Russian cruiser Moskva

Soviet, then Russian guided missile cruiser

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Moskva (121)
Russian cruiser Moskva.jpg
Moskva seen from the air in 2012
History
Soviet Union → Russia
NameSlava (in Soviet service) Moskva (from 2000)
NamesakeGlory (1979–2000), Moscow (2000–2022)
Builder61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant (SY 445), Nikolayev, Soviet Union
Laid down1976
Launched1979
Commissioned30 January 1983
DecommissionedSeptember 1990
ReinstatedApril 2000
Identification121
FateSunk on 14 April 2022[1]
NotesFlagship of the Black Sea Fleet
General characteristics
Class and type Slava-class cruiser
Displacement12,490 tons
Length186.4 m (611.5 ft)
Beam20.8 m (68.2 ft)
Draught8.4 m (27.6 ft)
Propulsion4 COGOG gas turbines, 2 shafts 121,000 shp (90,000 kW)
Speed32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)
Range10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement510[2]
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Voskhod MR-800 (Top Pair) 3D search radar
  • Fregat MR-710 (Top Steer) 3D search radar
  • Palm Frond navigation radar
  • Pop group SA-N-4 fire control radar
  • Top Dome SA-N-6 fire control radar
  • Bass Tilt AK-360 CIWS System fire control radar
  • Bull horn MF hull mounted sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • Rum Tub and Side Globe EW antennas
  • 2 × PK-2 DL (140mm chaff / flare)
Armament
ArmourSplinter plating
Aircraft carried1 Ka-25 or Ka-27 helicopter

Moskva (Russian: Москва, lit.'Moscow'), formerly Slava (Russian: Слава, lit.'Glory'), was a guided missile cruiser of the Russian Navy. She was the lead ship of the Project 1164 Atlant class and was named after the city of Moscow. She was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and had led Russia's naval assault on Ukraine.[3][4] With a crew of 510, she was a major symbolic and military asset to Russia.[5]

On 13 April 2022, two Ukrainian officials said that Moskva had been hit by Ukrainian R-360 Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles and was on fire in heavy seas. The Russian Ministry of Defence reported the ship was seriously damaged after a fire which caused a munitions explosion. The next day, following an effort to tow her to port, Moskva sank.[6]

History

Slava c. 1983

As Slava

Slava was laid down in 1976 in Shipyard 445 of the 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant in Mykolaiv, Ukrainian SSR, launched in 1979, and commissioned on 30 January 1983. Between 18–22 November 1986, the ship visited the Greek port of Piraeus.

Slava played a role in the Malta Summit (2–3 December 1989) between Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George H. W. Bush.[7] She was used by the Soviet delegation, while the US delegation had their sleeping quarters aboard USS Belknap.[8][9][10] The ships were anchored in a roadstead off the coast of Marsaxlokk. Stormy weather and choppy seas resulted in some meetings being cancelled or rescheduled, and gave rise to the moniker the "Seasick Summit" among international media. In the end, the meetings took place aboard Maxim Gorkiy, a Soviet cruise ship anchored in Marsaxlokk Bay.[11]

Slava returned to Mykolaiv in December 1990 for a refit that lasted until late 1998.[12]

Moskva in 2009
Moskva in 2012

As Moskva

Recommissioned as Moskva in April 2000, she replaced the Kynda-class cruiser Admiral Golovko as the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.[13]

In early April 2003, Moskva, along with Soviet frigate Pytlivyy, Smetlivy, and a landing ship departed Sevastopol for exercises in the Indian Ocean with a Pacific Fleet task group (Marshal Shaposhnikov and Admiral Panteleyev) and the Indian Navy.[14] The force was supported by the Project 1559V tanker Ivan Bubnov and the Project 712 ocean-going tug Shakhter.

Moskva visited Malta's Grand Harbour in October 2004, and the Ensemble of the Black Sea Fleet performed at a concert at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta for the occasion.[15] In 2008 and 2009, she visited the Mediterranean and participated in naval drills with the ships of the Northern Fleet.[16][circular reference]

In August 2008, in support of the Russian invasion of Georgia, Moskva was deployed to secure the Black Sea.[17][18] During a brief surface engagement, the Georgian Navy scored one missile hit on Moskva before being overwhelmed.[19] After Russia's recognition of Abkhazia's independence, the ship was stationed at the Abkhazian capital, Sukhumi.

On 3 December 2009, Moskva was laid up for a month at floating dock PD-30 for a scheduled interim overhaul which comprised replacement of cooling and other machinery, reclamation work at bottom and outboard fittings, propulsion shafts and screws, clearing and painting of bottom and above-water parts of the ship's hull.

In April 2010 it was reported that the cruiser would join other navy units in the Indian Ocean to conduct exercises.[20] In August 2013 the cruiser visited Havana, Cuba.[21]

In late August 2013, the cruiser was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in response to the build-up of American warships along the coast of Syria.[22] During the 2014 Crimean Crisis, Moskva was responsible for blockading the Ukrainian fleet in Donuzlav Lake.[23]

On 17 September 2014, she was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, taking shift from guard ship Pytlivy.[16][circular reference]

In July 2015, she visited Luanda, Angola, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between countries.[24] From the end of September 2015, while in eastern Mediterranean, the cruiser was charged with the air defences for the Russian aviation group based near the Syrian town of Latakia that conducted the air campaign in Syria.[25] On 25 November 2015, after the 2015 Russian Sukhoi Su-24 shootdown, it was reported that Moskva, armed with the S-300F surface-to-air missile system,[26] would be deployed near the coastal Syria-Turkey border.[27] In 2016, she was replaced by sister ship Varyag in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.[28] On 22 July 2016 Moskva was awarded the Order of Nakhimov.[29]

Upon return from her deployment in January 2016, the ship was to undergo a refit and upgrade but due to lack of funds her future remained uncertain as of July 2018.[30]

In June 2019, the cruiser left the port of Sevastopol in the Black Sea where she would run tests on several combat systems and the main propulsion.[31]

On 3 July 2020, Moskva completed repairs and maintenance which would allow her to remain in service until 2040.[32] The first post-repair exit to sea was scheduled for August 2020, however in reality she only began to prepare for the deployment in February 2021.[33][34] She was reported on exercises at sea in March 2021.[35]

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Attack on Snake Island

Ukrainian postage stamp, depicting a Ukrainian soldier giving Russian cruiser Moskva the middle finger, issued two days before she sank.[36][37]
Moskva at Sevastopol port on 7 April 2022, one week before sinking.

In February 2022, the cruiser left Sevastopol to participate in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[38] The ship was later used against the Ukrainian armed forces during the attack on Snake Island, together with the Russian patrol boat Vasily Bykov.[39] Moskva hailed the island's garrison over the radio and demanded its surrender, and was told "Russian warship, go fuck yourself". After this, all contact was lost with Snake Island, and the thirteen-member Ukrainian garrison was captured.[40]

Hit and towing

On 13 April 2022, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych and Odesa governor Maksym Marchenko said that Moskva had been hit by two Neptune anti-ship missiles and was on fire in rough seas.[41] At least two of the missiles are then reported to have struck the ship – causing a massive explosion and inferno as they are believed to have detonated one of Moskva's exposed deckside missile tubes.[42]

The missiles were apparently launched in or near Odesa at Moskva located 60 to 65 nautical miles offshore.[43] The cruiser was equipped with a triple-tiered air defence system that if operated properly should have given it three opportunities to defend itself from a Neptune missile attack.[44] Ukrainian sources reported that the attack was supported by a Bayraktar TB2 combat drone, which distracted the Russian ship's defences. The missile was fired from a land based launcher near Odessa. [45][46][47] On 14 April, the Ukrainian Southern Command claimed that Moskva had capsized and was beginning to sink.[48]

Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas claimed that a distress signal had been sent from the ship shortly after it was hit.[49][50]

On 14 April 2022, US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said that imagery showed the ship had suffered a sizable explosion and a subsequent "significant fire". The cause of the explosion was not clear. The sailors on board the ship were transferred to other ships. Moskva, with fire on board, appeared to be headed towards port in Sevastopol for repairs,[51][52] and it was unclear whether the vessel was moving under her own power or being towed.[53]

The Russian Ministry of Defence said that a fire had caused munitions to explode, and that the ship had been seriously damaged and the crew fully evacuated, without any reference to a Ukrainian strike.[54][55][56] The ministry added on 14 April that the missile systems of the cruiser were undamaged, the fire was contained by sailors, and that efforts were underway to tow the ship to port.[46][57]

Sinking

Later that day, the Russian Ministry of Defence stated that Moskva had sunk while being towed during stormy weather.[5][58] If Russian claims are true, then this is the first time a Black Sea flagship was destroyed by accident since 1916, when the battleship Imperatritsa Mariya exploded.[7]

If Ukrainian claims are correct, the sinking is a significant event in naval warfare. The ship had a displacement of 12,490 tonnes, making it the largest[45] warship to be sunk since World War II by enemy action.[59][60] The last time a ship of similar size was sunk was the cruiser ARA General Belgrano, which was sunk by the Royal Navy during the Falklands War.[61] It would also be the largest Russian ship to take damage from an enemy since 1941, when the Soviet battleship Marat was attacked by German forces.[7]

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that the way the Moskva saga "has unfolded is a big blow to Russia", forcing "Moscow to choose between two stories. One story is that it was just incompetence, and the other is that they came under attack. And neither is a particularly good outcome".[62] In contrast, Russian military analyst Alexander Khramchikhin stated that the ship was quite old and "It has more status value than real combat value, and in general, had nothing to do with the current operation. It will have no effect on the course of hostilities."[7]

References

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External links

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