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Ukraine plans to expand Operational Range of Neptune Anti-Ship Missile System to 1000 km.

| Naval News Navy 2024

Ukraine is set to extend the operational range of its Neptune anti-ship missile system from 300 km to 1000 km and increase its production by ten times. This announcement comes following a November 2023 meeting between the US Congress National Defense Strategy Committee and the Ukrainian Minister of Strategic Industries.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Since its introduction in 2021, the Neptune anti-ship missile had a major impact on the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleet (Picture source: Ukraine MoD)

The Neptune missile, a pivotal element of Ukraine’s coastal defense, has undergone significant upgrades since its initial deployment. Developed by the Luch Design Bureau, the missile has been refined from its 2022 specifications to include advanced targeting capabilities. Now equipped with pre-loaded target data, the missile lowers its altitude to near wave-top levels as it approaches its target, activating its active radar homing in the terminal phase to enhance accuracy and evade enemy defenses.

This missile system includes a variety of integrated components such as the USPU-360 mobile launcher, the TZM-360 transport/reload vehicle, and the RCP-360 command and control vehicle. These are complemented by logistical support vehicles, all mounted on Czech Tatra T815-7 trucks, replacing the earlier KrAZ models used in prototypes. This setup allows the system to operate effectively both along the coast and up to 25 kilometers inland, ensuring flexibility in deployment and operational readiness.

The Neptune missile itself is a formidable weapon. Over 5 meters long and equipped with a 150 kg high-explosive fragmentation warhead, it can strike targets up to 300 kilometers away. The system's architecture includes a mobile command post and a series of transport-launch containers that facilitate rapid deployment and rearming.

Speculation about the system's capabilities increased following the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva, which was reportedly overwhelmed by a salvo of Neptune missiles. The design’s emphasis on low-altitude flight in the terminal phase is aimed at minimizing radar detection, making it a strategic asset in maritime engagements.

With the range extension to 1000 km, the Neptune missile system not only enhances Ukraine’s defensive capabilities but also potentially alters the operational landscape in the Black Sea region. This escalation in missile technology and production capacity highlights the ongoing intensity and technological evolution in regional military dynamics. As Ukraine prepares to deploy these advanced systems along the Azov Sea coast, the implications for naval strategy in the region remain a significant international interest and strategic calculation.

Ukraine plans to expand Operational Range of Neptune Anti Ship Missile System to 1000 km

Artist rendering about the modified Neptune naval strike missile. (Picture source: @ChuckPfarrer)

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