US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol planes reportedly helped Ukrainians strike Russian Navy Black Sea flagship RTS Moskva (121)
The US Navy reportedly used one of its P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft to provide accurate targeting data to Ukrainian forces to sink the Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship RTS Moskva (121) on April 13, 2022, according to the Daily Mail.
As previously reported, Ukraine claimed to have fired two Neptune missiles at the Russian warship patrolling south of Odessa. According to Navy Recognition, other sources speak of the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicle that was used as a diversion.
Russia initially claimed that the ship, which had more than 500 crew on board, exploded after a fire on board, but later the Kremlin was forced to admit that the ship had been destroyed by hostile action.
The Moskva sank as tugs attempted to tow the crippled warship to Crimea for repairs.
According to the Times, a P-8 was following Moskva in the hours leading up to its attack before providing its location to the Ukrainian military.
“Yeah, that makes a lot of sense,” said Tom Cooper, our contributor and editor at publisher Helion & Company.
“For a very simple reason. Because situational awareness is 90% of modern warfare: if you know where your enemy is, but the enemy doesn’t know where you are, you can hit and kill, the enemy can’t.
“More: Moskva was too far away to be detected by the mass of radars in service with Ukraine. The MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) as powerful as the P-8 was a perfect solution: it detected and tracked the target, and was signaling his position. This is, after all, the essence of how ‘work’ of this type is usually done.”
The Times reports that the P-8 took off from Italy and settled on the Romanian Black Sea coast where it attempted to locate the position of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Since the invasion of Ukraine, a series of NATO surveillance platforms and drones have monitored Russian movements from the Polish coast, along the Ukrainian border and to the Black Sea.
The Times says the P-8 left US Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily on April 13, hours before the attack. The Poseidon turned off its trackers, so it could no longer be tracked online until it reached the Black Sea coastline.
The plane was “hidden” for nearly three hours before returning to Flight Radar 24.
The US Navy declined to confirm whether it aided Ukraine in the attack by providing intelligence data.
“In line with our support to NATO’s eastern flank, we have carried out some limited air patrols off the coast of Romania. But we will not talk about the details of operational matters,” a Defense source stressed.
Photo credit: US Navy and Reuters