Military Review

The project "Neptune" (Ukraine). Rocket new, old problems

Ukraine is trying to create its own weapons of different classes, including missiles for various purposes. The goal of one of the most daring and ambitious projects of recent times is to create a promising anti-ship missile. The product "Neptune" was first introduced several years ago, and over time has had time to go to the test. A few days ago, it is claimed, the next test launches took place. Great hopes are placed on the PKP Neptune, but its real prospects, as is the case with many other Ukrainian developments, are in question.

From the announcement to the test

A project called Neptune was announced in 2015 year. Then the basic information on the promising rocket and some other information was presented. In 2016, the Kiev Luch Design Bureau announced that there is a fundamental possibility of creating anti-ship missile systems for various purposes with a unified missile. The latter could be used by ships, coastal complexes and aircraft. The proposed rocket had to have a range of up to 300 km and effectively hit surface ships with a displacement of up to 5 KT or coastal objects.

The throw-in launch of the Neptune rocket 30 January 2018. Photo by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

The proposal to create a new RCC interested the potential customer, which led to the continuation of work. Already in the spring of 2016, Luch Design Bureau, in collaboration with other Ukrainian enterprises, began assembling the first experimental missiles. The lead developer and component manufacturer was Luch. The power plant for Neptune was ordered to Motor Sich enterprise, the homing head was developed by NPP Radioniks, some components should be supplied by Kharkov aviation plant. The state-owned enterprise VIZAR, which has recently undergone modernization, will have to master the serial production of missiles.

In the middle of 2017, unconfirmed data about the testing of "Neptune" appeared. As it became clear later, this information was not true. The first real throwing launch, intended for testing the launch stage of the rocket for the onshore complex, took place only on January 30 of the year 2018. These tests were attended by representatives of the military and political leadership of Ukraine. As far as is known, during the launch launch, the starter coped with his task and brought an experienced Neptune rocket to a predetermined initial trajectory.

The next launch of 17 held on August at the site in the Odessa region. This time it was about rocket firing at a training target. Like last time, the tests were supervised by high-ranking officials. According to the results of the August start-up, it was reported that the experienced “Neptune” successfully passed along a trajectory and hit a surface target at a distance of 100 km from the starting point.

In October, the Ukrainian Navy command spoke about its plans for the near future. At the end of this year, two new Neptune test firing missiles were planned. Until the end of spring 2019, several more launches will take place, which will complete the test program for the coastal missile complex. Besides, navy the command revealed some plans for the deployment of new anti-ship missiles. They are planned to be made the main armament of the Vespa promising missile boats, which are so far only being planned for construction.

Transport and launch container after launch, January 30 2018. Photo by National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

The most recent tests of Neptune products took place on December 5. According to representatives of the Ukrainian leadership, the launch of eight anti-ship missiles took place, and all of them managed to hit the intended targets at the maximum range - about 280 km. The purpose of the test launches, as stated, was to check the range and accuracy of shooting. Were published photos of one of the experimental products in flight.

According to recent statements, in the foreseeable future, the anti-ship missile "Neptune" may enter into service with Ukraine. While we are talking only about the coastal missile system based on the automobile chassis. In the future, the PKR now being tested can become the main armament of promising missile boats of new projects. In the past, the possibility of using "Neptune" by combat aircraft was mentioned, but there is still no detailed information on this.

Neptune and Uranus

The creation of modern anti-ship missiles is quite a challenge, and the Ukrainian industry has limited technological and engineering potential. These facts a few years ago led to the emergence of versions about the true origin of the Neptune rocket. The characteristic appearance and data from open sources describing events of the past years have become a reason for suspicion about copying a foreign rocket.

Externally, the Neptune rocket is very similar to the Soviet / Russian product 3М24 / Х-35У from the Uranus complex. Back in the Soviet times, the production of such weapons planned to launch in Kharkov. Some of the components for the missiles were also supposed to be assembled at the enterprises of the Ukrainian SSR. Thus, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a significant amount of documentation for the Uranus project was to go to an independent Ukraine. How the new owners ordered these documents is a big question.

Active radar homing head for "Neptune". Photo of

There is every reason to suspect that a few years ago, Ukraine recalled the documentation received in the past and decided to use it for the development of its defense industry and armed forces. The original project was reworked according to the capabilities of its own enterprises. In the first place, it was necessary to provide for the replacement of inaccessible foreign-made components with their own analogues. The result of this approach to design could be the RCC, which has the maximum external and constructive similarity with the existing sample.

If this version is true, then the name of the Ukrainian rocket takes on a very interesting look and looks like a funny pun. It turns out that "Neptune" was created on the basis of "Uranus". Will there be in the future "Pluto" on the same base - is unknown.

It should be noted that, as expected, Ukrainian officials deny all assumptions about the use of foreign developments. "Neptune" is called completely domestic development, created only by Ukrainian enterprises. However, the events of recent years have clearly shown that not all the statements of the Ukrainian leadership should be believed, and история The Neptune project seems to be no exception.

Familiar design

According to known data, the Ukrainian anti-ship missile "Neptune" looks and is as similar in appearance as the Russian product 3М24 from the Uranus complex. The construction of a rocket of a normal aerodynamic configuration with X-shaped wings unfoldable in flight and stabilizers is proposed. Most of the rocket fuselage has a circular cross section, but the tail section is distinguished by its shape: an engine air intake device is placed on its bottom. The head compartment is given under the homing head and controls, behind it is the warhead, and in the tail is the power plant.

The Neptune rocket is completed with a Ukrainian-made MC-400 turbojet engine. Apparently, this product is a variant of the further development of the TRDD-50 motor used on the X-35. At one time, the documentation for the TRDD-50 engine was transferred to Zaporizhia for mastering serial production. Thus, in terms of origin, the engine is similar to the Neptune rocket as a whole. For take-off from a land platform or a ship, a rocket uses a solid-propellant starting engine. It is designed as a drop device with a cylindrical body and its own stabilizers.

A new type of missile at the VIZAR plant. Photo of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine

The Uranus project provided for the use of inertial navigation and an active radar homing head. The project "Neptune" uses similar devices, but other types. Own ARGSN was developed by the Kiev-based company Radioniks, which has some experience in creating radio electronic equipment for weapons. The exact characteristics of the new guidance tools were not reported.

The Neptune rocket in the launch configuration has a length of 5,5 m with a case diameter of 420 mm. Wingspan - 1,33 m. No other information available. At the same time, it is known that the Russian X-35 rocket has a launch mass of 670 kg and develops speed up to M = 0,85. "Neptune" is equipped with high-explosive fragmentation warhead of an unnamed mass. The weight of the X-35 warhead is 145 kg.

Weapon carriers

During the tests, test launches of the Ukrainian anti-ship missiles were carried out from the simplest stationary installation, on which a regular rocket container was mounted. It is already known that the coastal variant of the Neptune complex will be the first to come into service. It will be built on the basis of a multi-axle special chassis, on which it is planned to install a launcher with four TPC missiles. As far as is known, such a machine has not yet been created. In any case, it has not yet been shown to the general public.

In the future, the Neptun anti-ship missiles can become weapons for promising missile boats of Ukrainian construction. Back in 2015, there were reports of the intention of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine to order three rocket boats of the Xench project "Lan". This year, Ukrainian media reported that the original project was reworked and Lani would become carriers of Neptune missiles. However, such a change in the project may not have any real prospects. Ukrainian shipbuilding is going through hard times, and the possibility of successfully building the desired boats is questionable.

An experienced rocket with a working starting engine. 5 December 2018 g. Photo by

This year, a new rocket boat project, created on the basis of 58260, was presented. After making a number of changes, the base sample received a new designation - Vespa. On board the boat with a displacement of up to 640 t, it is proposed to place eight Neptune anti-ship missiles, as well as a set of other missile and artillery weapons. The Vespa project received high marks, but its real prospects are still not completely clear.

In the recent past, the developers of the Neptune rocket claimed that it could be adapted for use in tactical aircraft. Any details of such a project - if it exists - were not published in the future. However, it is not at all difficult to imagine exactly which airplanes of the air force and naval aviation of Ukraine could become carriers of Neptune. The search for an answer to such questions contributes to the specific state of the fleet.

New missiles and old problems

Apparently, the Ukrainian industry was indeed able to develop a modern anti-ship missile, even if based on an existing product. In the near future it is planned to complete its tests and begin the deployment of mass production. According to bold plans, in the foreseeable future, promising coastal complexes and boats with Neptun missiles may appear in the arsenal of Ukraine. Nevertheless, as the experience of recent years shows, such plans may turn out to be overly optimistic.

In recent years, especially after the change of power, the defense industry and the army of Ukraine are facing the same problems. The country simply does not have enough money to finance all the desired purchases. For the same reasons, the development of industry, which is able to ensure the production of new products, is hampered. It should also be borne in mind that in a number of areas, Ukrainian enterprises have to start their activities almost from scratch.

All these factors lead to the same consequences. The industry shows and tests new models of various kinds, the authorities give them a high rating, but soon all the optimism disappears. If a new sample enters mass production, the army cannot purchase it in significant quantities. Attempts to enter the international market also do not always lead to the desired results.

"Neptune" in the first seconds after start-up, the planes are laid out, the starting engine is still running. Photo

There is no reason to believe that the new project Neptune anti-ship missile can justify the hopes placed on it and not repeat the fate of other promising developments. The possibility of mass production and equally massive purchases of new missiles remains in question, and it will be extremely difficult to break into the international market.

It should be borne in mind that the further fate of the Neptune rocket directly depends on its potential carriers. It is planned to use it with land complexes and as part of the armament of missile boats of the new construction. These projects also have every chance to face the usual problems of Ukrainian industry. In the best case, the number of carriers for missiles will be small - unless, of course, they will be built at all.

In the presence of such problems, dramatically reducing the real prospects of the PKP "Neptune", the assessment of its characteristics and fighting qualities may be meaningless. However, from this point of view, the project looks very interesting. Copying the X-35 rocket should have corresponding consequences. The new Ukrainian rocket, without taking into account problems of a production nature, is able to show itself as a good weapon of its class. However, apparently, in its basic characteristics, it is at least no better than the basic product X-35. All the same, we are talking about the repetition of the rocket of the late eighties with the corresponding capabilities.

For the Ukrainian missile "Neptune" declared sufficiently high tactical and technical characteristics, and in the foreseeable future, according to officials, it can go into service. Nevertheless, there are no real reasons for optimism. The actual prospects of the project may affect the lack of experience of developers, problems in production and the lack of necessary funds from the Ministry of Defense. Whether the project “Neptune” succeeds in overcoming all difficulties and not sharing the fate of other promising Ukrainian developments in recent years - time will tell.

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  1. Fedorov
    Fedorov 7 December 2018 05: 32
    Here the elections are on the nose, if any. Perhaps they will, but the parosh will lose how to drink to give. Then again the division of power, the redistribution of financial flows, etc. In short, they will not be up to rockets for a couple of years for sure, they will postpone it for later.
  2. merkava-2bet
    merkava-2bet 7 December 2018 05: 56
    The photo killed where it says that it is an airborne missile radar, what kind of grass they smoke to shove an aircraft radar into RCC, shame and shame.
    1. inkass_98
      inkass_98 7 December 2018 07: 02
      This is the jamb of the author. The photo was taken from Ukrainian sources, and there it’s written in white: The Esmeralda multifunctional weapon control system (RLS) from the Radioniks Scientific-Production Enterprise. International Exhibition "Arms and Security-2018".
    2. avdkrd
      avdkrd 7 December 2018 11: 55
      active radar seeker (ARGS) are used even in much smaller products, such as air-to-air missiles, airplanes have nothing to do with it. For products, specially designed GOS are used.
  3. bald
    bald 7 December 2018 06: 29
    The statements of the Ukrainian side are understandable - yes I am, yes we are (in my repertoire). But to listen, on this occasion, the opinion of our military, such things must be monitored, and there is no secret. And, perhaps, there may be similar statements, about nothing.
  4. inkass_98
    inkass_98 7 December 2018 06: 58
    The whole intrigue of the situation is that Turchinov did not emphasize which 8 missiles hit 8 targets: it was about the successful launches of the anti-ship variant of the S-125 and Neptune. Considering that there are 125 C-4 launchers on the launcher, 2 launchers participating in test launches were shown on TV, and Neptune showed 1, then the idea of ​​7-8 C-125 launches and the only Neptune launch is creeping in.
    And this is a completely different calico, given the meager combat capabilities of the C-125 in coastal defense, as well as their vulnerability in preparation and during combat launches.
    So in the end we have the flight of another "duck", which, of course, should not lull our attention to the development of ukrovunderwafele.
    1. Avior
      Avior 7 December 2018 10: 22
      it was about 280 km, this is clearly not s-125
      1. inkass_98
        inkass_98 7 December 2018 13: 25
        Quote: Avior
        it was about 280 km,

        I am interested to see the place where the target was. If anything - from Odessa to Sevastopol directly 290-300 km.
      2. svp67
        svp67 7 December 2018 14: 33
        Quote: Avior
        it was about 280 km, this is clearly not s-125

        And who said that this is a "regular" S-125? The fact is that, at one time, that Ukraine, that its close Poland, that Belarus carried out work to modernize these missiles. I would not be surprised if those developments now "emerge" in Ukraine. And here's another thing. Look closely at the video proposed by Ukraine. To begin with, what is the "bloody pastor" looking at through binoculars so closely? Target at a distance of 280 km? It is clearly beyond the horizon, but targets at a distance of up to 30 km will be visible. Further, the angle of launch of "Neptune" and C-125, even with an unaided eye, it is clear that the C-125 has less and "don't go to the fortuneteller", as the range of their flight is the same less. And finally, count the time that passes between the reports of the operator "Start", "There is a capture", "There is a defeat" ... in order to hit something at a distance of 280 km, the rocket had to move at hypersonic speed, but for 10 20 km, just right.

        And of course, a separate "song" is the use of the Russian language. Here they have nowhere to go ... when the Ukrainian language was invented, just as they did not think that it was necessary to build missiles as well ... The entire school of Ukrainian rocketry is Russian. And now it is easier and easier for them to switch to English terms than to invent Ukrainian ones. And when they adopt the law "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language" I don't know how they will observe it there?
    2. avdkrd
      avdkrd 7 December 2018 12: 15
      the s-125 has not quite "scanty capabilities". The weight of the warhead is 72 kg. Against ships of small displacement - quite well. Certainly not comparable with specialized anti-ship missiles, but quite an effective weapon. From a hidden position, the use of anti-aircraft missiles against ships even has certain advantages. The missiles are supersonic, the reaction rate is higher than that of the SCRC. The probability of overcoming the ship's air defense is quite high, the cost, even taking into account the modernization to the Pechera level, is much lower, and the 404 has enough missile reserves. Do not underestimate the capabilities of the S-125 specifically for coastal defense. To repel the landing, the range of 22-32 km is quite adequate.
      1. inkass_98
        inkass_98 7 December 2018 13: 34
        Quote: avdkrd
        From a hidden position, the use of air defense systems against ships has even certain advantages.

        The circus is just that C-125, if sclerosis does not change me, just cannot work from hidden positions on ground / surface targets. She needs an open position with a good view of the target.
        I do not underestimate the characteristics of this weapon, I say that it is poorly adapted for the purposes that the Ruin army is trying to achieve with this weapon.
        And one must be very naive to believe that our military is planning landing operations without first destroying the coastal defense.
        1. IL-18
          IL-18 7 December 2018 23: 06
          And if the Romanians want Bukovina? They have another P-15 in service.
  5. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 7 December 2018 08: 19
    Honestly, reading the article, I was hoping to learn about the technical problems of the design. But the listed manufacturers are well-known, with a history of enterprises, capable and now producing military products. If they had reported that they had developed and manufactured a product of PE Pupkin (not Mask)))) I would have doubted, and so ....
    The author concluded all the problems in the problem of financing. Then the "armata" is a "problem" tank.
  6. fax66
    fax66 7 December 2018 09: 51
    I would not be surprised if at the next parade in Kiev these "Neptunes" will ride on the Belarusian platforms of the MZKT.
    "Nothing personal, just business."
    1. svp67
      svp67 7 December 2018 14: 42
      Quote: fax66
      I would not be surprised if at the next parade in Kiev these "Neptunes" will ride on the Belarusian platforms of the MZKT.

      Lagged behind life. On "Bogdans", issued under the license of the MZKT and from its car sets ... like this "Bogdan-MAZ 6317". It is unnecessary to remind that the corporation "Bogdan" is included in the "Pan Poroshenko"
  7. Avior
    Avior 7 December 2018 10: 22
    The characteristic appearance and data from open sources describing the events of past years, became the reason for suspicion of copying a foreign missile.

    The author burns not for children laughing It can be said that the Russian x-35 missile is copying a foreign Soviet missile with the same name lolin which the engine of Ukrainian production was replaced by another, Russian
    The fact that the x-35 is a close copy of Harpoon seems to be no secret, so the author can say that Neptune is a copy of a copy of foreign missiles.
  8. Avior
    Avior 7 December 2018 10: 35
    it seems that active gos were attached to s-125 in Ukraine
    the plans to create an anti-aircraft missile regiment in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which will be armed with the modernized S-125M "Pechora" air defense systems, began to be discussed back in February 2018. It was assumed that the regiment could include up to 4 divisions, each of which will have up to 4 launchers with 16 missiles. For this, the C-125s were reactivated in May, as mentioned above.

    It is known about the S-125M "Pechora" that this air defense system is a deep modification of the base system, which can fire various guided missiles: both the 5V27D-M2 with an active radar homing head and 5V27D-M1 with a semi-active homing head.

    When equipped with anti-aircraft guided missiles 5V27D-M2 with an active homing radar in the initial section, the missile moves along an aeroballistic trajectory. Such a missile flight significantly increases the distant border of the affected area, which is 40 km (18 km) with new missiles, and the maximum height of the affected area, which is now 25 km (18 km).
  9. Avior
    Avior 7 December 2018 10: 40

    I don’t know how much all this has been finalized to serial production, but it seems that they were fired at with these shots from an active seeker. It is possible that some of the modifications of this GOS went to Neptune
  10. Sergey269
    Sergey269 7 December 2018 11: 03
    After making a number of changes, the base model received a new designation - "Vespa". Probably "Paddles".
    1. Vovad
      Vovad 7 December 2018 13: 15
      Vespa is a wasp, a hornet.
  11. dvortsov1984
    dvortsov1984 8 December 2018 00: 25
    Shchya they on galleys and (or) other oar carriers will put and ...
    Azovskoye and Chernoene are not so big and the range of the NJAptuns is enough for dirty tricks.
  12. spiritum
    spiritum 10 December 2018 07: 49
    Given the geography of the region, if Ukraine places complexes along the coast, then in essence this will offset the advantage of the Russian Federation in ships on the Black Sea.