In the 1960's the range of Polaris Submarine missiles were known to the Soviets and it was apparent that western SSBN's would have to launch in the eastern Mediterranean to hit the Russian heart land. To counter a proposed western strike the Moskva was developed to operate with the Black Sea Fleet. She was deployed with a powerful force of antisubmarine AS helicopters to find and destroy any SSBN menacing the USSR Motherland. So two land locked bodies of water the Black Sea controlled by the Soviet Union and the Mediterranean controlled by the US Navy and her western allies became a type of power stalemate.
The Moskva and her sister ship, the Leningrad, were the Soviet Navy's first launched carriers. They were not true carriers in the since they were not capable in launching fixed wing aircraft. With only helicopters on board the Soviet escort fleet would be needed to protect the carrier against any surface threat. The design was comparable to the French Jeanne d'Arc and the Italian Vittorio Veneto. All had multipurpose naval armament on the forward part of the ship and used the aft for aviation launch and recovery space.
The Moskva shipboard armament included both AA and AS weapons. Two twin SA-N-3 Goblet SAM launchers having a 30km/18.6 mile range with reload for a total of 48 surface-to-air missiles. Additional redundancies included assigning a director to each launch crew. Also a twin SUW-N-1 launcher capable of delivering a FRAS-1 projectile carrying a 450 mm torpedo or a 5 kiloton nuclear warhead with a range of 24km/14.9 miles. The down side of launching this weapon was the short range and the enemy would be well within striking distance. A pair of RBU-6000 ASW mortars along with a set of torpedo tubes that were eventually removed. For self-defense, the Moskvas had two twin 57 mm guns and trailing variable depth sonar working in conjunction with helicopter sensors to hunt submarines. The helicopters had dipping sonar.
These ships were laid down at Nikolayev South Shipyard No.444. The Moskva was launched in 1965 and was commissioned two years later. The second ship in class was the Leningrad that was commissioned in1968. No additional ships were built due to poor handling in rough seas. Both were conventionally powered and scrapped in the 1990's.
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