14 April 2022
The Slava class (Project 1164) Russian cruiser “Moskva”, the flagship of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, was heavily damaged yesterday evening. It is not known whether the ship sank. Ukrainian officials claimed that two locally-made Neptune anti-ship missiles hit the Moskva ship and a major fire occurred on the boat. Making a statement after Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed that a fire broke out on the cruiser but denied the claims by stating that the fire broke out due to an accident related to ammunition.
According to unconfirmed Russian radio conversation records shared on Telegram, then posted on social media, the ship was hit while tracking the TB2 UAV with its radar. The cruiser’s radar was activated to detect and identify the flying object according to the dialogue. During the process, an explosion occurred on the boat. The conversation did not include how many blasts took place.
According to this narrative, Ukraine used Bayraktar TB2 as bait. Deceived by Ukraine’s trick, the flagship of the Black Sea fleet was planning to hunt down an easy target, but it became the prey. The name the TB2 came to the fore this time, not with its high precision target destruction but with the deception of the high-value target.
There is, however, a problem with such a claim. Big vessels keep their air radars active during cruises. The radar is expected to be on. In other words, it wouldn’t be switched on to see the TB2. In fact, the UAV wouldn’t be noticed if the radar were off. Furthermore, the Neptun is RF guided missile. It is not an anti-radiation missile. It is known that TB2 has a psychological effect on Russia. The crew may have focused on the TB2 and missed the Neptune missile.