U.S. to test missiles banned under faltering nuclear pact with Russian Federation

Cheryl Sanders
March 16, 2019

In August, the Pentagon intends to test a cruise missile with a range of about 1,000 km, capable of flying at a low altitude.

General Ben Hodges, former commander of United States Army Europe (USAREUR), has suggested that after leaving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the US will increase the potential of its missile defence system in Europe without focusing on deploying its cruise missiles to the continent.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. This corresponds to Pentagon's earlier statement, in which the Department said its missile efforts are "conventional only - not nuclear".

Trump withdrew from the treaty on February 1 and triggered a formal six-month wait period before the final expiry of the agreement.

The DoD has reported that this contract provides for aircraft and missile carriage equipment development and modification, engineering, testing, software development, training, facilities, and support necessary to fully integrate the Long Range Stand-Off Cruise Missile (LRSO) on the B-52H bomber platform. He was not specific, but defense officials on Wednesday spelled out a plan for developing two non-INF compliant, non-nuclear missiles.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced its decision to resume manufacturing parts for missiles that violate the treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to design new weapons banned under the pact but said he would deploy them only if the United States does.

"We're going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August", a senior defense official, who declined to be named, was quoted by Reuters as saying on March 13, according to RFE/RL.

The defense officials told reporters that allies in Europe and Asia had not yet been consulted about the planned missile tests or if they would be deployed on their territory. Trump said during the event the U.S.is issuing an emergency order grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft "effective immediately", in the wake of the crash of an Ethiopian Airliner that killed 157 people.

The United Nations has also asked both the countries to save the treaty. "Think Pershing II. It's a missile of that class".

The senior defense official said the Pentagon would stand down with the tests if Russian Federation were to come back into compliance and the treaty survived.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied the allegations that the missile violates the treaty, pointing out that American missile defence systems deployed in Europe can be re-purposed for offensive use and therefore are themselves violating the accord.

Other reports by iNewsToday