U.S. tests first ground-launched cruise missile after INF exit

  • Monday 19, August 2019 11:52 PM
  • U.S. tests first ground-launched cruise missile after INF exit
The Pentagon said on Monday it tested a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile with a range of more than 500 km, the first such test since the United States pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
The United States formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 pact with Russia on Aug. 2 after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

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

The test would have been prohibited by the INF treaty.

U.S. officials had said for a number of months that they planned to carry out the test in August. The United States plans to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November.

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 defense system currently operating in Romania and under construction in Poland.

Russia's Defence Ministry did not reply to a Reuters request for comment sent outside normal working hours.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said that while he is in favour of placing ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia, it could be years before such missiles are ready to be deployed.