Antisubmarine Cruiser 'Moskva'

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Moskva was the first of her class of helicopter carriers in service with the Soviet Navy. Laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444), Moskva was launched in 1965 and commissioned two years later. Moskva was followed by Leningrad, which was commissioned in late 1968; there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. Both were conventionally-powered.

PKR Moskva at sea

The Moskvas were not true "aircraft carriers" in that they did not carry any fixed-wing aircraft; the air wing was composed entirely of helicopters. They were designed primarily as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, and her weapons and sensor suite were optimized against the nuclear submarine threat. Shipboard ASW armament included a twin SUW-N-1 launcher capable of delivering a FRAS-1 projectile carrying a 450 mm torpedo (or a 5 kiloton nuclear warhead); a pair of RBU-6000ASW mortars; and a set of torpedo tubes. For self-defense, the Moskvas had two twin SA-N-3 SAM launchers with reloads for a total of 48 surface-to-air missiles, along with two twin 57 mm/80 guns. A "Mare Tail" variable depth sonar worked in conjunction with heliborne sensors to hunt submarines.

Their strategic role as initially conceived was to defend the Soviet Union against nuclear attack by Western cruise and ballistic missile submarines off its coasts. As SLBM technology advanced, and ranges extended, the Moskvas' mission shifted to defending Soviet ballistic missile submarine Bastionsagainst incursions by Western attack submarines, forming the flagships of an ASW task force.

Leningrad was taken out of service in 1991, but Moskva remained nominally in service until 1995, when she was purchased by the superhero group System 4ce to be refitted into a seagoing headquarters as the XTS Firehawk.

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