On 13 April, Ukrainian sources say they struck the Russian cruiser RFS Moskva with two Neptune anti-ship missiles in the Black Sea. The Russian Ministry of Defense subsequently admitted there was a fire on board, crew being evacuated and ultimately the ship had sunk under tow. Here we look at the background and implications of this action.
The Black Sea Fleet flagship
Moskva was a 12,500-ton cruiser built in Mykolaiv, Ukraine for the Soviet Navy in the late 1970s. She was conceived essentially to lead surface action groups as a ‘carrier killer’ intended to attack NATO carrier strike groups in the open ocean. In this role, her primary armament was 16 very heavy supersonic anti-ship missiles. She was one of three Slava class cruisers completed before the collapse of the Soviet Union. (A fourth uncompleted hulk still languishes in Mykolaiv). Her sisters, RFS Marshal Ustinov of the Northern Fleet and RFS Varyag of the Pacific Fleet were sent to the Mediterranean in preparation for the invasion of Ukraine in an effort to deter any NATO surface units that may attempt to intervene.
The Slava class are very handsome ships and to the casual observer, their obvious heavy armament appears to exude power. When they entered service they were certainly formidable, but 40 years later they have not received significant modernisation and their weapon and sensor fit is very outdated. Russia’s over-reaching naval ambition is not matched by its limited warship construction capacity which was further damaged by the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014 where marine engines and other critical components for its navy were manufactured. There was no hope of replacing the Slava class with modern cruisers and Moskva completed a refit in 2020 that was supposed to extend her in service until 2040. (Had she not suffered this premature demise, she would have been a 61-year-old museum piece when finally retired).
The Slava class have three layers of air defence that theoretically should be capable of dealing with multiple missile attacks. 64 S-300F (NATO reporting name Grumble) area air defence missiles are carried in VLS cells amidships. 2 OSA-MA point defence missile systems (NATO reporting name Gecko) are mounted on the stern. The final layer comprises a total of 6 x AK-630 CIWS (6-barrelled 30mm Gatling guns). None of these systems could be described as modern. The distinctive dome-shaped 3R41 Volna fire control radar for the S-300F has only a 180º field of view and is antiquated when compared with Western equivalents.
At this stage, it cannot be said with total certainty that the destruction of the cruiser was caused by missiles but the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. Notably, Ukrainian military sources claimed with some detail they had mounted a missile attack on the Moskva some considerable time before the Russians admitted the ship had “suffered a fire”. According to the Ukrainians, the attack was carried out using two domestically-produced Neptune missiles and a Turkish-made Bayraktar UAV to “distract” the radar operators. The Bayraktar may have been used to provide targeting information but its role in deception would be hard to quantify. The weather conditions at the time were not especially favorable, thought to be sea state 3 with wave heights that produce clutter on legacy radars, potentially reducing the ability to detect sea-skimming missiles.
RFS Moskva was seen leaving Sevatapol (with her pennant number painted out) on 10th April after presumably returning for a brief resupply stop. Since the war began, Black Sea fleet units have been observed by OSINT sources operating in a predictable pattern off the coast of Odesa and near to Snake Island. Moskva was involved in the infamous shelling of Snake Island on 24 Feb when the defenders politely declined when offered the option to surrender by the invaders. Besides availability for gunfire support, Moskva’s role may have been acting as a command ship for operations in the Black Sea as well as providing air defence to assault ships loitering off the coast. A measure of complacency may have crept into Russian naval operations, given that after 48 days of war, the Ukrainians had not succeeded with a successful anti-ship missile attack on them.
The RK-360MC Neptune is based on the Russian Kh-35U missile (NATO reporting name Kyak) and has been in development by the Luch Design Bureau since 2013, first successfully tested in 2018. Deliveries of the system intended for coastal defence, were only made in 2021 and there has obviously been limited time to fully train with the weapon. The claimed attack on the frigate RFS Admiral Essen on 4th April may have been one of the first attempts to use the Neptune in combat. The system has a range of up to about 280 km and used an active radar seeker head for guidance. Either the UAV, coastal radar or possibly targeting data supplied by NATO may have been used to pinpoint the position of the cruiser before the Neptunes were launched. Should the location of the target be known very accurately before launch, then the missile can be programmed to fly an indirect course, using waypoints and only activating the radar for the terminal phase of the attack in order to minimise detection time by enemy electronic countermeasures systems.
There are obviously no reliable details about what happened if and when the missiles struck the cruiser, but both Russian and Ukrainian sources agree there was a large fire and explosions. Given the circumstances, it would seem unlikely that this was a random accident, although such catastrophes are not unheard of in the Russian military. A few warships have suffered serious (peacetime) fires at sea but it’s unheard of for the ship to sink as a result. What seems more plausible is that two modern sea-skimming missiles either evaded detection and/or defensive systems and struck the ship, causing fires and detonating munitions on board. The 16 P-1000 Vulkan missiles loaded with rocket fuel and 1000 kg warheads that line the sides of the Slava class appear vulnerable to secondary detonation even if struck by splinters. The large magazine for the 64 S-300F missiles behind the funnels, an early example of a vertical launch system, could also represent a major explosive risk if penetrated by a sea skimmer.
The sinking of the flagship and largest ship in the Black Sea fleet, named after Russia’s capital city, represents more than just the loss of a military asset. This is a symbolic defeat that the Russian state propaganda will have difficulty explaining away. It is probable that many sailors died, potentially the biggest single casualty inflicted by Ukraine in the war so far. In historic terms, Moskva’s sinking equals the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano as the largest warships lost in combat since the second world war.
While Putin may not care much about the deaths of several thousand of his men on the battlefield, losing major warships that cannot be replaced starts to have broader strategic implications. The Russian army has already proved more inept and vulnerable than many analysts believed it to be before the war. The destruction of the cruiser casts doubts on the capability of the navy and further undermines the perception of overall Russian strength.
A large surface combatant would be expected to be able to protect itself from an attack by two relatively small, subsonic missiles but effective defence requires constant vigilance by a trained and motivated crew, as well as capable equipment that is constantly maintained. There is always an element of luck that may play a part, but it seems likely Moskva’s destruction was down to poor performance, poor equipment or a combination of both.
With the Bosphorus closed, there is no possibility of replacing the Moskva with one of her two sister ships. The Navy will be forced to operate much further from the southern coast of Ukraine where it can have less influence and this is the final nail in the coffin of any ambition to mount an amphibious assault. Naval commanders will feel less secure in operations, crews more nervous and further damage done to the fragile morale of Russian participants in an increasingly desperate war.
There might be some sympathy for ordinary Russian sailors trying to survive the horrors of a burning ship but it must be remembered they are reaping what they have sown, part of an invasion force that has committed large-scale war crimes in Ukraine including murder, rape, looting, and forced deportation of civilians. Attacks by cruise missiles, including those launched from naval platforms, have been used against civilian targets including hospitals. Further destruction of the Black Sea fleet can only help the Ukrainian cause and help put an end to Putin’s war as soon as possible.
So, sub sonic ASuW can be deadly – who would have thought! Challenges notion from some that RN should take a lethality gap until late 2020s. A volley of harpoons would be difficult for any warship to deal with. RN must retain the capability.
Apologists for the bean counters will soon be along to tell you that SSM’s, sonars and ship launched torpedoes on ships plus data links in helicopters and long range AAM’s, heavyweight ASM’s, HARM’s and stand off land attack missiles on F35’s are all superfluous. They’ll point out the operational brilliance of us Brits in avoiding spending money on these useless systems when every other navy has wasted its money fitting them.
Quin claimed last year the planning assumption was that FC/ASW would be in service in 2028 and it would take until 2027 to get the “interim” SSGM onto the Type 23s as his justification for cancelling the latter. I believe every single word.
Even though the suppliers of the Israeli Sea Serpent said they could get it on to our ships by the end of next year, and I believe them (they did the equivalent even faster in Singapore), I agree it would take the MoD until 2027. I’d even believe that the planning assumption is still that FC/ASW will be in service in 2028, despite the fact that it has been announced that it won’t be.
That’s how little I think of DE&S planning. It must be so frustrating for anyone who works there.
If I understand right FC/ASW will be fired from the Mk 41 VLS on T26.
I’d therefore buy tube launched missiles for the T31 and T45 (8 on each) which don’t have the Mk41. That way we get some hulls with SSM’s and the investment isn’t wasted as they are a permanent part of the ships inventory
None of the 12,000 people at DE&S work. They collect their vast pay packets whilst waiting for their pension worth over £2m. When people say defence needs more money there is 1.2Bn of annually recurring staffing cost which could be reappropriated to buy equipment that our military desperately needs.
Far from the truth. Bet you’ve never even been there.
I’ve not been to Abbey Wood, but I’ve worked with plenty of departments and they are all the same. Fecklessness and flexitime. And we see the results in the billions wasted in virtually every procurement. The only ones they don’t fck are the ones which are fully foreign purchases which result in fewer British Jobs.
Departments eh? Which ones? That characterisation of “fecklessness and flexitime” does not ring true with the people I’ve dealt with. Let alone “vast pay packets” and £2M pension pots.
I’ve seen some DE&S cockups but I can at least see why they’ve happened. Which bits of DE&S have you dealt with?
I won’t answer that in a public domain…. Maybe I have been unlucky and just dealt with the D teams…
You seem so bitter against your ex colleagues.
I wonder why?
I’ll admit that a final salary pension pot is worth a great deal.
I never encountered that attitudes you profess to have?
There is annual recurring staff cost but that is an inevitable part of running any organisation.
Note the issue is that Abbey Wood got thinned out too much in some areas due to lack of projects and progress. Specialists are just that and need to be stretched and kept up to date.
Twelve thousand people working in procurement and they still can’t get it right….
They are not buying cans of tomatoes?
The ‘customer’ is often not that switched on and in my experience the senior ‘customer’ is usually a big part of the problem….this cannot fail……errrr it has failed….but can’t say that.
A awful lot of things are got 100% right and costed amazingly well. There are things you would be stunned how cheap they were: I was.
A small % of very expensive clusters, rightly, attract attention.
There are a lot of lines to purchase.
How many people work in Tesco doing something massively simpler without things that go bang, warships, tanks and nuclear thingies?
The other salient thing to consider is that due to low production volumes a lot of systems are close to one off and so are very hard to get right in B1.V1.
More than just ‘procurement’
This is what they say at DE&S
“We are responsible for:
Ha far more! I take it all back….
Said to be Moskva
Ship sunk but these photos are faked.
Apparently was very rough seas around time of hit and the sinking.
Haha, i guess you are being sarcastic.
The superstructure is all wrong too. The funnels are further back again from forward superstructure
This is actual photo in Bosporus a year ago from a similar rear 3/4 view
Theres 3 blocks , the forward the mid and the rear block with hangar
What you talking about? The superstructure is correct, the bridge is masked by smoke.
It is the same ship! Jesus Russia only has three cruisers, well two now.
It’s a pastiche. They just don’t have a picture of actual ship sinking so they use online tools to make up one. The mast in front of the funnel is behind in the image. The two forward fuselage blocks have been made into one and smoke is used to blur the image. Remember the HMS Sheffield pictures had very dense smoke. I wouldn’t normally have bothered looking more closely as the ship did sink and what did it matter ,but a few days before ago sawr picture of ship from the front quarter and thought it was too fake to be true
If they photoshopped the image to show it sinking, then they would have used a real photo of a Slava class as a starting point… So I’m not sure how you think they would end up with the ship not looking correctly laid out… Why would they start with a real photo of a ship and then modify it in a way that changed the layout when they didn’t need to make it look like it was sinking… That would be an obvious giveaway if they were trying to pass it off as a genuine photo of the Moskva listing after the fire.
The only other reasonable explanation would be to completely render the image from a 3D model of the ship etc, but 1) that’s SO much more effort & requires more time, 2) Still usually looks fake and 3) For the ship to be laid out incorrectly, still requires them to have got the model wrong (which doesn’t make sense for the effort they went into for all the tiny details and the quality of the rendering.
Also, the argument that 1 picture of smoke doesn’t look like another doesn’t really hold water. The density, volume and colour of the smoke will change based on WHAT is on fire, and how intensely the fire is still burning. Seems likely that the famous pictures of HMS Sheffield were taken while the ship was still burning intensely below decks, but that picture of the Mosva appears to be post-blaze (at least the main blaze), based on the scorch marks further aft where the fire is extinguished by that point.
My theory is that the picture belongs to the fourth unfinished Slava, the “Ukainya”. That probably was sold to Russia that then, used that empty structure as target in firing exercises with artillery and missiles.
There are many parts missing on the superstructure. As it has been prepared for sinking.
It is just an idea. 🙂
No, it was sea state 3 at most when the ship was hit, there was no ‘storm’, choppy seas at best & this picture is clearly taken somewhat later, given the salvage tug Shakhter is pictured nearby.
IF they are faked, it’s very well done, even the life rafts are missing from where they are usually kept on either side of the hangar, and the hangar itself is left wide-open as if they had both been deployed in evacuating the ship in a hurry and hadn’t taken the time to close the doors again.
As to the sea state issue, I initially had the same thought, but all we actually know is that it was reportedly sea state 3 (wave heights of only 0.5 – 1.25m, what would be described as “slight”) when the vessel was hit, and then it was reported as “choppy” when it finally sank undertow.
It seems like the photo was taken at a point where there are some fires still burning in some areas and there is fire damage on other areas and the ship had already taken on a list to port.
My guess would be that the photo was taken after the main fires burnt out, but before the ship went undertow (as opposed to after being towed), shortly after the recovery tug arrived. It’s quite plausible that the seas were calmer during this period and then got heavier during towing (or that report was a lie to give an excuse for why the ship eventually sank while under tow).
RN needs to fast track a purchase of LRASM.
Which is what ? The Ukrainian Neptun.
The Neptune system is of very similar to the Harpoon and is oftern called Harponski and still seems to work extremely well I just wonder why the RN is taking our Harpoons out of service and leaving a “capacity gap” till the 2030’s ish I would of thought that it is better to have than have not.
I don’t understand removing the harpoons – at worst they could easily sink a transport, amphib, or second rate frigate, destroyer etc. or distract, overwhelm an area defence vessel.
It seems, however, they would probably have been good enough to sink a cruiser!
It would seem to be a no-brainier to spend a modest amount updating the harpoon to bridge the capability gap. Existing infrastructure, training, support…
How vulnerable would any warship be if attacked by say 8x Spear3 (including one or two jammer variants) and a couple of Harpoon missiles, all timed to arrive simultaneously.
Much more important to spend £250m on a national ship. How on earth can you think that SSM’s are more important to our defence that some cocktail parties?
Politics isn’t like the Navy. It’s drinking onshore that can get you into trouble. Allegedly.
Contravening rules you had put in place yourself and sold to the public as preventing mass deaths is what gets you into trouble. Not drinking.
It is called hypocrisy.
Yes. Good point. I will beat myself with birch twigs for even entertaining such a notion.
Hi Armchair, in many ways I agree. If anything I am a bit dumbfounded. Harpoon has gone through several versions and upgrades. So as an example in 2018 Mexico ordered Harpoon Block II for their new Sigma frigates. The US after positive trials of the Block II+ in 2017 are updating all of their Block IC to II+. The Royal Navy has the Block IC which can be upgraded to II+ alongside the US upgrade thereby reducing cost and having a Anti Ship Missile until out new superduper flying sticks come along. The II+ seems to have a reduction in range but inflight targeting dat links and improved GPS systems. Possibly we could even go a bit further and get the Block II+ER. This missile has been tested. So we could with no major alteration to the ship, its power supply of handling procedures, we know how Harpoon works get an anti ship missile that is modern that could be fitted to our T45s and T31s for about 60% of an all new missile.
I like your idea of a combine strike of the smaller Spear 3 and a Harpoon, however, the Spear 3 is an air launched missile so it would mean fitting them to Wildcats and or Merlins. As for EW versions of a Spear 3, possibly a small EW jammer drone could be better as it could return to the ship. I have often thought that it might be a good idea to launch older dumb missiles to saturate a ships defence systems then follow it up with the main strike.
As for the sinking of the Moskva, what a moral booster for the Ukranian armed forces sinking a ship named after the capital city of your enemy. I just hope that Putin does not try to get revenge with missile attacks on civilian areas, the Ukranian civilians or POWs.
Rest assured Russia will get revenge, they play very dirty games. They could be a great force if not for the mass incompetence!
It’s not because our Harpoons are obsolete; primarily its because they’re nearing expiry. Explosives and jet engines all need constant maintenance, but eventually components and chemicals get too old and potentially unstable to risk carrying on a ship that will likely be shot at and possibly hit.
Our Harpoons are Block 1C versions from 1985…they are pretty obsolete even compared to Ukraines Neptune. Mainly in terms of attack profiles and guidance systems
I’m aware they’re obsolete, but if that was the only reason they’d still be better than nothing. The main reason they’re being retired is because they’re judged not safe and reliable enough for service.
Neptune is nowhere close to obsolete. It’s based on an old missile, but the electronics are new. It only entered service 4 years ago.
There is a manufacturer upgrade kit to bring the ones we have up to the latest standard.
Does this kit include everything though? The RN Harpoon 1C are very old. Updating the electronics won’t help expired explosives or propulsion fuel. The 1C model was manufactured for a considerable time. Late production 1C – ok, early production 1C? – not so sure. There comes a point where it’s cheaper to buy new.
An alternative may be to buy 2nd hand. Australia has announced it is acquiring NSM sooner than expected (2023ish). RAN currently uses Harpoon Block II. No upgrading required, comes with canisters & electronics included for 11 ships worth (could fit to T31/T32). It still would be interim, but existing Harpoon equipped ships get newer missiles & ships not currently equipped, could be. Might even make T31 sort of useful (along with say 12 CAMM-ER to go with the 12 CAMM).
They have no ability to discriminate targets in a littoral environment.
The newer ones do and can be fed targeting data from Mother.
I got into trouble for having the temerity to suggest, on here, that the newer Blocks had very much improved electronics.
You know the Boeing Israeli collaboration…..
Mind you I haven’t heard from the lovely Ron since…..he seems to have gone to ground…..
Hi SB, not gone to ground, fighting the big C, major op coming up. I’m still alive but not kicking to much.
It wasn’t you I was having the ding dong with it was the ‘much loved’ Ron5!
Good luck with the op.
Because aren’t they at the point where the chemicals are out of data and possibly other bits, I’m sure it’s possible to damage your own ship, misfire or whatever. Also the govt wouldn’t be insured in a health and safety sense if they blew there own frigate up using out of date missles and killed load of good lads
Not sure it’s just like driving an old banger without a service
As far as I can tell, the Royal Navy’s harpoons are still the ones that they purchased in the late 1980s, making them over 30 years old.
There’s the obsolescence argument, a drum Navy Lookout keeps banging on which mostly revolves around the missiles guidance and sensors not being very resistant to jamming, or even being able to discriminate (preferred) targets from other ships (which can be a bit of a liability). And then there are other things like data links, mid-course guidance that’s accurate to modern standards etc. Things you would expect from a guided weapon these days. These pretty much render them obsolete against anything with a vaguely modern defence system, even passive countermeasures would be very effective against them.
This in itself isn’t a reason to remove the missiles from service, unless you were very concerned about collateral damage. And anyway, there are “kits” available to upgrade these parts, but it’s not a great solution, and these upgrade kits don’t come cheap as they replace most of the expensive bits in the missile and would cost at least half as much as buying completely new missiles. Considering these refurbished missiles will have a shorter life span, and be less effective while being more costly to maintain, it doesn’t seem like a good value option.
The other thing is safety. Not only do things corrode faster when they’re at sea (because of the salty air & spray), but even in a warehouse, the fuel and explosives in missiles will break down over time and could either just not work properly when needed, or at worst possibly catch fire or explode onboard ship. So that would all need periodically replacing. Then there is the airframe and engines etc, which need to be (dismantled) checked & tested, none of which comes cheaply (because you’re dealing with explosives etc). After a point, it’s just too much of a money drain, and they’re too much of a liability to try to keep in service when you could just buy new ones.
Can you guess why the USA deemed it necessary to fire 59 large Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian Airbase in 2017, just to destroy 9 aircraft and 1 SAM battery…?
The missiles had reached the end of their shelf-lives and they had the choice of either a) very expensively refurbishing them (which are always going to be more costly than new missiles to maintain), b) safely disposing of them in the US (which isn’t all that cheap either) or c) Find a target you can just about justify attacking, load all the missiles that are about to expire onto a couple of destroyers and launch them into Syria to “dispose” of the missiles while making a statement at the same time and let the Syrians bear the expense of cleaning up all the mess.
Which leads to the “capability gap”. I think the plan to replace the missiles got kicked down the road as part of the austerity measures to try to pay off some of the national debt so we’d be paying less in interest overall (the same thing the UK did following both world wars), and perhaps they were also hoping that it would be another government’s problem by the time Harpoon had to be retired (a problem pretty much all democracies face as short-term gains, which leads to reelections, are more attractive than long-term planning, and as terrible as the CCP is, it’s an advantage autocracies have). Anyway, once the estimates came in for the stop-gap missile systems and the cost of buying enough anti-ship missiles for just 3 ships was £250m or about the same as buying an entire Type 31 “frigate” when that money could go towards buying more of the new ones we’re developing or an extra Type 32 etc.
I’d also argue that there is less of a capability gap than most (I hate calling them “armchair admirals”) “enthusiastic amateurs” who have a tendency to focus on single issues and therefore reduce things down to top-trumps… In this case, decry the Royal Navy as “unable to sink ships” because they’re focusing just on anti-ship missiles when we have some very good submarines with very potent torpedos, which have always been the best weapon to sink ships.
3x Harpoons hitting a ship with no defensive weapons (so probably requiring a salvo of at least 8-16 missiles to hit something like a destroyer… Assuming the crew isn’t incompetent and not paying attention, or the equipment actually works)
A single torpedo will sink almost anything except an aircraft carrier and even something like a Slava class (like Moskva) has very little defence against such an attack.
Just noticed your post. I have commented further up, suggesting that RAN Block II’s might be an option (changing to NSM starting 2023). That’s 3 destroyers & 8 frigates worth of Harpoon Block II missiles & equipment, none of which is reusable for NSM.
Yes, I agree with you. A single high power torpedo can sink a Slava class.
And it is very easy. Ukraine has atack alreaddy Belgorod oil tanks with a couple of HCs.
In the same way, they could have used Hcs ASW with one or two torpedos. One attack in the middle of the night an still using the drones to keep the radar operators busy while the HCs were getting closer in a veryh low flight and drop their torpedos at a short distance…
Imaage of a Lightweight torpedo from Northrop Gruman Albatros.
Putin’s release to state media:
“I make special military submarine operation to turn cruiser into victorious under sea vessel and kill all the Nazi Ukrainian undersea enemy peoples! Glory to Russian Navy, strongest in world”
Model is available
And he got it with flying colors!
The UK Treasury will maintain that the time of the large surface warship has passed, as they are now too vulnerable to anti-ship missiles and drone attacks. Similar arguments are already being made about the efficacy of tanks in land warfare.
Whats the answer? Duplication of both sensors and close-in weapons systems is essential; ships should never be reliant on a single vulnerable point. Defence is needed against multiple and repeated attacks by subsonic and supersonic missiles, as well as less lethal threats such as multiple small missiles and swarming drones. This multiplicity of required defences points, paradoxically, towards larger platforms that can defend themselves.
You’re right. They will. We should probably get rid of soldiers too as they get shot
Absolutely. It seems to be forgotten that an attack on USS Mason by two SSM’s in 2016 was successfully fought off with both missiles shit down. Modern radars, weapons, ECM and well trained crews are what’s needed.
2 SSMs???? Over 3 days it had 9 Surface to Surface Missiles fired at it ? mostly C-802s IIRC
Over a four day period, USS Mason was attacked three times by Noor anti-ship missiles (Iranian copies of Chinese C802, which are copies of Exocets). Of those 9 at least 4 flew into the sea. The remaining 5 were either shot down, detonated against decoys or were spoofed by ECM. The US Navy are still being very tight lipped over whether they were actually shot down by the ESSMs and SM2s fired by the Mason. Phalanx apparently was not used in any of the attacks.
The Mason didn’t have TLAM, so another destroyer USS Nitze fired its TLAMs at the C802s search and tracking radars. Just goes to show that a ship must not only be able to defend itself, but just as significantly must be able to go on the offensive!
But the point being that nothing got close enough for Phalanx to engage it?
But the bigger point is that the tech edge needs to keep being enlarged.
The reason all of those missiles were defeated was the tech of countermeasures was better than that of the missiles.
The Chinese are not stupid and do have more of a mid tech electronics industry than Russia has.
Some of it may be that the Iranian copies used inferior electronics or programming to the Chinese version. But I do believe the ship’s ECM did a very big number on the C802s. The USN clearly won’t say too much on the ship’s ECM effectiveness, nor how the ESSMs or SM2s actually performed. But I’m pretty certain the RN have that information, perhaps even the rest of NATO.
But I agree, there must be a rolling program to keep the tech fitted to a ship up to date. Otherwise, it will quickly become vulnerable. The Moskva is a prime example. On paper the ship’s S300 (SA-N-6) and OSA-M (SA-N-4) should be able to protect the ship from anti-ship missiles. However, the S300’s Top Dome radar has a known low level tracking issue. The Slava class only have one tracking radar, which is mounted on the hangar. Leaving a dead zone over the ship’s frontal arc.
The two OSA mounts fire control radars also do not provide a full coverage over the ship’s frontal arc. The missiles that the OSA system use are command guided, which means the target must be continuous illuminated by the tracking radar for the system to work out the interception. Therefore, if the ship does a drastic course change, it could loose lock, or if the the anti-ship missiles (ASMs) flew low near choppy seas it could also loose lock. As the system uses a pop-up twin rail launcher, how quickly can it be replenished, if the first two missiles miss?
The AK603 CIWS has a greater effective range than Phalanx, but it looks like the two port and stbd MP-123AM2 fire control radars have a dead zone towards the ship’s rear. These radars have been in use since the 1970’s, though they have been updated a few times. They are the standard continuous wave radars used for pretty much all fire control radars and are likely to use the X-band for tracking targets. In theory the AK603 should have been able to track the ASM’s from at least 7km away and close to sea level.
According to the bumpf, a Neptune coastal battery has one truck with four missiles along with a command unit and a radar truck. It is designed to hit targets within 25km. Though with course correction updates it can engage targets nearly 300km away. The Moskva is possibly the second Russian ship hit by the missiles with the frigate Admiral Essen being the other one. The question would be if the Moskva was within 25km of the coastline, did the battery only fire two missiles at it. Though the Ukrainains have alluded to a TB2 also being used, which might have been able to identify the ship and relay course corrections. If all four were fired, did two get shot down leaving a clear path for the other two, as the ships combat management couldn’t handle it? Russian ships have notoriously bad information management and integration. The plethora of independent radars for various weapons systems is a very good indicator at the lack of integration. Also, the large crew size is another indicator of how antiquated the ship is.
Re USS Mason, Australian Defence Minister was very upbeat on the performance of Nulka at the time, without actually saying anything one way or the other.
I understand the Slava class was originally built in Ukraine. Considering their lack of upgrades, the Ukrainians probably know them better than the Russians do.
I understood that 4 missiles were fired but only 2 hit. I wouldn’t take that to the bank though.
On that basis you would get rid of all armed forces as everything is vulnerable!
People, tactics and kit.
If you don’t have the best people you won’t be able to use or execute the best tactics which makes the best kit moot.
The Ukrainians are doing very well with mid level kit. The other advantage of mid level kit like MANPADs is that they are not a concentrated high value target.
A big blow for the Russian side. Like the Russia land forces it appears their naval forces look impressive but fail to perform in battle. The loss of this ship has underlined that Putin’s war is now having global power projection implications for Russia.
The RN had some serious losses in the Falklands too against elderly fighter bombers and also ASM. Of course eventually prevailing meant the RN problems were glossed over and Phalanx etc was the fix.The later successful hit on the USS Stark in the Gulf shows that defences against ASM especially are far over rated , considering the crew who operate them get complacent.
The RN in the Falklands was the same as the RN today; woefully under armed thanks to bean counters.
The T42 had been designed to a policy of “minimum effectiveness” so despite being an AAW ship had no low level AAW weapons. Sheffield was also badly handled with her radars off to use satellite communications during the day when other T42’s only did that at night when the air threat was lower. She also ignored warnings and did not fire chaff unlike HMS Glasgow.
All but two of our frigates were equipped with an already obsolete SAM as their only serious anti-aircraft defence.
In terms of defences being overrated, I think as the article says it depends on the equipment and crew. In 2016 the USS Mason had no difficulty shooting down 2 SSM’s fired at it and in 2003 HMS Gloucester shot down an SSM fired at USS Missouri.
T42 was too small even in B3 form.
All navies were caught between the troffs and peaks of the technological tide. Sea Mouse was dire, and Sea Wolf Mod 0 absolutely brilliant. But the latter was new tech. You can’t just apply that across a fleet in an instant for all the reasons you know. Much the same could be said about the concept of CIWS. It was still new.
The RN’s problem was two fold. It invested deeply in the idea that is was now a mid-ocean ASW force only. And consequently did not see air defence as a priority. It would be either pop of a Soviet MPA or be sunk in a barrage of missiles from a regiment of bombers.
Where the RN went wrong was it dropped the radar laid gun too soon. Compare T42 to its Italian contemporary.
As I’ve commented before, and don’t really want to debate it again, radar controlled guns of that era didn’t really perform as advertised against fast aircraft and bombs.
There was a project to marry up 30mm with Sea Wolf control systems but this was dropped in favour of Co development of the Dutch 30mm CIWS system.
That and Phalanx were the state of the art at that point.
It is accepted fact, by anyone who worked with it, that phalanx was not reliable until the late 1980’s.
Things are different now and longer ranges, programmable boosted ammunition and frankly amazing control systems make radar controlled guns super effective at quite long ranges.
Yeah Phalanx Block 0 was bad…with a 30min reload. I know the RN had Block 1B for the Type 45s but I can’t find info on if the RN had upgraded to basic Block 1 from Block 0…wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t because of penny pinching
Yes they upgraded almost all of them now.
That was publicly declared.
If you look back in this site there is a detailed article about it.
Cool 🙂 thanks
AA radar guns performed well in WW2 but not in 1980 the usual RN sycophancy of SB…
Put the record away: it is getting worn.
The current radar guided guns with programmable boosted rounds are top notch.
The speed and G envelope of jets hasn’t changed that much since the 80’s but gun and aiming technology has.
However the speed and G envelope or jests changed massively between 1940 and 1980.
Ridiculous. A kamikaze could go to 5-600kph and an A4 full of bombs would not be much faster at LL, to not even talk about Aermacchis.
45 years lasted from 1945 to 1980…
A Styx missile were destroyed by one of first models of Oto Melaras (80rpm?) in 2nd Latakia battle for example.
Royal Navy with late WW2 destroyers in Falklands would have much better defence and much more lives saved than with Type21, Leanders, because of pathetic RN leadership infatuation with missiles.
We’re you there?
Have you ever fired a vintage AA gun at a tracking/flanking target?
Have you tried a range of missiles against the same target types?
Have you analysed the comparative results?
If you want to satisfy you insatiable lust I suggest you take a gander down to Kew and have a look there at all the declassified records there of post ‘82 testing. You might learn something.
So your argument is that you have been in all wars in last 100 years so you can comment… What kind of silly argument is that?
You continue to peddle the RN leadership behaviour protecting their asses, that only after 1982 the guns started to work again. There was a magical iatus where the gun from 1946 to 1981 did not worked.
Despite everyone except RN putting in their ships and working…
Poor Harriers even had a no fly zone around dual 35mm Argentinian guns due to their danger…35mm Oerlikon is just equivalent to a dual Bofors that RN had many in WW2 and could have evolved for modern times like Italians did with Dardo’s.
From Sweden , to Italians, to Americans , to French, to Soviets, to Germans, to Dutch, everyone put AA guns in their ships.
But the Royal Navy are the smart one with more than 5 ships sunk and damaged by iron bombs/rockets dropped by just over flying their ship 40 years after WW2.
Since when did US put light AA guns on their warships? The 76 mm was usually a replacement for the 5 in gun
Garcia types, 2 x5in or 1 x 5 in and 1 SM-1
Knox class 1 x5 in
Perry class 1 x 76 mm
The bigger ships were
Leahy-Belknap class 2 x 3in twin removed in 70s but kept 1x 5in
Spruance class 2 x 5 in, same for Ticonderoga
Burke class 1 x 5 in.
. Italy yes had a history of a 5 in plus 76 or 40 mm
Talking about Perry with 76, the US was also developing the Phalanx. You can be sure that RN only bought the Phalanx after Falklands disaster, otherwise everything would still be dandy.
It was bitterly noted by some gunnery types at the time, the recently scrapped Darings had far more AA capability than the latest Type 42’s.
3x twin 4.5” Mk 6’s with a director capable of tracking fast movers, and 3 x twin 40mm powered mounts.
Everyone in RN leaderships at the time had been drinking deep of the missile kool aid for a decade. See the utterly useless Country Class Destroyers with the even more useless Sea Slug SAM.
Almost every ship in the Sound at San Carlos had a twin or single 4.5 in with a radar tracking system for AA fire
The 4.5 was not really made for AA fire. And i doubt looking at lack of believe that RN had on guns there was any significant training for that propose.
Sea Slug was useless but was a rare system, the worst culprit was Seacat. That is what blocked Royal Navy mind for a decade being put in everything afloat but not being functional. But they could claim to have a SAM so it was all good even if it did not work…
Slug and Cat were totally useless.
Everyone knew that at the time.
Hence my often made point about getting rid of fig leaf systems to focus resources on things that work.
BS – the OTO Fast 40 was quite capable of shredding any aircraft inside items engagement envelope.
It was denied in favour of the never saw the light of day lightweight Seawolf which was going to be an all British steely finger of death,
Sea Wolf lite was a good solution.
The problem was the weight and size of the thing. I would not fit onto T21 etc.
In those days the computers really did need a computer room and not a small one. And were very heavy.
Easy to forget that when your laptop has the processing power to do the same.
Big change happened when Ford Aerospace developed the 40mm L70 Proximity Fuze Ammunition in 1978. Until then the smallest was the 57mm Bofors and various 76mm guns. The in the late 1980s 3P programmable rounds were developed by Bofors for their Sea Trinity CIWS aka Bofors Mark 3
40L70 already had proximity fuze ammunition in service 1975 with PFHE ammunition. A development was set up shortly after to adapt the fuze to be better against sea skimming missiles instead of aircraft, that was PFHE mk2. The Italian dual Bredas with fiber glass turret were operational in 1978.
NIH meant we couldn’t but a proven OTS shelf system.
In the mod 70’s, the RN wanted to replace its manual Bofors guns with radar directed 40mm OTO Fast 40’s. Bean counters announced missiles were the thing. And here we are 45 years later, going to fit radar directed 40mm automatic Guns.
Swarms of fast attack boats and drones have changed things
You will still find a missile system is the primary aerial defence system, not the guns
As well as massive improvements in programmable ammunition and radar/computer CMS systems.
The fast 40’s of the 70’s cannot be compared to the current breed of systems.
That is sort of true.
The issue was that the radar controlled 40mm were not that reliable. There is a lot of electronics in one of those. And 70’s complex electronics were nothing like today’s solid state systems.
Just as Phalanx wasn’t that reliably. Ask anyone who deal with early phalanx units what a pain they were.
The development trajectory of missiles was overestimated.
Sea Wolf was on the drawing board and was designed and eventually was a very superior system. Which effort was, rightly, put into.
RTN10X was conical scan director of early 76 Oto and Breda 40.
A 76 Oto downed a SS-N-2 Stix in 2nd battle of Latakia in 1973.
There is a good English Google Book about a person that worked on it with Italians.
RTN20X was a monopulse director for 1980 Breda 40 it
is a modern director.
All of them good systems, RTN 20X still in operation and the RTN 10X still was soldiering on in first decade of XXI century, and in many ships that were modernised was not replaced.
But different when you have T45 with a mix of Aster 15/30 doing short and long range as well as CIWS. Three layers.
T23 with Ceptor and 30mm two layers
T31 with Ceptor 40mm / 57mm three layers
T26 with Ceptor 30/40mm and whatever is in the VLS
It is the offensive punch that I can’t figure out.
If T31 had a VLS as well as T31 abs maybe T45 then I can see it being a very heavy hitting fleet.
If we buy some missiles!!
Or am I missing something?
I think you’re spot on mate.
We’re strong in ship based AAW other than T31 which only has 1 but weak in carrier based AAW whilst ever F35 is only armed with ASRAAM
In ASW we have some excellent platforms (TASS equipped T23, Astute, P8 and Merlin) and some useless ones (T45 and T31).
It’s power projection we lack:
No ship launched land attack missiles
No stand off anti-ship or land attack missiles on the F35
And soon to have no ship launched SSM’s.
I should have said well protected in ship based AAW with the exception of TBMD capability
Our AAW ship needs protecting from ASW and ASuW (Namely gunnery duels vs other ships…they can sail in freely with no SSMs to determine them now)…independent operations is a no no 🙁
Our F35Bs are armed with ASRAAM and AMRAAM C-7 or D. Not until we get the Block 4 version can they use Meteor and Spear 3 etc.
Agreed with what you are saying but if we did do some upgrades then do this.
T23 Ceptor, 30mm with LMM/Starstreak, SeaRAM on the heli hanger possibly in the same location of the old SeaWolf tracking radar. Now you have four layers.
T31, Ceptor, 57mm, 40mm it looks like two 30mm mounts will be added so they could have the LMM/StarStreak and again a Sea RAM on the hanger replacing the current location of the 40mm. The 40mm guns to be placed port/starboard corners of the hanger and the 30mm midships. Thats now five layers or air defence. I really would like to see 24 Sea Ceptors for the T31 and two blocks of eight Mk41s. If the Mk41s are not available then possibly use the SYLVER A 50s from the T45s when they are decommissioned.
T26, these would need no alteration but I would add the LMM/StarStreak to the 30mm mounts and possibly quad pack Ceptor ER into one eight block Mk41s.
T45, remove the 4.5 inch and replace with 57mm. install 24 Ceptors, remove ASTER 15 and replace with ASTER 30. Build a small housing above the hanger for SeaRAM, add LMM/Star Streak to the 30mm. Five layers of defence. I do wonder sometimes if it would be better for the T45 to move the CIWS to the location of the 30mm and then install the 40mm in the location of the CIWS.
If we could then give our surface combat ships 8 land attack/long range anti ship missiles say 100-500nm and 8 shorter range missiles 50-120 we would have a small fleet but one that would in the name of Jackie Fisher, hit first, hit hard and keep hitting.
Yes I know money and bean counters, then again when I think of the money wasted on PPE or track and trace it would cover the cost of these improvements to the fleet making it more combat ready. What MPs forget is that when a ship of the Royal Navy goes to sea she must be ready for war. So to all MPs give the ships the tools to do the job or don’t ask them to do it.
Does anyone else have five layers of defences?
The reason I ask is that the software would be pretty hellish as there are so many overlapping priorities/ranges/
The T31 setup is pretty simple
Longer range Ceptor
Mid range 57mm
Short range 40mm
I don’t really see what adding Sea Ram has over Ceptor. Ceptor is actually cheaper per shot. More Ceptor would do the same job better & cheaper?
Also with it surface to surface mode Ceptor has a longer range than LMM with the benefits of commonality and depth. Just need to make sure there are enough on board. As I see it that is a better use of resources to increase numbers of Ceptor on board.
The announced plans for T45 already involves getting rid of Aster 15 and going all Aster 30 with Ceptor for the short range stuff. So that is in the works. I think the 4.5” -> 57mm conversion is likely *if* we get an AShM as otherwise T45 won’t have any surface to surface hitting power.
I believe Radakin has spoken about adding Mk41s to the T31.
Type 45 they’ve already announced
• adding 24 Sea Ceptors
• replacing the Aster 15s – they might upgrade them to the Aster 30 by replacing the booster
• upgrading the Aster 30s to B1 standard to give defence against SRBMs.
No news yet on the 4.5” gun. Either replacing with a 5” as planned for commonality with the T26, or replacing with the 57mm for commonality with the T31, should be done. It’s possible they’re hoping to eventually replace it with Dragonfire.
Slight correction…3 Frigates had Seawolf in 1982..HMS Broadsword, Brilliant and HMS Andromeda…Seawolf/Exocet Leander which was on carrier protection duty the whole time. As I stated in a separate comment USS Mason had 9 SSMs fired at her over 3 different days. HMS Gloucester engaged a Seersucker (Styx/Silkworm Variant) The Type 42 DDGs had the awefull type 965 Radar which was an antique by 1975. HMS Exeter had much more Sucess as she was a Batch 2 Type 42 with the new Type 1022 search radar
The T22 had pulsed Doppler radar. T22 was the real deal and was, one the Wolf software was enhanced, very capable.
The T21 with Wolf lite didn’t have pulsed Doppler and relied on a less than amazing mash up. M
I agree that 965 was pretty useless and it was surprising something so awful was being fitted to new build destroyers. Radar 965 was more of a problem than almost anything else on T42 B1.
T42 was a strange backwards exercise from T82 Bristol in how to make a lot of ships very cheaply. Except as with all such exercises you end up with expensive hard to maintain undersized ships.
Type 21 had GWS 24 Seacat controlled by the decent Orion RTN 10X fire control Radar. The Radar performed well in the conflict but Seacat was a point defence Missile being used as an area defence Missile due to the fleet sized number of targets in San Carlos Bay – Basically they never knew which ship would be attacked (A single ship on independent operations would know an attack was for them so they could use Seacat within its performance envelope)….it never got Seawolf lite. HMS Andromeda had Pulse Doppler Type 967/968 Radar but it only had the 1x 6 round Box Launchers compared to the 2 each on the Type 22s
Sorry, you are right.
I was thinking of the plan for Sea Wolf lite rather than the reality of what was bolted on where.
Thanks for the correction.
No worries ?
Bigger area in San Carlos than you would think. Roughly the open area where the warships were was 25km long by 12 km wide
map from britishempire co uk
Was it not 1991, I’m sure missouri was decommissioned by 2003
She was decommissioned in March 1992 and towed to Pearl Harbor in 1998 to become a museum ship. She hasn’t sailed under her own steam since 1992. You are correct it was 1991.
Serious losses? Really?
2x Type 42 Destroyers (Sheffield and Coventr) and 2x Type 21 (Ardent and Antelope) Frigates from the Royal Navy as well as Atlantic Conveyer and Sir Galahad. So that is some serious losses. Not enough to cripple the task force but it did leave bigger questions in terms if a hot War with the USSR and how the RN would fare.
Yes. I would think the RN initially felt they would be pretty invulnerable to the sort of WW2 type low level attacks with bombs that Argentina used.
As well the ships that were hit by bombs that didnt explode were a lucky break for the RN
Glasgow, Argonaut, Plymouth
USS Stark had left their Phalanx in standby or Off mode. You can’t critique the weapon if the crew failed to turn it on 😉 USS Jarett in 1991 had her Phalanx on Full Auto during the 2nd (1st incident Missile was killed by HMS Gloucester) incident a supposed Missile was fired, Jarretts CIWS fired on USS Missouri’s chaff shell as it must have been within the parameters Phalanx uses to engage…the Chaff was thoroughly riddled before breaking up 😉 so a success of sorts
Thats always the problem with any system, the human element. The CO was attempting to talk to the Iraqi mirage, so they werent ‘off for a coffee’ ( Sheffield) So it was command failure with a hostile jet in the vicinity. Its usually too late to decide the course of action when the missile is spotted.- actually 2- the decision time should have decided to put the system armed when unknown jet approaching.
The USS Stark was struck by Iraqi Exocet fired by a Mirage F1, but the Stark had not turned its Phalanx on because it thought Iraqi was on our side – it was a blue on blue engagement. No anti-missile system will work if it not turned on. Also always be aware of Blue on Blue or Blue on Purple.
If there is one thing that comes from this conflagration it is that the wool has been removed from western eyes re the super-being of the Russian antagonist. In the decades after 1950 the cry from the west appeared to instil in us the idea of the super soldier of the USSR and thence the RF. The veil has finally been lifted and the Russian Federation has been revealed for what in reality it is. We need not telling what that is.
I can’t see these events being a very good advert for Russian arms sales
If there is any wool removed from Western eyes it is what Real Badness is. No micro-aggressions, no statues, no critical theory. Real. Mass. Murder.
And a real threat. Russian industry remains capable of producing basic items like artillery shells in great quantity, while our stocks are limited and our procurement is glacial.
They have hypersonic missiles, which we do not.
They have thermobaric missiles, which we do not.
They have biochemical weapons, which we do not.
And they have the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. Which do not only deter aggression. They also deter self defence.
It’s time for the West to up its game. Put defence spending back up to Thatcher-era levels of 4-5% of GDP. Get more people to serve in the armed forces than currently seem willing to. And sort out defence procurement so it’s purpose is to deliver usable weapons not just be a job creation programme.
Id love to see the UK invest properly in defence.
Let’s look at that line by line.
– Russian industry can churn out simple stuff: agreed.
– our procurement is glacial: basic stuff not so much, complex stuff that is (over)designed sometimes.
– hypersonics: I don’t think the Russians have anything particularly useful. It just does a very fast terminal dive. No new news there that was Cold War tech.
– we could easily make thermobaric missiles: we don’t because we are civilised.
– we know how to make bio chemical weapons and could make them quite fast if we needed to. But why? Again we are civilised as they don’t add much. You invade a country and cover it in Novichok: how do you decontaminate it? It doesn’t degrade or evaporate. You have a country too toxic to use.
– I’d bet that 90% of the Russian nuclear weapons don’t actually work. Maintaining nuclear weapons is very resource intensive. Maintaining ICBM’s is Uber resource intensive. If the technology used is as impressive as the other Russian tech in Ukraine then we will easily be able to defeat them.
Agreed that we would not want to go there with thermobaric or chemical weapons. But Putin has been scoring hits with long range precision guided missiles, including the new fangled hyper-glide missile that dodges and weaves in the atmosphere so your anti missile defence system doesn’t know until the last second where it is headed. As opposed to ballistic missiles which, while very fast, are obeying the laws of gravity.
Immediately after the sinking of the Moskva one of them hit the factory and stopped any more Neptunes being made.
He’s also getting results with remorseless artillery bombardment of places close to the border.
To respond effectively to either of these threats means striking targets inside Russia itself. That means supplying long range systems to Ukraine, along with the training etc. to use them, while somehow avoiding any direct involvement of Nato troops. Or else we may yet be on the receiving end of the 10% of nuclear weapons that still work.
“ including the new fangled hyper-glide missile that dodges and weaves in the atmosphere so your anti missile defence system doesn’t know until the last second where it is headed”
But it can’t steer at hypersonic speeds. It has to slow to steer.
Similarly in terminal phase it may jink around but again it has to slow and at that point become conventionally vulnerable.
I wouldn’t assume the Ukrainians are so dumb that they had all the Neptune eggs in one basket. Apart from anything else 10’s of them have been in service and some were exported to Indonesia.
The Russians have St Petersburg shipyards which can build larger cruiser type vessels.
The nuclear powered ‘battle cruisers’ Admiral Nakhimov and Pyotr Verlikiy ( Peter the Great) were built there around the same time as the Slava class cruisers were built in Ukraine. Whether they will want to build such large and expensive ships is another matter ( their newest destroyers are at 8000 t) but St Petersburg has been turning out some nuclear powered icebreakers
The other major naval ship yard and repair base is Severomorsk in the White Sea , just north of Murmansk
We have to be careful in saying because the Russian were useless their technology is useless.
Their theoretical technology won’t be too bad and combined with China which has a mid tech electronics industry could be quite a bit more dangerous.
Fail to up arm after this will encourage China to move at pace. The one thing China has over everyone is sheer volume of everything.
If the ship was struck by ASM’s it caused enough hull damage for the ship to take on sufficient water to sink it.
Ukraine’s ‘Neptune’ ASM is credited with a 300kg warhead, a good deal larger the 500lb warhead on Harpoon, but not that much larger. It seems unlikely that even 2 warheads would have done enough hull damage by themselves to sink a ship of the size of a cruiser.
That suggests internal explosions low enough to open the hull (possibly touched off by the ASM’s).
All of that suggests that a magazine or VLS explosion added to the ship’s problems.
Magazines are generally well below the water line so it would likely take some time for a fire started by an ASM to reach a gun magazine. Much more likely would be an uncontrolled fire in the midships VLS system.
If it was a VLS fire (however caused) that raises an interesting question, ‘how safe are the VLS systems the West is now building into virtually every surface combatant?’
The problem with solid rocket motors is that once alight they are impossible to put out.
VLS will eject a solid fuel missile into the ocean if the rocket motor lights up when not wanted. That has been in place since the days of Sea Slug!
There are actually ways to denucleate a solid rocket motor once alight.
There are also good ways of cooling and preventing things spreading.
Personally I would say that it was a fire that got out of control due to not being closed up and poor going on non-existent damage control training/procedures and installed kit.
Poor damage control training leads to ships listing due to lots of water trapped high up -> metacentric instability etc.
It doesn’t take much in a warship for things to cascade out of control.
Training, training and more training.
Sea Slug obviously wasn’t solid fuelled.
Sea Slug was more of a hazard to its ship in 1982 lol Fired to get it off ship 🙂
‘It doesn’t take much in a warship for things to cascade out of control’ Even when the crew are far better trained than the Russians. See HNoMS Helge Ingstad.
First pictures emerging. Looks like a hit where the RCS is largest.
The upperworks look steampunk. But Russian hulls have beautiful lines.
We should have another look at doubling up the Phalanx CIWS or other systems on the carriers, Albions and Tides, etc. These are all capable of carrying them. The bean counters need restraining in these matters. Twas always thus especially with naval ships.
I’d like us to convert Phalanx to Sea RAM with two mounts permanently carried by all RFA’s, the two carriers and the two Albion’s
Yes that’s good. Where there are known tactical weaknesses of any kindwhere practical there should be an immediate response. In wartime where we are at; the treasury cannot hold things up for 3 years or whatever. Its parsimonious & negligent to do so. We spend billions each year at Government level.
All large RFA’s should be built to carry Sea Ceptor.
Yes, Ceptor would be very sensible.
As well as converting the 30mm or 40mm to full CIWS functionality on all ships.
I’d prefer to see 40mm as it will take the programmable rounds.
I wonder if the Ceptor soft launcher will launch some of it missile cousins? Would useful for shore support on the Albions and Bays.
Yes the Mark 4 Bofors or the more capable but complex Single Fast forty from Leonardo formerly Oto Melara firing 3P ?
The Italians are binning fitting Fast 40s to soon to be in-service and future ships. They are replacing them with Leonardo’s STRALES 76mm and DART combination. From my understanding, the Italian Navy believe the effective range of the Fast 40s is too low and it expends too much ammo scoring a single hit ( It has a much further effective range than Phalanx, i.e. 2km vs 5km!). Whereas with the 76 and Dart, it has at least twice the effective range and fewer rounds are needed as Dart is guided.
The BAe/Bofors Mk110 57mm firing the guided MAD-FIRES round has around the same effective range as the larger Dart round. It may actually be further, as the sabot round is rocket assisted. Both use semi-active radar homing to intercept the target.
For me, I would prefer the RN introducing the Mk110 57 throughout the fleet. replacing both DS30 and the Bofors 40s. Therefore everything from an OPV, minesweeper to the carrier has a multi-use weapon system that can engage both surface and aerial targets. But crucially brings guided rounds to the party, thereby increasing the ship’s protection.
Oh for sure. They also have the new 76mm that is a bolt on system Sovr….something which has Strales and Dart included. I only mentioned fast forty for CIWS role and to replace the 30mm bushmaster guns for dealing with Boghammers. Also for upgrading ships already in service that need more dakka quickly and have limited space 😉 I love the Italian Andrea Doria class….360RPM with all three 76 SRs (before they were reduced to 85 each because of Strales)
Kudos to the Ukrainians! I’ve long felt that they should continue to attack and sink the Russian Black Sea Fleet and if possible, disable the naval base at Crimea using long-range missiles. The amphibs are particularly vulnerable and worth an airborne strike by the Ukrainian Air Force before hostilities pick back up on land.
There are some major omissions / cover ups in the Russian story of events here. They are saying there was a fire, that some ammunition exploded, that the crew were all taken off, that they had the fires under control, that they were towing it back to Sevastopol when it sunk in heavy seas due to hull damage caused by the explosions. Now obviously that is all a load of BS. Let’s start with the fire – I would suggest that that fire was started by the Ukrainian Neptune missiles. Next the ammunition explosion, so either the P1000 missiles went up or the SAM VLS. In either case that is one huge explosion. There is absolutely no way there was not very significant casualties. Then they say the fire is out and the vessel under tow. Under tow? So you mean the engine room has been destroyed and / or flooded. The fire is out? You mean there is nothing left to explode. How did they get the crew off whilst the ammo is going up? I’d suggest they didn’t. Most of them died in the inferno and some managed to be picked up from the water after having abandoned ship. The last bit about sinking under tow would suggest the hull was literally blown to bits and the ship was effectively a hulk when it sank. At the moment of writing only about 100 of the crew are accounted for which means at least 400 sailors went down with the ship.
just out of interest, would not satellite images show the after effect of the missiles,
and possably show the fire,
or am i wrong on this.
Yes, they would.
ELINT would also tell of the comms and emissions as systems came on and fell over due to battle damage.
Not to mention MAYDAY chatter and assistance from the rest of the Russian ships in the area.
If this sinking happened as the Ukrainians reported (and their version of events is consistent with all subsequent evidence so far), what does it say about the Russian navy and its AA/missile defence?
The other two Slavas will presumably have the same radar and same vulnerability. The carrier and battlecruiser are both 30+ years old and both under repair. The Sovremenny and Udaloy class destroyers are all similar vintage, with similar systems. If firing four SSMs from two different sides will destroy them all, then shouldn’t they be scrapped?
After them the Russians only have modern but small 4000 tonne frigates without large phased array radars. Unless I am missing something, the entire Russian navy now looks very vulnerable to air or SSM attack.
Would it not make sense if the Poles are fitting Marte ASM to there arrowhead that we do the same. That way we could buy in the same time and get a medium missile to give the T31/32 something to defend themselves with without a huge cost. I think they could easily fit out the T31s/32 for less than £100 with a stockpile that could be shared with the RAF as typhoons will be certified soon to carry. That way the savings can used for T26/T45 ASM.
How is that a saving? You are buying something extra that’s on in the current plan. Unless HMG increase the defence budget something else would need to be cut to pay for it.
Because fitting the t31 with Mk41 and a heavy weight ASM is expensive when the t31 is not designed nor intended as a major combatant ship. But to patrol far off places and give naval presence to small island nations and combat piracy and do anti drug patrols on its own. So although it needs to defend its self it won’t be used 90% of the time to defend CSG and therefore only needs a cheaper missle if any at all if carrying a pair of wildcats armed with venom. I think people have missed the object of T31, why build a billion pound warship for peace time patrols in the Caribbean or gulf and far east . 99% of the navy job does not require a battleship with all the bells and whistles. The T31 will allow the up gunning of T45,T26 and for them to concentrate on CSG, while having a presence around the world.
Hmme well the ex 1SL also wants the Mk41 VLS fitted to T31…
The point is to fit the VLS – it doesn’t have to carry loads of missiles all of the time.
T31 would then be a part of the fleet.
Something somewhere is going to have to carry the offensive missile numbers to attack anything? T26 won’t have the VLS space to do it all by itself.?
Ex SL, so why when he was sea lord didn’t he get them put in. Not every bit of kit has to be state the art all Bellas n whistles. Say we fit the mk 41 and in the ships 30 year service it never fires a missle from them, but because we have them we fit an expensive missle system in them costing an arm and a leg to purchase and maintain. Everyone forgets that astute is our main anti ship and land attack vessel and it’s just had it’s torpedoes and now cruise missle upgraded Keeping t31 as cheap as possible will allow the navy to prioritize CSG. I would love us to get NSM on every ship and also put on F35b carried externally, but we have to be realistic.
What has just happened in Ukraine leads to a recalibration.
We only have 7 SSN and they cannot be everywhere an isolated ship is.
Yes, they are a massive threat the Russians cannot handle.
Yeah agree I’ve proposed that when vanguard’s get replaced by dreadnought we keep the best condition one and retro fit the trident tubes with VLS like the US have done with a few Ohio’s to gives us a cruise missile sub with the ability to launch 72 tomahawks. It wouldn’t have to be put out on patrol often but would give us a great asset when needed.
They will be worn out by then.
This would be the Russia sitting on an ocean of hydrocarbons and other resources with land borders to its now main markets?
I am trying to understand how they are a massive threat to Russia.
There are those bolt on Canted VLS cells available now…The Adaptive Deck Launcher 😀
I don’t love them.
I’d prefer a proper VLS silo with a armouring, cooling, flooding, water mist inside the hull etc
Much lower risk.
I appreciate the canisters are ‘armoured’ but that are more exposed.
Not sure they are usable with CAMM or CAMM-ER. Angle is low so not much height for cold launch. From a VLS, the missile is 30m up when it tips over & fires in the required direction. At a low angle, hence low height, you could hit your own superstructure. Hot launch is different as the missile is climbing under power while turning in the required direction.
I think you need the 24 Ceptor originally envisaged and an offensive capability and Mk 41 tubes are the best option.
I’d agree with that.
I feel that is the wrong way of thinking. We definitely should not be recreating the T21 with the new T31. It has to be much better than that ever was! The T31 will be substantially bigger than a T23, more along the lines of a T22. This will make it easier to upgrade for starters, but it also means it has more volume for absorbing damage.
If we look back to the Falklands, the T21s were a large part of the task force. With their Exocets and Lynx, they could have provided a decent amount of offensive punch. Defensively however, they were dire. As the Argentine Navy did an about face after the Belgrano was sunk. The T21s were used to support the amphibious landings, by providing naval gunfire support with their 4.5″ guns. But also to provide some protection to the troop and logistics ships. How they were supposed to do this with Sea Cat and a few GPMGs, is with hindsight laughable.
In a future conflict that requires an amphibious task group to land troops on a hostile coast, I can see the T31s being used to support the operation in a similar way to the T21s. There may be a T45 providing overall air defence, but I doubt a T26 could be spared from conducting ASW. The T31 could provide local air defence with its Sea Ceptor and 57mm gun, but unless they substantially up gun them offensively, they can provide very little support for troops either conducting a landing or once they’ve landed.
The T31 is built to the same standards as our other front line warships. The 1SL alluding to fitting them with Mk41 VLS, is I think is a realization of the over tasking of the T23s and T45s, it will get no better when the T26s come in to service. These ships will have to do more than just policing and anti-piracy work. Plus, I believe if the RN could have afforded it, these ships would have been fitted with a 5″ gun. There is always a chance that they might be in the future. The T31 should be an excellent ship with plenty of scope to make it better than the T21. But more importantly they are new hulls delivered on time and to budget.
Most missiles back then were as dire as Sea Mouse. Was there any Sea Wolf ships in San Carlos at any time? And would have Sea Wolf been in use in such confined waters? Slow old Sea Mouse is entirely different system in terms of tech……….
Antelope was a sitting duck and Ardent was sacrificed,
You over look T21 successes like Alacrity’s ‘mine sweeping’ dash up the Sound.
It could be argued that the Rothesay’s were the best GENERAL PURPPOSE frigates down south.
Were there any losses directly attributed to T21 escorting anything? I can’t recall anything.
How noisy is T31? That’s my main concern. I don’t seem them getting Mk41 VLS. As things stand I don’t think they will all get built.
I don’t think Wolf would have been better than Mouse in that confined space. At that point in time the computers were too slow to lock.
Different story now with radar guided 30/40mm with programmable ammunition.
All five T31 have been ordered on a non alterable contract. What has, exactly been ordered, or what contractual options is not open information.
T32 will be ordered as soon as T31 #1 has passed various tests.
My point was Sea Wolf wouldn’t have worked in San Carlos. Never mind arcs and safety and other considerations.
Inflation will take care of any contractual costs re T31.
And I wouldn’t hold my breath for whatever T32 is……….
Broadsword and Brilliant were both in San Carlos Sound 22 May outside inlet where landings too place
But the Argentines mostly came over the mountains parallel to the sound and swept down and then ultra low. Locking onto a target while its got the higher ground behind didnt match the original requirements for wide open ocean scanning and lock
Wolf would have been fine close in at San Carlos. The 967 radar functioned well close to land when I was down there on Brilliant after the war ended (around the first anniversary). It was Pulse doppler and had an automatic track extractor. It didn’t need human input when in Auto except for really, really low level target tracking via TV. 3 sweeps to confirm a target (RPM was 30) allocate a tracker and lock up, in range, engage.
However it was temperamental and needed manual missile reloads. Things where better as it developed with new faster computers ( No more ferrite core stores) , improved trackers and 967M and latterly 996 with VLS.
It shot down Jets during war, Exocet, LLHK Rushtons, 4.5 bricks in trials and tests.
I would totally agree that Wolf with the 967 radar would have tracked and locked up. Land / sea clutter was not an issue for 967. If there had been more 967 level radar on ships a lot of problems would have been avoided.
3 sweeps at 30 rpm is 6 seconds (?) which is a long time for locking onto a jet in a confined space when the pass was probably not much more than double that. Which was really my point in that I don’t think that was fast enough for essentially CIWS use. For real effectiveness 967 need to be able to see the distance.
So Wolf might have shot the jet down after it passed the target?
But I guess after splash1 AAF jets might have left Bomb Alley alone?
I totally agree that Wolf, as it went out of service, would have been fine with much better computers on board the T23 as the computer didn’t add time to the party and massively enhanced the target discrimination and therefore lock up speed and range.
Not that confined a space , the sound where most warships were was 25km long by 12 km wide. Enough to give 5km radius around a single vessel
And yes many AAF jets did get taken out, but not all.
It isn’t a question of whether the system could detect a jet in that area. The problem as you clearly said ‘it didn’t need human input’ and without it negated its main advantage.
I find it amusing then that you gently walked backed by telling us Mod 0 was temperamental
I sometimes think you turn up late to threads on purpose.
Some of us have to work for a living fixing grey things on foreign shores! The colonial cousins have had me running around between 3 ships for a week.
Not sure I get the human input bit. In Auto you intervened to stop it shooting down something. Only at V low level did you need manual TV guidance if radar lock up became an issue. Latter trackers (911) with the Blindfire rapier antenna didn’t have this issue and you didnt need TV guidance. 910 trackers where temperamental. Sometimes it would lock up targets without issue. Other times it required a tracker reset. The reset took a few mins to complete. No rhyme or reason. The joys of looking being a tracker queen.
seriously X ? wow, You sure do know so much more than GB.
Plus the VL version of Sea Wolf gives you a couple of extra k’s to play with.
I agree with your thoughts on T31.
The reality is that without T31 being a hitter the fleet is a bit short of anything to do NGS or amphibious protection.
Something with a decent lump of land/sea missiles is needed for that.
The RN were expecting the Rapiers to deal with AA in San Carlos and they had no option but to screen the amphibious landings and place themselves in harms way.
It was found that the Rapiers had no “look down” ability and although transportable they did not have sea legs.
The landings would have been better protected with some cheap strategically placed barrage balloons.
Rapiers didn’t work because they were HTK weapons that were not accurate enough to do that. Hence post conflict they had Prox fuses added ?
I agree up-arming/keeping T45 and T26 has much higher priority than making T31 more fighty.
BMD/Hypersonic-missile defense needs to be added to T45. This is not cheap, but this is must. Speeding up adding 24 CAMM is also very important. And, shall the number be 48 not 24?
T26 must fill their Mk.41 VLS. Better radar is also needed for them. Are number of Merlin enough to fill both CVs and all T26s? Is the number of CAMM, 48, enough? How about 48 CAMM-ER in addition to the current 48 CAMM (by replacing all Mushroom tubes with ExLS)?
How about adding 24 CAMM each on 2 CVs?
T31 has its own job. As we all know, it was initially designed as 4000t ship with heavy-corvette level weapons suits. It will make their operation easy, with longer sea-going days (less maintenance), less crew, and cheaper operation cost, ALL enabling those money to be spent on T45, T26, Merlin, CVs, F35B, E-8As, E-7s and a fleet of UAVs to come.
Yes, after these uparming is all done, uparming T31 is of course a good thing, if supported by increased operational budget and man-power.
I think the issue with T31 is getting the Mk41 VLS fitted.
As RN is going to make Mk41 VLS mainstream on T26 and maybe T45 and have weapons stockpiles wether the Mk41 on a T31 is filled all the time is not so important when it is in low threat environments.
The threat level has changed. Make no mistake.
Vlad is Mad and he took an unpredictable pop at Ukraine and assumed NATO would do nothing.
Germany and France cannot be trusted as Germany will be solely interested in its economy and France its prestige and opportunities to be duplicitous.
Thanks. As with similar understanding of “the threat level has changed”, regardless of how T31 be armed, I think up-arming T45 and T26, CVs and P-8/7s will be higher priority. There are holes and gaps there, which must be filled/cured when the threat level is getting higher.
T31 up-arming can (or shall) be done AFTER all these needs.
I say this because, regardless of Russian threat, RN will NOT gap the Kipion tasks. And, T31 “as is” is well-focused on these tasks. Tolerating “lightly armed T31 working on Persian Gulf” is much more acceptable than tolerating the following:
This is my point.
I have a feeling that at least one T31 will be included in future task groups involving a carrier. I think they will be used it as a goalkeeper for the carrier, for anything that gets past the F35s and T45s. This means the T23/26s can go off hunting for subs, leaving the T45s for primary air defence.
The Thales NS100 and Sea Ceptor should provide a very capable air defence system against most threats barring anti-ship ballistic missiles. Though I bet it would still have a good go.
Will the Navy look at enhancing the T31’s ASW? The base design has a NATO standard quietness rating, whatever that means? Which we know does not include a rafted drivetrain. But if the ship’s mission bay included a unmanned vessel fitted with a CAPTAS type of deployable tail, could it not provide local ASW, in support of the carrier’s Merlins?
The T31 is a “no tamper” contract as far as I have read, so any upgrades will certainly have to be after they are accepted into service. Just possibly the contract might be for MORE than the 12 sea-Ceptor tubes we think it will (only) have..wait and see. For my money, 36 Ceptor tubes to take 24 Ceptor and 12 VLS spear3 would be nice..if they could do such a thing to the spear3. Offensive punch of a precision nature. Fully agree that the 31 would seem to be a good carrier goalkeeper, preferably with more CEptor.
Offboard sonar..also yes please.
I am sure I read that Ceptor actually has a smaller minimum engagement range than RAM? And that RAM is a very expensive missile.
I would point out that T31 will come online well before most of the T26. If the threat level has changed, it is better to up arm the new T31 then trying to up arm the old T23. There will be 5 T31 & possibly 5 T32 before there is 8 T26. You can’t up arm something that does not yet exist & up arming an existing ship that has a limited lifespan left is not good value, so that leaves the T31 & T32. RN needs more escort class warships & current spec T31 is barely a corvette. While up-arming the CV’s would be good, adding more missiles to T31 & adding it to the task force would be better.
Let’s start by cutting the National Ship. There’s £250m into the pot
Would note the so called Houthi attack with anti-ship missiles on the USS Mason mentioned above maybe a myth, the USN CNO would only go as far to say “may have been attacked” //” It appears to have come under attack”.
No follow up USN analysis/report ever confirmed that Mason was attacked by missiles, you would have thought the high tech surveillance Yemen was under by satellites etc there should have been some confirmation, reminds me of when USS Vincennes shot down the Iranian Airbus A300 killing 290 after mistaking it for F-14.
It was attacked 3 times with a total of 9 Antiship missiles between the 9th and 15th October 2016
Thanks for your reference, personally sceptical, perhaps totally incorrectly. We have the USN history of making errors on occasions (not the only ones), as mentioned Vincennes mistaking a A300 airliner, length 176 feet and 2,800 sq ft wing for a F-14 fighter only 63 feet long with a 1,000 sq ft wing and shooting it down with a SM-2. Some analysts blamed the captain of for overly aggressive behaviour in a tense and dangerous environment, who knows its murky, fog of war etc.
I’m by nature cynical and the only source found in reference was a Pentagon spokesman and until an official USN official report with details released inclined not to believe the story, each to his own opinion 🙂
The Vincennes incident was never a ‘mistake’ other than seeing what you wanted to see. The then new Aegis system recorded all the data on tape and when it was rerun back on their simulators there was no ‘diving F14’ at all. That was the concocted story told immediately after. Like we see the misinformation the russians are giving out now.
Thanks for reminding people of the truth. Too much nonsense spoken these days. The Iranian airliner also had its IFF off.
Airliners dont have IFF . They are military only. The ship called them on an emergency channel , but thats no so mething aircrew monitor as unlike ships they cant stop and assist. Fora very short flight they would have been busy anyway and talk to ATC only
Indeed…Captain Rodgers was a loose Cannon looking for a fight. The nearby Carrier CO didn’t want their planes anywhere near the Vincent’s because of this. The CO of USS Sands managed to contact the airliner to request a course change
In 1982 the Argentinian’s used 707’s dressed as a civilian for 61 reconnaissance and surveillance flights in 1982, they evaded four Sea Slugs before deciding to give up. The Argentinians also tried to swamp the Task Force air defenses and flew hundreds of sorties against the RN
‘Dressed’ doesnt mean a thing. When you are away from civilian air routes and not flying like a passenger plane in transit then it would be clear that they were a recon mission.
Sea Slugs? I know of only 2 launches of that weapon in the conflict and 1 was a land attack and the other was to get the Slug off the ship before it was hit. Are you sure it wasn’t Sea Dart, Sea Wolf or Sea Cat???
‘ The Mason was not hit by either missile. But the Navy is not certain whether its defense system stopped the first incoming missile or it just fell into the sea about 12 miles from the ship. The second missile fired at the Mason fell about nine miles from the ship, one of the officials said.”
Some in the media go on about Moskva being a bigger loss than the Belgrano. The public info I have states Moskva 12500t, 613 ft long (Conway’s). Belgrano 12207t, 608 ft long (Whitley). So not a lot in it.
I would still like to see Western Navies jointly adopt the 25mm KBD upgrade to Phalanx that Oerlikon offered some years ago. I think Seaceptor on T26/31 also needs some Camm-ER to keep hostile air launch platforms further away. Plus keep shipbourne ECM up to date.
In the context of the war not in terms of displacement or overall dimensions.
LRASM is subsonic, it’s also generations in advance of anything Russia possesses.
And it’s got a huge warhead – a real ship killer.
We shouldn’t really complicate the matter. We will not get LRASM, anytime soon.
But we had a recent stopgap requirement, where NSM was one of the contenders. Both RCN and RAN are buying NSM for their T26s. As it stands, a single F-35B with 4 NSM could sink any vessel in the Russian fleet.
So, bring it on… UOR, now!
Interesting diagram of estimated damage posted in Daily Telegraph
[…] to world sea lanes of communications has been de facto minimize off. The sinking of the cruiser Moskva (flagship of the Black Sea Fleet and one of many largest warships sunk since WWII), apparently […]