The first combat use of the Neptune RCC took place in 2022 during the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. On April 3, there was information that the frigate of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy "Admiral Essen" was damaged. On April 13, Ukrainian media reported that the Moscow missile cruiser had been hit by two Neptune missiles. Outwardly, the missile is similar to the Soviet X-35 missile, which is part of the Russian Bal complex. However, at the same time, the missile is similar to the American Harpoon, the French Exocett or the British Sea Eagle.
U.S. defense spokesman John Kirby said on April 14 that the U.S. military "isn't quite sure what happened here" - an accident or a Ukrainian missile hit. "We estimate that the ship is able to make its way, and it does; we think that it is moving to the east. We think that it will probably be taken to Sevastopol for repairs, but we do not know what exactly caused this" Kirby added. The Pentagon spokesman said the ship, along with several other Russian vessels, was about 60 miles (about 96 kilometers) south of
Ex-secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov stated that a Ukrainian cruise missile hit another key Russian ship, the Admiral Essen. "Essen's anti-missile means only detected the threat when approaching, opening barrage fire, but even with damage, our missile inflicted significant damage on the ship, removing it from the combat operation." Turchinov, was 2015-2019 was in charge of the missile program of Ukraine.
The anti-ship missile system RK-360 MC “Neptun” is the pride of the Ukrainian defense industry. Moreover, it was developed from scratch and in cooperation with leading Ukrainian defense enterprises. The main purpose of "Neptune" is to protect the sea borders of Ukraine. "Neptune" can engage warships of the cruiser, destroyer, frigate, corvette, landing and tank landing ships. "Neptune" can become a threat both for single enemy ships and for a group of ships at a distance of up to 280 km. At the same time, the launch of pro-ship missiles can be carried out at a distance of up to 25 km from the coast.
ASM "Neptune" is a subsonic missile (that is, it flies at a speed lower than the speed of sound - 331.46 m / s under normal conditions). The flight pattern is standard for a cruise missile. On the marching section, the flight height is 10-30 m, in the final section - 4-5 m. The warhead is a high-explosive fragment. By equipping with different types of seeker, it can hit various types of targets. Both with known coordinates and used as an anti-radar missile. The missile is capable of providing a firing range at a sea target of 280 km, and at a stationary coastal target - at a long range. The length of the booster rocket itself is 5050 mm. TPK with a cruciform folding wing missile can be placed on land, sea or air carriers. Other tactical and technical characteristics of the missile are currently classified.
In the absence of a powerful combat fleet at the Ukrainian naval forces, "Neptune" can become the main guarantor of control over the water area of Ukrainian seas. Therefore, the creation of such a missile system is a breakthrough in the Ukrainian defense industry. In addition, the RK "Neptune" includes not only the launcher, but also the TZM-360 transport and loading vehicle, the RCP-360 command post and other equipment. And it was all created from scratch. Thus, Ukraine has confirmed its qualifications in missile armament.
The new Ukrainian missile - the Neptune anti-ship complex - is said to be completely neutralizing the activities of the Russian fleet. With a range of 300 kilometers, the rocket will calmly find a target at any point. In principle, little is known about the Neptune complex. Nevertheless, the details are quite obvious - he, like a twin brother, resembles the Russian Kh-35 anti-ship missile. During the Soviet era, engineers from the Luch Kiev design bureau worked on the development of this machine. The engine was to be made at the Zaporozhye Motorsich, and the final assembly of the product was to be done at the Kharkov Aviation Plant. The collapse of the Union of Socialist Republics put an end to the project. Nevertheless, Ukraine inherited all the project documentation and, oddly enough, did not lose and did not sell it.
The probable development of three modifications of the Neptune missile system (ship-based, ground-based and air-based) was announced in 2016. At the same time, it was reported that promising missiles would be placed in transport and launch containers (TPK) with dimensions of 5300 × 600 × 600 mm. At the same time, the appearance of the new anti-ship cruise missile (ASM) as a key element of the Neptune anti-ship missile system was first presented even earlier - at the Arms and Security 2015 exhibition in Kiev.
It is noteworthy that the homing head has high viewing angles of + -60 degrees, which is more than that of the American Harpoon with + -45. The missile is capable of capturing a target at a distance of up to 50 km. The missile flies at low altitudes and can also overcome radio interference and air defense systems. This has been proven during test launches. According to information from open sources, as of the spring of 2016, the first flight samples of a cruise missile were made, and on March 22, 2016, in the presence of NSDC Secretary Alexander Turchinov, its first tests were carried out. The project moved according to plan, and in the middle of 2017, according to Valery Pavlyukov, President of the TASCO Corporation, a missile test was carried out in parallel with the Alder missile tests. At the same time, unlike the Alder, the tests and capabilities of the Neptune rocket were not advertised at that time.
On 30 January 2018, the National Security and Defense Council announced tests of the first cruise missile made entirely in Ukraine. In the media, she became known under the designation "Neptune." Neptune is similar to the Soviet X-35 missile, also known as 3M24 Uranus, but with significant modifications. The missile range is 280 kilometers. Three modifications are planned: ship, ground and air based. Neptune will be placed in transport and launch containers. The length of the accelerator rocket is five meters. The mission of the missile is the defeat of warships and transport ships; it will be armed with coastal defense units. Design bureau "Luch" developed the rocket.
"After the complete disarmament of the Ukrainian army, according to the Budapest Memorandum, there was not a single cruise missile in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces," said Secretary of the National Security Council Oleksandr Turichnov, justifying the need for developments conducted by the Luch State Design Bureau (GKB). And although the name of the new cruise missile was not directly mentioned, military experts concluded that it was a Neptune anti-ship missile project , which had been developed by the aforementioned design bureau for a long time. Its basis can be considered the Soviet and Russian anti-ship missile X-35, however, with significant modifications.
The director of Defense Express, an information and consulting company, Sergey Zgurets, who spoke with the management of the Luch State Design Bureau, opened a number of preliminary tactical and technical characteristics (TTX) of Neptune (the final ones will be known after all the tests). It is a subsonic missile (that is, its flight speed does not exceed the speed of sound). On the marching section, flight altitude: 10-30 m, on the final: 4-5 m (such relatively low altitudes are one of the strengths of cruise missiles, as they complicate their detection by radar systems). The potential of homing heads allows destroying targets both at sea and on land. The warhead is high-explosive fragmentation (can be used against various targets, except for heavily armored, underground or underwater).
This is a completely national project - it is not dependent on foreign partners, which is of particular importance against the backdrop of the refusal of some Western defense companies to supply Ukraine with similar samples or components to them. It can be argued that State Enterprise Kyiv Design Bureau "Luch" has created a new national high-tech cooperative, which includes enterprises that provide the creation of combat units, control systems, homing heads of various types, radio altimeters and more.
The “marine” version of “Neptune” - “Neptune-V” - will be developed for coastal missile systems, and will also be able to be installed on ships, in particular, on new Lan boats, which they plan to launch in 2018. Some Ukrainian experts doubt that Neptune is a new development. There are opinions that the “Luch” simply modified the Soviet anti-ship missile X-35 or borrowed technological solutions implemented in the American RGM-84 “Harpoon” rocket.
By 2019 "Neptune" still had to go through many tests before it takes over on combat duty. But there is already something to wait. Note that "Neptune" is based on a Ukrainian-made chassis. The KrAZ-7634NE 8x8 is used for the launcher, the rest of the vehicles are based on the KrAZ-6322. GKKB "LUCH", GHK "Artem" and SE "Zhulyanskiy machine-building plant" VIZAR "," AvtoKrAZ "," Ukrainian armored vehicles "and others took part in the creation of the complex.
The general director of the Tactical Missile Armaments Corporation Boris Obnosov said that the Russian Kh-35U missile "is fundamentally different from the previous one." For example, it has a different engine, additional space is freed up for fuel. As a result, the range of its flight increased to 260 kilometers. And, it seems, she was taught to work in a group, which the Ukrainian model does not have.
Former Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchinov said that the Neptune cruise missiles could "in a matter of minutes blow" the bridge across the Kerch Strait. In addition, they will destroy warships of the Russian Navy "of any class in the ports of the Black and Azov" seas. It is impossible not to agree, they can. But Mr. Turchynov and other Ukrainian experts constantly ignore that they will have to fight not with the natives on wooden pies, but with the most modern operational-strategic association of the Russian Navy in Crimea. And in Soviet times, his zone of responsibility included not only the Black and Mediterranean Seas, but even the Indian Ocean. Today's ambitions are more modest, but still very ambitious.
The strategic feature of Crimea and its main military base - Sevastopol - is that it is the center of the Black Sea theater of military operations in any direction for the use of weapons. Being in this territory, Russia completely controls everything that happens in the region. This force is projected by the Moskva missile cruiser with the P-500 Basalt anti-ship missiles, the patrols of the far sea zone, three of which are armed with Kalibr cruise missiles, large landing ships and several small missile ships also with long-range cruise missiles. And one more plus to this - six diesel submarines of Project 636.3 "Varshavyanka", again with the same notorious "Calibers". In 2021, it is expected that Project 22800 Karakurt small missile ships will also be added to the combat strength.
Three countries are interested in the domestic anti-ship missile complex ZhK-360MTS "Neptune". Oleg Korostelev, general designer of the LUCH design bureau, spoke about this 21 July 2021 in an interview with Novinarna, Depo.ua informs. He noted that negotiations over the purchase are ongoing at various stages. The greatest progress is now with Indonesia, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the supply of the Neptune RK-360MTS coastal mobile missile system. "Indonesia continues negotiations, they are interested in our Neptune. There are two more countries, but negotiations with them are a very crude beginning, and it is too early to talk about it," said Korostelev. Thus, Indonesia can become the first foreign buyer of the Neptune complex, which was adopted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on August 23, 2020.
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