbon , P. Radziemski, J. Twardowski, M. (2022) Warships of the Soviet Fleets 1939–1945 (Kindle, pp. 341). Pen and Sword.