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Neptune: The Missile That Killed Russia’s Moskva Warship

Neptune Anti-Ship Missile
Neptune Anti-Ship Missile. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

What is the Neptune Missile that Sunk Russia’s Moskva Flagship? – New photographs and video footage emerged on Monday showing the sinking of the Russian guided-missile cruiser, the Moskva, being badly damaged by a fire caused by a Ukrainian missile right before it sank in the Black Sea last Thursday.

The images show the Moskva ship leaning to one side with plumes of black smoke billowing out of the side.

While Russia continues to claim that the damage was caused by a fire that started within the ship, Ukraine took credit for the damage and said it was struck by one of its Neptune missiles.

Retired U.S. Navy captain and the former director of operations for the U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center, Carl Schuster, said on Monday that it appeared as though the missiles penetrated below the bridge of the ship before detonating.

“Assuming the photo is not faked in some way or photo-shopped, it looks like the missile(s) hit forward, which is not unexpected,” Schuster said. “Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) tend to go for the center of the radar return, which typically is the forward section of the superstructure.”

What is the Neptune Missile?

The Neptune missile, named after the ancient Roman god of the sea, is a Ukrainian anti-ship cruise missile that was developed by the Luch Design Bureau and based on the Soviet-designed Kh-35 missile.

Two Neptune missiles struck the Moskva flagship in the Black Sea on April 13.

The missile can travel at speeds of 671 miles per hour, just below the speed of sound, and is capable of flying close to the water as it approaches its target. The Neptune missile also uses an active radar and inertial guidance to track its targets.

Ukraine’s Neptune missile has several advantages over the original Soviet Kh-35, and according to a brochure published in 2020 by the Luch Design Bureau, it can travel 300km and can be fired from no more than 25km away.

“‘NEPTUNE’ 360ST rocket system is a land-based cruise rocket system with anti-ship rockets. It is intended to defeat warships such as cruisers, destroyer frigate, corvette, airborne, tank landing ships and vehicles, which operate both independently and as part of the ship groups and amphibious groups, and coastal radiocontrast targets in visual and adverse meteorological conditions, at any time of the day and year, at active fire and electronic countermeasures of the enemy,” the brochure reads.

The missile consists of a mobile command post, a unified self-propelled launcher, a set of ground equipment, transport vehicle, transport-loading vehicle, and a rocket inside of a transport and launch container.

Russia’s Moskva is “Literally Irreplaceable”

The Week reported on Monday that the Russian flagship is “literally irreplaceable” and described how the Russian Ministry of Defense shared a video on Saturday that sowed dozens of surviving crew members from the ship.

Not only does Russia not have another Moskva to send to the region, if Russia intends to send more ships to the Black Sea to replace the ship it will need to persuade Turkey to open the Bosporus and the Dardanelles – two straits that were closed to warships by Turkey except for those returning to their home ports. The rule was established by the 1936 Montreux Convention.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Alex

    April 20, 2022 at 10:23 am

    Rumors, speculation, propaganda statements. But there are no facts.

  2. CK

    April 20, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    Really? Your own media have shown the sailors. Your own officials have admitted it sank.

    Whichever way you cut it, the ship is at the bottom of the sea. Either your moronic sailors blew it up or allowed it to be blown up through laziness and incompetence, or Ukraine sank it. Either way, it’s gone.

    Humiliating, just like the rest of this farce.

  3. Alexis had another bad day

    April 20, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Alexis, princess, you have to be the dumbest idiot on the face of the planet. The two holes on the side of the hull weren’t caused by missiles. Right. Did your parents have children that lived? Keep looking up, princess, we want you to see the done thats going to kill you.

  4. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 12:16 am

    The hysteria of a Bandera Nazi under various nicknames is magnificent. Only the transition to the individual and a burning ass. Not surprisingly, in Europe, many refugees from Ukraine began to be called pigs. The main thing is to jump higher and beat yourself on the pan on your head – you know how.
    I previously wrote that there is an option where Neptune missiles could be aimed at the target using the American Orion satellite. Whether this is so is not known for certain, these are just the assumptions of one military analyst from the United States.
    Of course, we all understand that the Bandera Nazis want this to be true. Of course, we all understand that this is beneficial to the Pentagon for the information war. This article was not written only lazy. However, all these articles have only one thing in common: assumptions, desires, fantasies and propaganda. Facts are zero.

  5. CK

    April 21, 2022 at 12:35 am

    Yes, when you lose the argument, defer to falsehoods. Bandera Nazis, alternate nicknames, blame the Americans, the weather, the munitions explosions, Zelensky’s wetnurse…

    It’s not my incompetence, it’s not my stupidity, mu hubris, the intellectual poverty of my nation, the moral vacuousness of my leader, the utter slave’s mentality of the trolls, no no, its everyone else. Everyone else is the problem.

    With you, facts will always be zero.

  6. Floyd K

    April 21, 2022 at 10:58 am

    The Russian soldiers’ and sailors’ hearts isn’t into this battle. News sources state 30% of fighting forces don’t want to fight this war and the only reason they are fighting is because they are threating their families. I see no difference between Russia and North Korea in compassion for its citizens.
    I agree with CK that the ship sunk either due to incompetence of the crew or Ukraine is better at war tactics.

  7. Alex

    April 21, 2022 at 11:41 pm

    Who is the terrorist…

    So, the Anglo-Saxons waged wars throughout their history, attacking weaker countries under the pretext of first “white master”, then “democracy”. So many millions of people have not yet been destroyed by anyone. It was the Anglo-Saxons who were the only ones in the world who dropped nuclear bombs on cities with civilians. Further, cluster bombs, napalm, depleted uranium shells were used (only because of it, many children in Serbia still get cancer).

    As for Ukraine, this is the systematic transformation of the country into anti-Russia. Since 1991. Further, since 2014, there was a pinnacle – the glorification of Bandera Nazis. How many Ukrainians in Donbas were killed by these Bandera bastards, children and women were tortured.

    And like a cherry on a cake: in the USA, the satanic church of LaVey announced its full support for the Bandera bloody regime in Ukraine. More facts? No, I don’t think even that is enough.

  8. CK

    April 22, 2022 at 5:24 am

    Sorry Alex, we can’t hear you over the sound of so much whattaboutism.

    So insecure, you have to resort to satanists enemies. What next? Witches?

  9. Alex

    April 23, 2022 at 9:53 am

    The official version of Russia is a freelance situation.
    The unofficial version of Western analysts is this:

    The cruiser was in the Odessa region, closer to Romania. A year ago, they put a new phased array locator on it, the illumination range is 500 km! Why was he there? Ukrainian planes flew to the airfield in Romania, and from there they took off towards the sea, made a detour, and from the Odessa side went ashore, then flew to Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye, and struck at the Russian troops. All the airfield, in the area of ​​​​Nikolaev and Odessa, were broken, and they could not understand where? Therefore, they drove Moscow with a powerful locator! It began to shine, and from the airfields of the Crimea and from near Donetsk, our Su 35 crests began to be intercepted, so 9 MiGs and Sushki were shot down. All this was calculated by NATO. And here is the result. First, the cruiser was hit from a drone, the radars and antennas were smashed! The cruiser shot down one. But already half blind. Then Khokhols launched 2 Neptune cruise missiles from the shore. Guidance was carried out by NATO Orion, which hung over Romania, he also turned on the REP, and lit up the cruiser’s air defense detection station! The missiles went to the ship, with the homing heads turned off so that the ship would not detect the radiation beam, the guidance was carried out by NATO Orion. By transmitting the exact coordinates of the ship to the missiles. The result was 2 hits, ammunition detonation, and the cruiser began to sink.
    The Moskva cruiser, in addition to its main purpose – the destruction of KUG and AUG, is capable of providing long-range air defense for a shipborne strike group with the S-300F Fort complex, at a range of detecting air targets up to 300 km.
    The cruiser was assigned the following task: Combat duty 100-120 km from Odessa in order to control the airspace within a radius of 250-300 km. That. ensure that the southern half of Moldova, the space from Izmail to Odessa and part of the territory of Romania (including the port of Constanta) is covered with its location field.
    “Moscow” greatly interfered with the covert transfer of military aircraft (helicopters and planes) from the territory of Romania to the territory of Ukraine.
    The cruiser was monitored by NATO air reconnaissance.
    The destruction of the flagship of the fleet was planned as a strategic task
    Therefore, the operation of delivering anti-ship missiles to Odessa took place in strict secrecy and under the cover of electronic warfare.
    RCC was chosen as the “killer” of the cruiser, but not “Neptune” – as Ukrainian propaganda spreads, but
    RCC of the fifth generation NSM (Naval Strike Missile, range – 185 km, developed by Norway-USA.
    This type of RCC was chosen from the need to achieve a 100% result
    NSM is able to reach the target along the programmed route thanks to the INS with GPS correction, to independently find the target, flying up to it at a height of 3-5 meters. When reaching the target, the NSM maneuvers and puts electronic interference. A highly sensitive thermal imager is used as a homing system, which independently determines the most vulnerable spots of the target ship.
    A stationary container installation, secretly delivered to Ukraine, was used as a launcher. Thus,
    after the damage to the cruiser Moskva, which led to its sinking, NATO reopened an air corridor for the transfer of aircraft to the airfields of the Chernivtsi, Transcarpathian and Ivano-Frankivsk regions.
    After the destruction of the cruiser Moskva, the Black Sea Fleet unfortunately no longer has a single ship with a long-range anti-aircraft missile system.
    But this is just a theory, in which all of NATO was involved, against a single ship. Perhaps that is why Russia switched to defense tactics against the entire NATO, and this will not end well for NATO.

    However, a three-band Nebo-M radar station is located in Crimea, which is capable of tracking all air targets at a distance of up to 600 km. This radar controls the sky to the city of Chernivtsi.

  10. CK

    April 23, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    You see? Another classic Russian propaganda tactic. Just fill the internet and the airwaves with noise – lies, truth, deception, half-truths, the truth, doesn’t matter. Overwhelm people with information, numbers, statistics, arguments, claims, etc. Although preferably most if not all should be untruths.

    If anyone knows Alex, you know well the falsehoods he peddles, and the entire mines of salt you need to take his words with.

    Also, it’s strange Alex – in the other thread, you said NATO and the West can’t do anything, and here you directly contradict yourself, saying they sank or were directly involved in sinking your flagship.

    You see the lies? The contradictions? So transparent and as see-through as Sveta’s working attire.

    Pick a lie and stick to it at least.

  11. Alex

    April 24, 2022 at 4:51 am

    Another US military analyst openly laughed at the suggestion that the cruiser was sunk by Neptune missiles: “It’s as ridiculous as having an admiral in the non-existent fleet of Ukraine,” he concluded.

  12. CK

    April 24, 2022 at 6:08 am

    Yes, and imagine how ridiculous it is to lose your Black Sea Flagship, in a land war, against a country with no navy (and no admiral, as you ut it) – humiliating.

  13. Alex

    April 25, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Yes, Russia has big “problems”:
    There is the Donetsk People’s Republic. There is the Luhansk People’s Republic. Kherson applied to Russia for a referendum to establish the Kherson People’s Republic. God bless the Ukrainians of Donbass!

  14. CK

    April 25, 2022 at 11:01 am

    Yes Alex, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania also re-applied to join the Russian Federation. In this reality, Putin has conquered his hemorrhoids, and you and Sveta live happily ever after.

    It’s nice to sit back and daydream, isn’t it? 🙂

  15. Alex

    April 26, 2022 at 2:21 am

    Why is Russia with the people’s militia of Donbass taking new territories of Ukraine every day? Let’s figure it out:

    The West failed to turn much of the world against Russia after the military operation in Ukraine began, columnist Howard French wrote in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.
    According to him, many states did not support sanctions against Moscow, including such large countries as India and China.

    “In fact, when counting the population of these countries, it becomes clear that the states representing the majority of humanity have not taken a position in this conflict, seeing in it the familiar echoes of the former rivalry between East and West,” said French .
    According to the observer, the international political system that took shape at the beginning of the twentieth century from the very beginning gave the countries of the “third world” the status of second-class states. As an example, he cited the colonization of Africa by European countries.

    “It was the work of the work and cotton in the people of sugar unpaid smelted and all made of American colonies profitable Europe, and the so- rich for “Old the World” new and millions did ,” the author emphasized.

    French urged not to ignore the heightened sense of justice among the former colonized peoples.

    “The whole world” with Ukraine 🙂

  16. CK

    April 26, 2022 at 7:23 am

    All the lines in the world you say won’t bring back the Moskva Alex…

  17. Alex

    April 29, 2022 at 9:33 am

    If someone wants to know the truth about the civil war in the Donbass, about all the atrocities of the Bandera clean-ups and why Russia was forced to intervene, then it is better to watch films by independent journalists. There are already many such journalists who fight for truth and freedom. For example, a documentary by the German journalist Wilhelm Domcke-Schulz.

    A documentary film about the war crimes of the Bandera Nazis during the period of Russia’s special military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine is in production. It will be a real information bomb, where the war crimes of Bandera Nazis will be shown and proved.

    The documentary “Remember Odessa” tells how the Bandera Nazis burned Ukrainians alive and other heinous war crimes.

    The documentary “To Live and Die in Donbass” tries to fill this gaping information gap in the West. He looks into the tormented soul of the inhabitants of Donbass, who really want only one thing – to live self-determining according to their own rules and values. Not submitting to foreign forces and ideologies.

    In the east of Ukraine, in the Donbass, a war has been raging since the beginning of 2014. A civil war that claimed more than 15,000 lives over the years, including several hundred children. They had to die, because the national-fascist coup government in Kyiv, funded by the West, trained and militarily heavily armed, would not tolerate any resistance to their illegitimate rule, no matter the cost.

    Therefore, in April 2014, the putschists deployed the Ukrainian army, supported by dozens of right-wing extremist volunteer battalions, and have since bombed city centers, residential areas, schools, hospitals and infrastructure, killing civilians.

    This perennial crime has gone completely unnoticed by the Western public. Politicians and the media avoid this topic and reports about how the devil pours holy water. Because a public discussion about the crimes of the Ukrainian regime would reveal only one thing – with what mass murderers and terrorists the so-called “west of values” in Ukraine has a common language, if only to defend their goals and interests.

    Lend-lease is a commodity loan, and not cheap: for all the ammunition, equipment and food supplied by the United States, many future generations of Ukrainian citizens will pay. Zelensky is driving the country into a debt hole.

  18. CK

    April 29, 2022 at 2:19 pm

    Ah, I see your tactic. You add a little shitty first paragraph so it doesn’t detect your duplicate post. Is this what it has come to now, you just posting the same exact post 2, 3, 4, 5 times per article?

    Wow, did they run out of paper in Russia, Alex? You guys can’t print new material? Literally using the same lines, over and over again, and now in duplicate in every post!

    Are you so defeated you can’t even come up with anything new? How sad. Now the idiot is talking about lend-lease at the end of his post, because he literally just copy + pasted it from another thread, with zero relevance to this one.

    Here’s a reminder:

    If someone wanted to know the truth about anything in Ukraine Alex, the last person they would go to is you.

    Paragraphs and paragraphs of bollocks, dubious claims about “independent journalists”, random documentarians, conspiracy theorists, deluded claims that of course, have no backup, lie after lie after lie.

    Classical Kremlin troll approach. Just flood the internet, the comments, the media, with tosh, doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure you write some old nonsense. Make sure to say the claim is supported by some dude in Germany, France, the states. If it’s a “documentary” (usually from youtube) then the better.

    Anything that victimises Russia, always the victim, always the bullied, never the problem. It’s always the Nazis. It’s always some pseudo-historical point.

    Anyone that has had the misfortune to study your “tactics” sees the forest for the trees, the pattern of lies, disinformation, blanketing of random claims, deflection, obfuscation, and other words beyond your vocabulary.

    It’s hopeless Alex. Your lies are as short as your intellect. What a pathetic job, to sit in your government shed, spreading your pathetic, government lies.

    A pathetic job for a truly pathetic man. A better match could not be made in heaven.

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