United States plans to begin long-banned missile test this year

United States plans to begin long-banned missile test this year

United States plans to begin long-banned missile test this year

The U.S. cruise missile to be tested in August will have a range of 1,000 kilometers, Reuters quoted a Pentagon official as saying.

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.

Ukraine is now free to develop new missiles in the wake of Russia's withdrawal from the INF arms-control treaty, President Petro Poroshenko has said. 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.

The INF treaty prohibits ground-launched missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,000 kilometers. He was not specific, but defense officials on Wednesday spelled out a plan for developing two non-INF compliant, non-nuclear missiles.

Russian Federation suspended its participation in the treaty after Trump's withdrawal.

Defence officials said the United States ground-launched cruise missile is slated for testing in August, just after the treaty formally ends, The Washington Post said.

This week, the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference took place in Washington DC.

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"We haven't engaged any of our allies about formal deployment", the senior official said.

Arms control advocates and Democrats in Congress have questioned the wisdom of leaving the INF treaty, while accepting USA allegations that Russian Federation is violating it by deploying a cruise missile that can target American allies in Europe.

The United States deployed a mobile ground-launch cruise missile known as the BGM-109G Gryphon in Europe during the Cold War, but the Pentagon withdrew the weapon as a result of the INF Treaty's restrictions.

The new nuclear cruise missiles designing to strike targets that neither an intercontinental ballistic missile nor a submarine launched ballistic missile can strike. The missile is unlikely to be deployed sooner than in five years, the news agency said. "It is the USA that included a provision on R&D on these missiles in the draft budget", the Kremlin spokesman said, TASS reported. "Think Pershing II. It's a missile of that class".

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

Hodges did not elaborate on how the treaty could be replaced but noted that in any case, "transparency and a clear protocol on compliance with observers" should be a bottom line of the issue of arms control. Moscow denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States. "If the Russians come back in, in August we wouldn't do the test", the official said.

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