In Two Months Ukraine Will Have Its Own Domestic Medium-Range Cruise Missiles
Not a decisive factor but Moscow can't be happy about it either
Ukraine is now able to manufacture a modified version of the Soviet Kh-35 cruise missile. They will be entering operational service in April:
The first full division of Neptune ASMs—six launchers with 72 missiles and supporting radars—is scheduled to reach front-line forces on Ukraine’s southern coast this spring.
It’s an anti-ship missile but anything that can hit a moving ship can even more easily hit a static ground target. The Russians fired their Bastion coastal defense missiles against ground targets in Syria.
Ukraine has some missiles left behind by the Soviet Union, such as the short-range ballistic Tochka-U missiles, but the ability to manufacture its own adds another dimension.
Six launchers with 72 missiles isn’t a massive factor, but it can’t be welcome news in Moscow either. Most of all, it is a sign of things to come and a reminder that things are moving in the wrong direction for Russia.
A reminder that not acting implies acceptance of deterioration of Russia’s position at the very least in the short and medium-term. And that conditions for action will only grow worse, but not better.
“In the future, a Ukrainian missile attack on Moscow is quite real,” Russian Lt. Gen. Valery Zaparenko, a former senior member of Russia’s General Staff, told Gazeta.ru, a Russian media outlet. “Ukraine has the scientific, technical and production potential.”
An extension of a Soviet-era missile, the KH-35, which was fired from ships and planes, the Neptune is modified to strike from truck-mounted launchers at targets on both land and water. Its range is estimated to be 200 miles and its main quarry would be cruisers, destroyers and other warships. [WSJ]