WASHINGTON — Ukrainian state-run defense firm Ukroboronprom has announced a successful test of the new Neptun cruise missile. The anti-ship missile struck a maritime target 100 kilometers away from its launch point in the south of the Odesa region on Aug. 17.
Locally developed by the Kyiv-based state design bureau Luch, the Neptun is a subsonic anti-ship cruise missile with a reported maximum range between 280 and 300 kilometers. Ground- and air-launched variants that could be used to strike targets as far away as Moscow are reportedly in development.
Following the test, Ukrainian Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov said: “Ukrainian cruise missiles are capable of providing reliable defense of the Black Sea and Azov coast, affecting enemy vessels at distances up to 300 kilometers, if necessary, even in the ports they are based.”
Turchynov added that Neptun variants could be used to target military infrastructure, specifically “strategic bridges and ferry crossings in case of their use by the enemy for aggression against [Ukraine].”
According to Ukrainian defense expert Serhiy Sguretz, the missile is equipped with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead and flies a normal cruise missile trajectory at altitudes between 10 and 30 meters. Some reporting suggests the missile uses an inertial navigation system for guidance, but official guidance system information has not be published.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies' Missile Defense Project notes the missile is visibly similar to the Russian Kh-35.
Daniel Cebul is an editorial fellow and general assignments writer for Defense News, C4ISRNET, Fifth Domain and Federal Times.