A new Ukrainian Neptune cruise missile has reportedly fallen into Russian hands in a partially intact state.
According to the Militarnyi news agency, remnants of what appears to be a Ukrainian Neptune cruise missile have been found near the shores of the Azov Sea in Russia’s Rostov region.
Although the R-360 Neptune shares similarities with the Soviet-era Kh-35 missile, which remains in service with Russia and other countries, the visual evidence suggests distinguishing features.
Specifically, the main wings of the founded missile exhibit a distinctive step-like or “staggered” appearance, a characteristic trait of the Neptune missile. In contrast, the Kh-35’s four main wings have a straight, arrow-like configuration. This visual discrepancy has raised questions regarding the origin and purpose of the recovered missile.
The exact location of the missile’s crash into the sea remains uncertain, making it challenging to pinpoint the intended target or mission it was part of. It is plausible that this missile played a role in strikes against targets in Crimea. However, reaching the Azov Sea would have required navigating through Russia’s air defense systems.
The ambiguity surrounds whether the recovered missile is the original anti-ship version of the R-360 Neptune anti-ship cruise missile or a modified variant designed for ground targets.
According to the UNIAN, the base version of the R-360 missile weighs 870 kg; the weight of its warhead is 150 kg; its launch range is up to 280 km, and its speed is about 900 km/h. It can get at a height of from 3 m to 10 m above the surface.