Country of origin
~ 4.4 m
Missile length (with booster)
~ 0.4 m
~ 1.3 m
Range of fire
up to 280 km
The RK-360MC Neptun (Neptune)
is a Ukrainian anti-ship missile system. It was developed by Luch
design bureau. It uses R-360 anti-ship cruise missile, version of
Kh-35. It is generally similar to the Kh-35U, but has a longer body
with more fuel, larger booster, and some other modifications.
This missile was first announced in 2013. First examples were
reportedly completed and tested in 2016. At the time this missile
reportedly lacked guidance system. This missile has a range of up to 280 km.
It could be carried and launched from
naval, land and air platforms. Development of
the Neptun anti-ship missile was completed in 2019. Ukrainian
military trials of this missile were completed in 2020. Deliveries
to Ukrainian military should begin in the near future.
report that before the collapse of the Soviet Union there were plans
to produce the Kh-35 missiles in Ukraine. However missile's
development predated the end of the Cold War and collapse of the
Soviet Union. As a result the Kh-35 never entered Soviet service,
and was first produced in Russia only in the mid 1990s. So most
likely that Ukraine had
all the technical documentation for this missile. Furthermore
Ukraine was producing engines and some other components for the
Russian Kh-35 missiles.
There is a
very interesting thing about this missile. An exact copy of the
Neptun was first observed in
2014, in North Korea. It is locally known as Kumsong 3 (Venus 3).
Initially it was thought that North Koreans acquired the Russian
Kh-35E, or Kh-35UE missiles. However after close examination it appeared that it
is not a Russian missile, but is extremely similar to the Ukrainian Neptun. It
made its first apparent test launch in 2015 and reportedly
demonstrated a range of 200 km. In 2017, during another test launch,
the Kumsong 3 demonstrated a range of 240 km. It is unclear how a
missile, that was under development in Ukraine, was tested in North
Korea even before its test in Ukraine. There is still some missing
link in this whole story, how this North Korean missile was
developed. One of the
explanations could be that Ukraine contributed development of the
North Korean Kumsong 3 anti-ship missile. Ukraine is actually among Top 10 military producers
of the world and has a far more developed weapons industry than
North Korea. Also Ukraine supplied engines for North Korean
ballistic missiles via Russia before. This fact was confirmed by Ukrainian space
agency and South Korean intelligence.
In terms of
performance the Neptun is generally similar to the Russian Kh-35U.
It has a planned range of up to 280 km. In 2019 this missile
demonstrated a range of over 250 km for the first time. It carries a High Explosive
Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) warhead, which weights around 145 kg. This
missile should be efficient against vessels with a displacement of
up to 5 000 t, such as frigates and smaller destroyers.
will have and inertial navigation system with active radar homing on
the terminal stage of its flight. Currently Ukraine is facing
problems developing radar of this missile. The missile will travels
10-15 meters above the surface. In the terminal stage of the flight
it will descend to 3-10 meters above the surface in order to overcome
hostile defense systems.
travels at subsonic speed. It is estimated that due to its subsonic
speed that anti-ship missile can be intercepted rather easily,
especially by advanced defense system.
coastal defense missile system, that will carry Neptun missiles. There were proposals to reuse the ageing
heavy high mobility chassis (Ukraine has a number of these vehicles
in storage), and
repurpose them as mobile launchers to carry the new anti-ship missiles.
Also there were
proposals to reuse an old radar of the
Rubezh coastal defense
missile system. However the new launcher vehicle is based on a KrAZ-7634.NE
military vehicle with 8x8 configuration. Overall the new Ukrainian coastal defense missile
system could be an equivalent of a Russian
coastal defense system, though not as capable. A typical Neptun
coastal defense battery consists of 6 launcher vehicles with a total
of 24 anti-ship missiles. Launcher vehicles can be located up to 25
km from the sea. It takes 15 minutes to prepare this coastal defense
missile system for firing.
Kumsong 3 (Venus 3)
is a North Korean anti-ship missile, which is extremely similar to the Ukrainian Neptun.
Though it a appeared a little earlier. It was first
observed in 2014. This
anti-ship missile is carried by vessels and land-based coastal
defense missile systems. Its first apparent test launch was made in
2015, when the missile reportedly demonstrated a range of 200 km. In
2017, during another test launch, it demonstrated a range of 240 km.