The Ukrainian missile attack that sank the Russian Navy Slava-class cruiser Moskva should revive discussion regarding the tradeoffs for antiship missiles.
The cruiser was struck by two Neptune antiship cruise missiles (ASCMs) with 330-pound warheads. Photographs show she had a significant fire in the forward superstructure; media reports state that she suffered a secondary explosion from a magazine or one of her own large missiles. After some hours, she sank while under tow.
The number of hits is significantly less than the number predicted by this common rule of thumb—the amount of thousand-pound bomb high-explosive equivalents to disable a ship is approximately equal to the cube root of one-thousandth of a ship’s tonnage. Roughly, this model indicates that it should have taken five Neptune ASCMs to put Moskva out of action, not two.