Ukrainian scientists and military engineers are currently working on the development of a long-range missile known as “Long Neptune." According to the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Ivan Havryliuk, this secret project aims to create a new type of missile that could potentially be integrated into Ukraine's air defense system. Due to the classified nature of the work, he did not disclose any additional details. He did, however, mention that the work on upgrading the Buk and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems is also ongoing.
According to Defense Express, the footage of the first launch indicates that it could be an adaptation of the R-360 missile from the Neptune system, specifically designed for striking ground targets. The potential range of this missile is estimated to be around 400 km, with a warhead weighing 350 kg. These figures represent an increase compared to the anti-ship version, which has a range of 300 km and a warhead weighing 150 kg.
It is reported that the Neptune missile utilizes a self-guidance system with thermal imaging technology for target detection and acquisition. The missile program has a budget of over 170 billion hryvnia ($4.7 billion). The Neptune missile itself is subsonic and boasts a low radar cross-section, making it difficult to detect and target. It can fly at a low altitude of 5 to 10 meters above water surfaces. Additionally, it is equipped with a combined guidance system that includes satellite navigation and an active radar seeker.
The Neptune missile was officially incorporated into the Ukrainian military in 2021. On April 13, 2022, two Neptune missiles successfully struck and sank the prominent Russian Black Sea Fleet's flagship, the cruiser named Moskva. This event marked the first significant victory against a major Russian warship since the beginning of the war.