Status: 09.12.2023, 09:01 a.m.
In the war against Russia, Ukraine is giving a well-known cruise missile model a far-reaching upgrade.
Kiev - From the Ukrainian point of view, the defensive war against the aggressor from Russia requires not only an incredible amount of weapons and ammunition, but also constant technological progress. Apparently, the cruise missile system "Neptune" is now to experience a noticeable improvement.
Ukraine has high hopes for the further development of its Neptune missile system. © IMAGO / YAY Images
Ukraine continues to develop Neptune rocket
As the online portal Defense Express writes, citing Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Havryliuk, the government of Volodymyr Zelensky is in the process of developing a new Neptune missile variant for the Ukraine war. "Work is currently underway to produce the so-called Long Neptune. This is a new modification of the rocket for the Neptune system," Havryliuk is quoted as saying.
Concrete details about the upgrade are not known, but the experts at Defense Express assume that the improvements relate to an adaptation of the R-360 missile for the Neptune system. So far, this has been used primarily for coastal defense against sea targets, but also has the ability to attack objects on land.
Confirms the work on the "Long Neptune": Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Ivan Havryliuk. © IMAGO / Ukrainian News
Only a few rockets have been produced so far
The R-360 Neptune, which is technically based on the Ch-35 anti-ship missile, was developed in 2013 and apparently first used in April 2022, in an attack on the Russian guided missile cruiser Moskva. To date, according to consistent media reports, only a few dozen of these missiles have been produced.
The upgrade of the Neptune model, which is now being considered, could give it an increased range of up to 400 kilometers compared to the current range of up to 300 kilometers. In addition, the warhead weight could be increased from 150 kilograms to up to 350 kilograms, according to Defense Express, referring to the preliminary nature of these figures. In addition, it is expected that the new Neptune cruise missiles will work with a thermal homing system. This should make it possible to locate and target a target based on a pre-installed image.
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Costly investments in the Neptune project
The modernization of the Neptune system does not come cheaply Kiev in the fight against Russia. The investments in technical development are to be a significant part of an overall package for missile weapons and ammunition in the amount of 175 billion hryvnia (about 4.75 billion US dollars). This corresponds to about one-sixth of the budget of Ukraine's defense budget for 2024.
The Neptune missiles are developed and produced by Ukraine's defense industry itself. The production of its own long-range missiles is essential for the besieged country, writes Defense Express, since foreign allies most often impose restrictions on these types of weapons, in particular, the ban on attacking targets inside Russia. While Ukraine is trying to improve its military effectiveness, a first NATO partner has now announced that it will stop arms deliveries.