Border Patrol Boat AK-223 - Project 1204 “Shmel” (USSR)

Border Patrol Boat AK-223 - Project 1204 “Shmel” (USSR)
«Border Patrol Boat AK-223 - Project 1204 “Shmel” (USSR)»

The first river artillery boats (armored boats) were developed in 1935 for actions on rivers, lakes and sea shallows. The tank gun turrets, the armored car machine-gun turrets and rocket weapon (the “Katyushas») were mounted on them. During the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 the armored boats were com¬missioned to the river and lake flotillas.

In the late 1950's — early 1960's. the Soviet Union had ceased designing new artillery armored vehicles. But in 1965, the Navy together with Minsudproma approved the design task river gunboats (ACA) of the project in 1204 (code "Shmel" (Eng: Bumblebee)). With all of this all are in service with the BCA in 1965 were also reclassified AKA, almost becoming the founders of the "new" subclass combat boats. It was designed for patrol duties on rivers and lakes, vessels and boats combat sweep, artillery shooting assistance for ground forces; troops with armament carrying during crossing and acting in river basins; largely unsuitable for open seas operations, but can be used for protecting harbors and acting littoral and shallow-water seas areas.

Head boat Project 1204 (Shmel class — as litsezreem, Western designation coincided with a real cipher) was built in Kerch at the shipbuilding factory "Zaliv" (Eng: The Bay) in 1967. It was built 118 artillery armored gunboats by the project 1204 from 1967 until 1974 in total.


AK-223 was laid down at Shipyard named after 61 Communards in Nikolaev. Commissioned on June 22, 1969.


  • Speed: 24 knots
  • Range: 320 nautical miles (10 knots), 240 nautical miles (20 knots)
  • Autonomy: 7 days
  • Crew: 14 men (1 officer)


  • Displacement: full load - 71 tonnes
  • Length: 27,4 meters
  • Beam: 4,32 meters
  • Draft: 0,85 meter


  • 1x1 76-mm PT-76B artillery mount
  • 1x2 25-mm 2M-3M artillery mount
  • 1x1 7,62 mm SGMT – with D-56TS
  • 1x17 140 mm rocket launcher BM-14-17 – 34 rounds OF-949
  • 4x130 mm grenade launchers BP-30 Plamya
  • 4 mines UGDM or 10 mines YaM

Photo #211 taken on May 01, 2014 during tour of open-air Weaponry and Fortification Exposition in Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill with my dear client from Spain, Carmelo Gonzalez Santana

About Me in Short

Guide, Driver and Photographer Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

See you in Moscow!