After INF treaty exit, USA tests ground-launched cruise missile

After INF treaty exit, USA tests ground-launched cruise missile

After INF treaty exit, USA tests ground-launched cruise missile

In a statement, the Pentagon said the test took place on Sunday at San Nicolas Island, Calif., and the missile hit its target after more than 500 km of flight.

A mobile launcher fired the conventionally configured cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, Calif., and it accurately "impacted its target" more than 500 kilometers away, according to a Pentagon statement. The Pentagon said that during the test, it collected data that will inform its development of future intermediate-range missile capabilities.

The INF was a 1987 pact with the former Soviet Union that banned ground-launched nuclear and conventional ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,000 kilometers.

The U.S. officially withdrew from the INF Treaty on August 2 after the Trump administration declared Russian Federation had always been in material breach of the Cold War arms-control pact.

Officials stressed that the missile is created to carry a conventional and not a nuclear payload.

"Russia had alleged for years that the land-based MK-41 could launch Tomahawks and therefore would violate the treaty", said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament research at the Arms Control Association advocacy group.

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A Pentagon spokesman told Reuters that Sunday's test used an MK41 launcher, but the system tested was not the same as the Aegis Ashore missile defence system now operating in Romania and under construction in Poland.

In March 2017, Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing that Russia had deploying a land-based cruise missile in violation of "the spirit and intent" of the INF treaty, adding, "We believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility ..."

Imagery of the test shows the weapon was launched from a Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, the same launcher used in the Aegis Ashore missile defense system. It is not capable of firing a Tomahawk missile.

By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief. The governments in both Australia and South Korea quickly denied that any discussions about such a deployment had occurred, and Esper later downplayed his comments as a future objective.

"We would like to deploy a capability sooner rather than later", he said.

The newly tested cruise missile recalls a nuclear-armed USA weapon that was deployed in several European NATO countries in the 1980s, along with Pershing 2 ground-based ballistic missiles, in response to a buildup of Soviet SS-20 missiles targeting Western Europe.

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