Published: Sat, March 16, 2019

US plans August test of long-banned type of missile

US plans August test of long-banned type of missile

United States plans to test two missile systems banned under Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the U.S. announced its decision to withdraw from, later this year, The Hill reported Wednesday.

"The US is also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November".

The remarks come after the Hill reported on Wednesday that the United States plans to test two missile systems banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the U.S. announced its decision to withdraw from later this year.

According to AP, in both cases, these are the missiles that are not armed with nuclear warheads.

The official said the missile was different from the Army Tactical Missile System and would more closely resemble the Pershing II ballistic missiles that the United States deployed at the end of the Cold War in the years before the signing of the INF Treaty. But Trump withdrew from the treaty on February 1 and triggered a formal six-month wait period before the final expiry of the agreement this summer.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated Moscow's position on the INF, explaining that Russia was forced to suspend its participation in the Treaty in response to the United States actions "when we entered the phase of harsh disagreements with the Americans on the INF". It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers).

Reuters cited the unidentified Pentagon official as saying that the USA is also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November. By 1990, the United States and Soviet Union had verifiably destroyed about 2,700 intermediate-range missiles, nuclear disarmament expert Mariana Budjeryn of Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies wrote last month in The Washington Post. The U.S. military could keep it in its arsenal at home for possible deployment if a situation warranted. Putin signed a decree suspending Moscow's compliance with the Treaty on March 4.

"We haven't engaged any of our allies about forward deployment. It is the U.S. that included a provision on R&D on these missiles in the draft budget", the Kremlin spokesman said, TASS reported. Russian Federation also accused USA of breaking the 1987 pact, allegations that U.S. has denied.

But he thought it was more likely that the Trump administration was simply planning for the treaty's demise.

Kingston Reif, an analyst with the Arms Control Association, a non-profit group that seeks to promote public understanding of and support for arms control, said the USA move could be "a signal" to nudge Russian Federation to return to compliance with the treaty. "If the Russians come back in, in August we wouldn't do the test", the official said.

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