Moskova (Slava) confirmed sunk, prepare the lasers!

The old Cold War headline, familiar again, “TASS reports….”

The official Russian state media announcements on the Project 1164 Atlant cruiser Moskova/Moskva (ex-Soviet Slava), in three headlines and ledes, posted some 21 hours apart:

With that, Russia has admitted to the largest warship sunk in combat since 1982 (ARA Belgrano/ex-USS Pheonix) and its first cruiser lost since 1941 (Chervona Ukraina/ex-Bogdan Khmelnitsky/ex-Admiral Nakhimov).

Moskova is also the largest warship lost (reportedly) to an anti-ship missile in combat, surpassing the Royal Navy’s well-documented loss of the 4,800-ton Type 42 destroyer HMS Sheffield (D80), which, like Moskova, foundered under tow after a missile attack left her a burnt-out hulk.

Speaking of anti-ship missile news, the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research announced on the same day Moskova was hit by the Ukrainians, that it had conducted (in February) a “Historic Test of New Laser Weapon System.”

The test involved Lockheed Martin’s Layered Laser Defense (LLD) weapon, intended “as a multi-domain, multi-platform demonstration system. It can counter unmanned aerial systems and fast-attack boats with a high-power laser—and also use its high-resolution telescope to track in-bound air threats, support combat identification, and conduct a battle damage assessment of engaged targets.”

And it splashed a drone “representing a subsonic cruise missile in flight.”

Sure, just about every dangerous wave skipper out there is super (or hyper) sonic these days, but don’t get lost in the sauce that this was a shootdown by an all-electric, high-energy laser weapon, which could be the way of the near future.

“It’s a challenging problem, but Navy leadership at all levels see the potential for laser weapons to really make a difference,” Dr. Frank Peterkin, ONR’s directed energy portfolio manager, said. “The next few years are going to be very exciting as we work with the Navy and joint partners to make the capability we just saw demonstrated by the LLD a reality for the naval warfighter.”

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