US military tests ground-based cruise missile

US military tests ground-based cruise missile

US military tests ground-based cruise missile

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The United States formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 pact with Russian Federation on August 2 after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

This photo provided by the US Defense Department shows the launch of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile on San Nicolas Island off the coast of California.

After the US announced its withdrawal from the treaty, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he wanted to deploy an intermediate-range conventional missile in the Pacific region, preferably within a matter of "months", though he thinks it will take some time to develop the more advanced land-based missile capabilities.

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.

Imagery from the test depicts the missile launching from a Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, the same launcher used in the Aegis Ashore missile defense system.

"Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform DOD's development of future intermediate-range capabilities", said in the DoD. The ground-launched version of the Tomahawk was removed from service after the INF was ratified.

The Pentagon began research and development efforts focused on mobile, conventional and ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems in 2017 that it described as being in the "early stages" due to America's compliance with the INF Treaty.

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A ground-launched cruise missile was successfully fired in a test, the Defense Department announced on Monday.

Early this month Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the USA, no longer bound by the INF, had already begun work to develop "mobile, conventional, ground-launched cruise and ballistic missile systems".

"Right now, we don´t have plans to build nuclear-tipped INF-range weapons".

He also said that the Pentagon would like to deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Asia, a move that would likely anger China, which was not party to the INF.

Congress will have a say in how such systems are developed or deployed.

The newly tested cruise missile recalls a nuclear-armed US 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. However, the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have for years declared Russian Federation in violation of the agreement.

"I have already said about that, and would like to say once again here, in France, we are unilaterally undertaking obligations".

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