The Russian amphibious assault fleet uses the Polish Ropuchy i.e. Project 775 amphibious assault ships

Formerly the Northern Shipyard, now Remontowa Shipbuilding – this shipyard was responsible for the construction of the Soviet project 775 landing ships during the Cold War. They eventually came into the hands of the USSR, then Russia, although one example was also in the Ukrainian Navy until the annexation of Crimea, and even… South Yemen, although this particular vessel sank in 2018 as a cargo ship. These “Polish Toads”, as they were called in the NATO code, are still part of the Russian amphibious assault fleet.

Polish Toads i.e. the project 775 amphibious ships have decades on their necks but have remained without major modernization

It all started in the 1970s, when the core of the USSR fleet consisted of medium-sized landing ships of the projects 770, 771 or 773. These were not only designed, but also produced in Poland, and therefore, of course, our country was responsible for a worthy successor. Thus, the project was born 775 landing ships, which were developed and built in the former northern shipyard in Gdańsk. In the end 28 units were made, 27 of which were in the hands of Russia, although most have now been withdrawn from service and therefore “only” five of them are in Odessa in Ukraine.

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The first ship went into service in 1974, but the shipbuilders’ production efforts didn’t just end with bending steel and erecting beams. In fact, Project 775 got a total of three faces. The first version (Project 775/I) gave life to 15 ships that entered service from 1974 to 1988, but three Project 775/II and ten Project 775/III ships were also under development during these years. The latter are also referred to as the 775M project and also called Toad II, which was chosen primarily to emphasize their origins.

This explains why the Polish Toads initially fell under the category of medium amphibious ships and were marked with the SDK. Then they changed the markings to BDK, and this was related to the decision made in 1983, which redesigned and especially increased them so much that their displacement increased four times (to 4,400 tons for full and 2,900 tons for standard). The modernization also affected the width, which increased from 9 meters to 15 meters, while the length remained at 112.5 meters.

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Returning to the Toad versions themselves, in the second version the radar was replaced by a newer one (Pozitiw), and in the third, instead of two 57mm AK-725 guns, there was a single universal AK-176 76mm cannon in the turret for the superstructure and two artillery sets AK-630M for direct defense with MR-123 radar Wympieł. For self-defense, the ships also carry two quadruple Strieła-3 short-range anti-aircraft missile launchers with a reserve of 32 missiles, and the same number of twenty-gun Grad-M unguided missile launchers with access to 160 missiles.

However, these are not the ships that do the most damage, but only land landing troops escorted by other more destructive ships. Therefore, we should be most interested in the landing possibilities of our Polish Toads.

What Can Project 775 Landing Ships Do?

As you can see from the photos, Toads with a fully covered deck running the length of the hull are an example of ro-ro ships, which is common on cargo ships. At the same time, it is difficult to call them particularly innovative, because in practice the general architecture of these ships is … typical, as befits landing ships.

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For example, we see the rising foredeck, the door at the bow and the superstructure that occupies the central nave and the stern, which explains the reinforcement of the bottom in the bow section and the ballast tanks. The aforementioned opening gate hides two ramps (the main and the reserve), on which the troops can go down or down after reaching the shore. The ships owe their propulsion to two 16 ZVB 40/48 diesel engines, which drive two propellers with their combined power of 19,200 hp. Thanks to them, they can reach speeds of up to 33 km/h, but then they lose their range, which can reach up to 11,112 km at a speed of 23 km/h.

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In practice, up to 10 tanks or armored personnel carriers can be on board thanks to two sections of the hold, successively 55 × 6.5 meters and 40 × 4.5 meters, which are 4.5 meters high. In the case of humans, the ship can simultaneously carry 340 troops ready to land (including tanks), while the crew itself is 87 sailors, including a total of 8 officers. Other configurations list 12 BTRs and the same number of troops.

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