Production of these advanced missiles is currently in its nascent stage, with only a few dozen units manufactured as of late August.

Ukraine is actively researching and creating a new variant of the Neptune missile. According to reports, this will be a new land-based version of the famous Neptune anti-ship cruise missile. The adjustment mainly concerns the R-360 missile from the Neptune complex, which is now designed to attack ground targets.

This development marks a significant advancement in the Neptune missile system, highlighting Ukraine’s continuous efforts in defense innovation. This modified version of the missile boasts impressive enhancements. Its potential range is estimated at 400 km, a substantial increase from the 300 km range of its naval counterpart. Furthermore, the warhead’s weight has been upped to 350 kg, more than doubling the original 150 kg. These figures, however, might not be the final specifications, as ongoing developments could lead to further refinements.

Production of these advanced missiles is currently in its nascent stage, with only a few dozen units manufactured as of late August. Notably, the new Neptune variant retains the thermal imaging-based homing system for target acquisition, a feature that uses pre-loaded images for precise targeting. Additionally, it employs the same launcher as the anti-ship version, ensuring seamless integration into existing systems.

According to observers, the R-360 Neptune was initially developed to engage enemy warships. The missile was developed by the Luch design office, based on the Soviet subsonic Kh-35 anti-ship missile, with significantly improved range, targeting and electronics. In 2021 a pre-production system was delivered to Ukrainian military for testing. In 2021 Ukrainian MoD funded production of a batch of Neptun coastal defense systems. The Neptune missile is said to have destroyed the Russian cruiser Moskva on April 13, 2022, a testament to its effectiveness.

In terms of performance the Neptun is generally similar to the Russian Kh-35U. It has a planned range of up to 280-300 km, and carries a 145 kg High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead, should be efficient against vessels with a displacement of up to 5,000 tons. Neptun uses an inertial navigation system with active radar in the final stages of flight. The missile will fly 10-15 meters above the surface. In the terminal stage, it will descend to 3-10 meters above the surface in order to overcome hostile defense systems.

Overall the new Ukrainian coastal defense missile system could be an equivalent of a Russian Bal coastal defense system. A typical Neptun coastal defense battery consists of 6 launcher vehicles with a total of 24 anti-ship missiles. Launcher vehicles can be located up to 25 km from the sea. It takes 15 minutes to prepare this coastal defense missile system for firing.


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