Weird weather phenomenon might have helped Ukraine sink a Russian warship 55 miles away, scientists reveal
- Two Neptune anti-ship missiles hit the ship from a shockingly long distance
- Physicists suggest that weather conditions enhanced the radar signals
- Read more: Ukraine mocks Putin with new footage of missile strike
A weather phenomenon may have given Ukraine the impetus to target and attack a Russian warship from 55 miles away, a new study shows.
The Russian guided missile cruiser “Moskva” was attacked on April 13, 2022, and a few days later, official reports confirmed its sinking.
A team of Swedish physicists determined that Ukraine’s victory was due to a temperature inversion, which is when warm air traps cold air at a lower altitude.
This bizarre incident allowed the Ukrainian radar to “see” further than designed, allowing it to target the enemy ship at long range.
The Russian cruiser Moskva fell victim to weather conditions that enabled Ukrainian weapons operators to target it from a longer distance than would normally be possible.
The Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva was attacked on April 13, 2022, and a few days later, official reports confirmed its sinking.
The attack dealt Russia a heavy tactical and symbolic blow in the first months of the war that began in February 2022.
Shortly after the attack, reports emerged that Ukraine had sent the cruiser Moskva with two R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles, but this did not fully explain the feat.
Ukrainian radar and weapons operators were not supposed to be able to get a pill on board.
At the time of the attack, Moscow was about 80 nautical miles (150 km) south of Odessa and 50 nautical miles (90 km) off the Ukrainian coast.
Ukraine’s Neptune missile system operates using a radar called Mineral-U, a “search and track” radar system that gives a ground-based missile launcher the coordinates to attack.
“Given that Moskva at the time of the missile launch was located far beyond the normal radar horizon of any ground-based radar system, it was an open question how the Mineral-U radar was able to detect the warship on April 13.” “2022,” wrote the scientists who authored the new study that proposed the temperature inversion theory.
The team used meteorological data from the day of the missile attack to model how radar waves would behave that day.
Normally, radar waves propagate at least 15% beyond the geometric horizon when they bounce out of the atmosphere and return to the planet’s surface
Air higher above the ground is usually cooler. A temperature extreme inversion occurs when cold air at lower altitudes is trapped by a blanket of warmer air – the opposite of the natural gradient.
Two R-360 Neptune anti-ship missiles hit the cruiser Moskva on April 13, 2022. Ukrainian forces achieved the feat with some help from a lucky weather pattern.
Moskva departed Sevastopol Bay for the last time on 10 April 2022
Meteorological data show that persistent winds off the Ukrainian coast brought warm, dry continental air masses out to sea above the cold, humid marine layer of the atmosphere on the day of the attack.
This coup extended from the ground to the Moskva site.
Atmospheric models show that this reversal enabled radar waves to travel farther than usual, causing Moskva to appear on Ukrainian radar.
Once they appeared, launching the two Neptune missiles and hitting the cruiser was a simple matter.
“The results show that atmospheric conditions must be considered carefully, even during war, because their influence on the propagation of radar waves can be significant,” the scientists wrote.
Following the attack, Russian officials initially claimed that the ship was afloat and being towed to a port in Crimea for repairs. They admitted that it was damaged, but claimed that an ammunition explosion was the cause.
Several early and unconfirmed reports offered explanations for the hoax. Some claimed that the United States provided Ukrainian forces with Moscow coordinates. Others said drones had located the ship.
Evidence for these claims was missing or incomplete.
Ukrainian news reports in late December 2022 confirmed that Ukrainian radar operators detected a large target on their radar shortly before the Neptune missiles were launched.
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