Thursday, April 21, 2022

Yet Again: Nope.

h/t WRSA 

Smoking gun, or smoking crack?

Yeah, no.

Natzsofast, Guido.

The referenced Mail article gets most of its exercise by making YUUUUUGE leaps of assumption to get from A to Z.


1) A US P-8 was monitoring events from within NATO airspace on the Romanian Black Sea coast the day Moskva went all explodey.

2) Its detection range on ships is "over 100 miles" per the article. (Per the Navy, its radar can see Nimitz-class targets broadside from 222 mi. away. But Moskva is only a third of that size even from broadside, so the P-8's ability to see it would be appreciably much shorter range. IOW, it would have trouble picking out the Moskva at even 70 miles even under ideal conditions, let alone average field conditions.)

That's it. That's all the Mail knows, and from which it extrapolated (from somewhere deep in its underpants) the whole "US aircraft targeted Moskva for Ukrainian forces" fairytale. Which is how the sausage gets made.

Outright Lies In The Mail

1) Despite the Mail's recockulous claims, Russia has made no such "admission" that enemy action took out Moskva. Any such claim is pure bullshitting on their part.

2) The US Navy has made no admissions regarding supplying weapons targeting information to Ukraine, nor would they confirm nor deny any such thing, this side of anyone finding snowballs in Satan's underpants. The US hasn't even said it's supplying any intelligence information whatsoever, nor has any other NATO member. The is the dog that isn't barking.

Obvious Problems

1) No one (who's telling) knows exactly where Moskva was located when it exploded. Which is kind of vital.

2) Reports vary: one puts Moskva "roughly 60 miles south of Odessa" and sailing east after the explosion, another puts it "roughly 75 miles away from Odessa".

3) That's a lot of blank blue real estate. 75 miles from Odessa to Sevatopol on a straight line puts it east of where the US Navy P-8 could probably even have detected it. 60 miles directly south of Odessa puts it at the edge of that possible detection range.

4) Neither the ship nor the A/C in question, before nor after the attack, was just sitting there like a duck in a bathtub, nor hovering stationary in the sky. Moskva was moving at anything between 10 and 30 knots. And presumably under some Russian variation of EMCON, to limit its electronic signature.

5) Ditto for the converted Boeing 737-800ERX that's the basis airframe for the P-8. Even at a slow loiter, it would be doing racetracks towards and away from the war zone, at anything near 200 knots (230MPH). Meaning within twenty minutes when headed away from point of nearest approach on the downstream leg, the Navy P-8 couldn't see Moskva even if it had beached itself on the tip of the Romanian coast. And at best detection location, it would be moving away a 4 miles/minute at least 50% of the time. (And realistically, any surveillance aircraft with squawk turned off isn't going to cut right up to the limit of the border of a nation that's an active war zone unless they want to try out their parachutes and life rafts. So figure they were already pulled back 10-20 miles for bare common sense reasons, which limits their target detection range even more.)

Speculation, Recockulous Speculation, And Wild ASSumptions

1) It's possible, and not unlikely, that the US and NATO are sharing some degree of intelligence with Ukraine. We stayed officially neutral in the Falklands War, but we were absolutely supplying satellite intel to Britain the entire time. It's presumptive that we're doing the same or similar with Ukraine now, though no one anywhere has admitted to any such thing. Nor will, for some years to come, unless they've got a hankering to see federal SuperMax prison from the inside.

2) It's highly unlikely we're supplying real-time targeting information, down to bearing and range, to the minute-of-cruiser standard, with any kind of near zero time-lag necessary to achieve hits. We have trouble doing that now between our own aircraft and our own troops on the ground. There's almost no way in hell we're doing it from the US Navy to the Uke Navy or ground command in real time, with the requisite degree of accuracy.

3) The ocean area of uncertainty in question is over 2000 square miles of flat blue water, 45 degrees apart from each other at the extremes. Surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles like the Neptune have a narrow cone of targeting success, and this on a target likely maneuvering at 20 knots or more. IOW, you could point one a mile or five off, and still get acquisition and hits. But you can't be shooting a missile from Scranton PA at Philadelphia, and get a hit on a target that's actually in NYFC, which is an exactly comparable degree of 1:1 scale.

4) Even if we were sending real-time intel, and dead-on balls-accurate targeting information to the Ukes at the speed of light to enable a successful attack, this is absolutely NOT tantamount to an act of war upon Russia.

a) US aircraft have been monitoring the situation since Feb. 25th. It's a little late to blow the rape whistle now, given the total dearth of any other such sinkings to try and prove a pattern. And you don't just wake up one day and decide to sink a cruiser, because somebody got a wild hare up their ass; neither in the US Navy, nor the Ukrainian defense forces. The very suggestion breaks the world record for the long jump by its very suggestion, and requires a level of inter-operability we have trouble pulling off with Canada or Great Britain in peacetime exercises, under ideal conditions, let alone with a non-NATO member amidst a war of survival.

(It might be exactly what happened, despite the extremely long odds against, and will make a fascinating never-before-revealed story in 75 years or so, but right now, on the merits, it's like inventing an entire dinosaur out of whole cloth after finding one bare tooth, or pulling globull warming out of your underpants, or Biden votes out of suitcases.)

b) Russia has categorically denied any enemy involvement on the conversion of Moskva from cruiser to submarine. No crime, no victim. QED

c) From 1966 to 1975, Russian surveillance "trawlers" sat 50 feet outside the coastal ADIZ of Guam, on a direct bearing from Andersen AFB to Hanoi, and radioed the departure of every B-52 headed to North Viet Nam, including heading and speed information, to give the NVA AA gunners and missileers exact time-of-arrival of US airstrikes headed to (then) North Viet Nam.

They did the same exact thing around the clock with trawler surveillance of every carrier sortie at Yankee Station launching air strikes from the ocean into the North for the entire duration of the war.

US pilots knew this 24/7/365, inclusive, for that entire conflict.

We lost 17 B-52s in combat over North Vietnam, and 102 aircrew killed, captured, or MIA, and literally hundreds of Navy and Marine Corps carrier-based aircraft were lost as well, with commensurately larger numbers of American aircrew killed, captured, or missing in action. At no point did anyone, anywhere seriously suggest that what the Russians were doing was casus belli, nor WWIII, nor did we increase our DEFCON level even one step in response. The Russians can eat shit on this: sauce for the goose is good for the gander. And they'd first have to trot out a new explanation for how their precious cruiser got all explodey, and then prove a causal link, which neither the USN nor Ukraine is inclined to hand them on a platter.

Short answer: Wild assumptions that any such thing took place are only missing one key thing: any evidence whatsoever to make it not only likely, but inevitable, that the story the Mail pulled out of their underpants is not only possible, but inevitably and necessarily likely.

Not. Happening.

None of that means Vlad isn't going to go all WWIII unhinged at any point (he'e pretty fucking far from sane as it is). But he'll have to be doing it out of pure unadulterated paranoia, without a shred of proof, nor even likelihood). But that's been the case every day since February 24th, and it says more about Puton's raging fulminant psychosis than it does about what's actually happened.

I don't just throw darts at a board to come up with this. That's analysis based on the facts in evidence. If you've got a counter-argument that's more than gainsaying, and not mined from pure-grade diaper spackle, trot it out, and let's see how it sounds.


Allen said...

ukraine has it's own naval tasked drones to do the targeting, and doesn't actually needs anyones help.

Michael said...

Aesop I'll limit my comment to open sources but I have family running Orions so your FOS in most of this posting.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The AN/APS-154 Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) is a multifunction radar installed on the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The radar is built by Raytheon as a follow-on to their AN/APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS).

The AAS has its roots in the highly classified AN/APS-149 LSRS, which was designed to provide multi-function moving target detection and tracking and high resolution ground mapping at standoff ranges covering land, littoral, and water areas. The radar was deployed on a small number of P-3C Orions, with "game changing" results. Containing a double-sided AESA radar with near 360-degree coverage, it could scan, map, track, and classify targets, and do all of these tasks near simultaneously; it was reportedly sensitive enough to pick up a formation of people moving over open terrain.[1]

Building upon the LSRS, the AAS also has a double-sided AESA radar, which contains a moving target indicator (MTI) that can detect, classify, and track targets on land and at sea at the same time, with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) for picture-like radar imagery of both inland and ocean areas at the same time; these can profile vessels from a long distance and generate fine resolution without relying on optical sensors, especially in day or night and in adverse weather conditions. Once it detects and classifies a hostile vessel, the P-8 can send targeting information to another armed platform and guide a networked weapon (e.g. Tomahawk cruise missiles, SLAM-ER, JASSM, LRASM, SDB II) to it through a data link. The AAS is in ways superior to the AN/APY-7 used on the U.S. Air Force's E-8 Joint STARS, looking both port and starboard rather than just being side-looking. Other potential missions could include detecting and tracking low flying and stealthy cruise missiles, communications relaying, and electronic warfare as a standoff platform to penetrate contested airspace, since AESA radars are capable of radar jamming, producing fake targets, frying electronic components, and even cyberwarfare.[1][2]

The AAS may be able to track submerged submarines by the faint tracks of their wakes on the surface of the oceans.[3]

Far improved sensors are on all operational Orions (all Variants).

Do you have any subject your not a expert on Sir?

Aesop said...


While all of that is fascinating, at least to you, you've gloriously overlooked the fact that none of that contradicts a single word I typed. Fail.

Is there any subject you know anything about? Starting with basic forensic argumentation, perhaps?

The key question, firstly, and one which you utterly ignored, is the range at which it can do those things.
Radars work by physics, not magic.
Google "inverse square law" and get back to us.
Then do some napkin math on the comparative cross section and radar reflectivity of a supercarrier or a fully-stacked container ship, vs. Moskva.

A P-8 can see a periscope, yes, but not from 250 miles away.

When you've reached basic competency at that point, we can move on to the harder concepts for you, like inter-operability, up- and downlinks, time delay, translation delay, and basic liaison problems, even more so with foreign powers using non-compatible equipment.

You're trying to attack a 3D problem between three items, two of them moving, on a sphere, by waving a sales brochure. 0 points.

Aesop said...


Find the remaining Wayback Machine or whatever copy of the blog of the sadly-and-too-soon departed WeaponsMan, and refer to his enduring comment about Comrade S.:

"Is that old communist still around?"

If I ever want the Russian party line, I'll just go to TASS, and get it straight from the tap, unfiltered.

Aesop said...


When you finish your homework, you might also note that the P-8 can only see 245 miles at its nominal 40k' service ceiling.

The lower it's flying, the less it can see.

This might help you out:

So some variables (none of which you have the slightest clue about) to make an intelligent point would be

a) What altitude was the P-8 flying at when Moskva was fired upon?
b) What were the locations, respectively, of the Moskva and the P-8 when Moskva exploded?

Knowing that I didn't know those answers either, I gave the P-8 maximum benefit of the doubt, and looked at the problem from that angle, to see what it could have potentially seen.

That's called "setting up the equation", and it doesn't require the subject matter expertise obtained by being one of the GIBs on a P-3C, just common sense and a modicum of basic ability. You should try that.

And if the P-8 could only see Moskva at 70 miles or so, broadside, it's overwhelmingly likely that the ship was out of range entirely, and the Mail has just conflated two wholly unrelated facts into their jackassical narrative.

If the P-8 was exactly where it was reported by the Pentagon (which is anywhere along 100+ miles of Romanian Black Sea coast), it could well have been so far south from the incident when it happened that it never saw the action, which is why the Pentagon couldn't state categorically how Moskva came to suddenly explode, because that mission was miles beyond the radar horizon and/or effective ID range, thus making any definitive determination impossible.

Consider the possibility that when the pentagon says "We don't know", it's because they don't know. If only for the novelty.

File that revelation under: "Duh."

Then either offer actual relevant evidence, and/or cough up variables you don't possess, if you think you're going to argue your way to victory.
Math is hard. Show your work.

In the ongoing question regarding the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow, you just got thrown into the Gorge Of Eternal Peril under the Bridge Of Death.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

I learnt some things here.

Aesop said...

Now if only Michael would.

Starting with the news (to him) that the last active-duty Orions were retired from service in 2020, and we're talking about a completely different airframe here.

I even posted a helpful picture, but he was so busy telling me about the obsolete P-3 expertise he acquired osmotically via family, he missed that fine detail.

BTW, the only actual subject-matter expert on this topic is Old NFO, who pissed away most of his adult life in P-3 Orions, and he's not saying anything about this incident, when last I looked. And from what I've observed in life, the only guys quieter than the Silent Service, are the anti-submarine guys. Probably for the same reason you don't read a lot of novels from counter-snipers.

RandyGC said...

This whole story reminds me of when J-school grads and Tin Foil Hatters noted an RC-135 off Kamchatka in September 1983 (something that happened regularly and routinely) and magically tied it to the shoot down of KAL-007, despite the fact that said RC was already back at base when all of this happened. And a lot of other reasons the story was bullshit that I am not discussing on an open forum.

Suffice to say I happened to be visiting a MAJCOM command post that morning and saw the tracks and timing myself and discussed the incident with folks who were on duty at the time.

June J said...

As a former SSN'er my experience is that P3 Orions couldn't locate US Submarines 90% of the time. I've been on countless exercises where the sub was made to broach or otherwise do something out of the ordinary so the ASW guys could locate it.

For the Russian Navy's inability not to blow up their own ships by accident I have no reason to believe they are any more competent than the current USN.

Capitalist Eric said...

>>"While all of that is fascinating, at least to you, you've gloriously overlooked the fact that none of that contradicts a single word I typed. Fail."<<

Actually it is YOU that failed.

He just made a complete fool of you, but did it in such a way that you literally missed the whole thing. Rarely do I see an opponent in a debate so effectively destroyed, with such understated elegance.

I sincerely hope you're better at medicine than you are discussing the finer points of technology, or logic. And even more importantly, I hope your bloated ego doesn't get your patients killed. Seriously.


Michael said...

Well played Aesop.

I pointed out the old style P3 could do the deed and perhaps the current P8 might be a bit better at its multi-role missions.

Anonymous said...

The simple weather radar in the P-8, from 5000ft, could spot a ship 1/4 the size of the Moskva at 150 miles! The wx radar in a piper navajo, flyingat 5000ft, can see a 50' fiberglass fishing boat at 130 miles, as clear as day! A radar receiver, like the old rhaw an/apr-25, could id radar type, and bearing from 200+ miles, so knowing where the Moskva was, at any time that any of it's systems were turned on, was can do easy. Hell! The israeli OFEK-16 parked overhead, coordinating with the khazarians, and ashkeNAZI's, could feed the bad guys targeting data, 24/7!

Anonymous said...

Me humble comment here is non-contributory, but I'm so confused I don't even know WTF to ask. I'll just stick with tweeking me 155 grain loads Berger for me M1A's. Sheesh.

Mike-SMO said...

I am still curious about how a Ukrainian missile, where ever they got general targeting info, got through the CIWS of the Moskva. The 30 mm Gatlings are serious hardware. To say nothing of decoys and such. Must have been the Pixie Dust.

True that the Russkies haven't admitted a missile(s) hit, but since it is war-time, they will not admit anything that might release a tidbit of useful information. It is never the less odd that the cruiser developed a smoke problem just after the Ukrainians claimed the launch of a few missiles, built with the Cossack Secret Sauce. The Russians reportedly moved their ships south and out of range but there has got to be lots of stateroom sweat on this one.

Jonathan H said...

That article is almost entirely speculation from a tabloid. Who in their right mind gives it any credence?

And in case you were still not sure, it describes following the movement of Russian warships from Poland, along Ukraine, and into the Black Sea... Which is a LAND border, not sea! If they can't get geography right, why should we trust anything else they write?

Aesop said...

@Anon 10:52,

Wear your dunce cap with pride.
At 5000' altitude, assuming a 10m tall target, the horizon is at 86 miles.
You, too, could look it up.

But thanks for telling the class that the humble weather radar on a Piper can see through the ocean and the earth's crust to a range of an additional 44 miles, using tech from 1984!

One questions why the Ukes wouldn't just point their own magic radars straight through the earth's crust, and get the information themselves, were this wonder possible.

Stay anonymous: no one wants to know who you are, with that raging intellectual prowess.

I took them to be describing the various different areas around the periphery that the USN is tracking operations in the conflict, not describing this as one continuous flight by one aircraft.

RandyGC said...


Yeah I kind of wonder about the details of that "engagement" myself.

It could be the Ukrainians fired more missiles than they admitted. Or the there was an equipment failure of CIWS targeting systems or gun platform, incompetence, or just plain bad luck. Murphy gets a vote on every engagement.

I will say from my time working with the TOMAHAWK systems in the 80's, I found that the Soviet version of the CIWIS had some, interesting, operational characteristics. Since the Moskva was built in Ukraine, I'm sure they would be fully aware of any potential vulnerabilities they could exploit.

John Wilder said...

Maybe the Mail believes in a flat Earth?

Aesop said...


Dude, please.
The article you referenced noted that they deployed the surface-search radar in a few P-3s prior to settling on the P-8 as the new ASW A/C. The P-3s were retired from active service two years ago, yet you stupidly claimed they'd made the ID with an Orion at BCE's place, because you don't even know the difference between a 1950s-era 4-engine prop plane from Lockheed, and a 1960s-era twin-engine jetliner from Boeing turned out from a 1994 upgrade of same.

Nowhere does that article give range capabilities of the radar in question, and the P-3 could not "do the deed" either, because radar is physics, and physics dictates that what you've imagined is simply not possible.

Back to school for the Dunce Corner, because this is still baffling the shit out of you:
The Navy cops to being able to track target ships with a radar Cross Section (RCS) of 10,000 meters². Those would be giant container ships, empty supertankers, and Nimitz-class supercarriers.
The RCS of Moskva comes to about 1/3 that size, around 3700 meters² (and that was a generous fudge), but only when viewed from flat broadside.

The P-3's max ceiling is 28,300'. The P-8's is 41,000'.
Because of this thing called physics (have someone look that word up and explain it to you) the P-3 is limited to seeing nothing farther than about 206 miles, whereas the P-8 can get to about 246 miles, under ideal conditions of both aircraft and target.

If you can "see" (with radar) a skyscraper-sized target at 222 miles, you'd need to be horrendously closer to see a target with radar that was only 1/3rd as big, under best conditions, because radar scatters with the square of the distance travelled, (You never looked up, let alone grasped, the Inverse Square Rule, did you?) so you won't get anything near enough return to see a far smaller target until you're much closer to it.

Let alone ID it conclusively at far BVR (beyond visual range).

Not even with the super-duper radar on the P-8.

Which is exactly the point at issue. There's a bare chance the P-8 in the same hemisphere might have been close enough at some points to spot a target the size of Moskva, but it would have been highly unlikely, and against the odds. It is far likelier, in fact, that the P-8 never got close enough to even see any part of the Russian fleet, let alone the actual incident, which explains rather simply why the Navy couldn't say who or what had caused Moskva to explode, from the get-go.

Aesop said...

And yet, being yourself wholly uninformed of the non-published and militarily classified actual radar specs of the P-8s surface-search radar, nor what the altitude of the P-8 in question was at any point in its patrol, nor its location at the time of the incident, nor the position of Moskva at any point in the whole fiasco (which are the difference between putting a mugger "somewhere in the state of New York", versus putting him "leaning over the mugging victim at the boathouse in Central Park with a pipe in his hand at the exact time of the mugging") here you plop, blissfully ignorant too of the gaping holes in your position, assuring us yet again that you've "got this", beyond even the most charitable grant of intellectual liberty.

This is why, when you speak on this topic, your ass cheeks are flapping.
As we suggested over at BCE's place, stop flapping, and go bandage your bleeding posterior, until you can speak on the topic with both a basic understanding, which you're sorely lacking, or further insight into the exact variables as yet unreleased to the world at large.

Lacking both of those crucial things, you're just bleeding on yourself.

Please be so kind as to take Capitalist Eric to the urgent care with you, as he seems to grasp even less of this than you do (if that's possible), and can't feel the enormous bump protruding from his skull where he ran into the same brick wall of reality.

Maybe, if we feel inclined, we'll do some pictures in Paint for an article, and explain this at the crayon level for the Thick Skull Platoon. We're not sure we wish to bother, but it's possible our conscience will lead us to pity the clot-headed, once again.

Anonymous said...

You are an absolute savage.

Mike-SMO said...

Hate to intrude in your fun, but the Moskva could have been located from electronic noise, drone sensors, someone's submarine, a satellite, or the Captain's Sweety (How do you say, "Mata Hari" in Rooski?). And, the Moskva was part of a group, but the missile picked out the high value target. The contribution of a possible NATO P-8 is the least of the unknowns. There are fingerprints from wizards and witches all over this action.

Aesop said...

@Anon 9:01P,

I don't suffer fools gladly.
If Michael had tried talking, instead of bloviating from ignorance, we could have had a nice chat. He chose poorly.


Exactly so. The Mail article was simply uninformed journos talking out of their asses, which was why its choice by Matt B or WRSA as a serious subject was simply abysmally poor. I'm not Old NFO: I don't have an entire Naval career doing maritime patrol and ASW. I'm also not a physics professor, or a Pentagon staff officer.

And yet I could document and pick apart the gaping flaws in the whole pile of shit they printed in about 30 seconds, research it in a few minutes with mere mouseclicks, and explain them in about 3 minutes' time.

The idea advanced is that recockulous, on the merits.

Jonathan H said...

I agree that that is what they meant, but they were sure sloppy in saying it!

Joe in PNG said...

I kinda suspect that the Moskiva's CIWS was neglected and had long rusted into a lump of inert metal.