US Tests Cruise Missile After INF Treaty Exit

Missile Test

U.S. Defense Department conducts first flight test of land-based cruise missile

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The United States formally withdrew from a landmark 1987 nuclear missile pact with Russian Federation earlier this month after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied. The missile "exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight", the release said.

The Trump Administration a year ago announced its plans to pull out of the treaty, citing Russia's long disregard for it and development of an intermediate range cruise missile that violates its parameters.

The missile was launched on Sunday from the US Navy-controlled San Nicolas Island off the coast of Los Angeles, California.

Lt. Col Robert Carver, a Pentagon spokesman added, "The launcher used in Sunday's test is a MK 41; however, the system tested is not the same as the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System now operating in Romania and under construction in Poland".

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The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight.

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

"Now that we have withdrawn, the Department of Defense will fully pursue the development of these ground-launched conventional missiles as a prudent response to Russia´s actions", Esper said.

"The testing by (the) USA military of a land-based missile banned under INF treaty two weeks after the official termination of this treaty is a blatant cynicism and mockery of the worldwide community", the RIA news agency cited Russian lawmaker Frants Klintsevich as saying on Monday.

Defense officials had said last March that this missile likely would have a range of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and that it might be ready for deployment within 18 months.

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But he also stressed the United States was not embarking on a new arms race. Some experts believe the treaty's collapse could undermine other arms control agreements and speed an erosion of the global system created to block the spread of nuclear arms.

"Right now, we don´t have plans to build nuclear-tipped INF-range weapons". Russian Federation accused the USA of violating the agreement.

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

The Pentagon conducted a test of a land-based cruise missile on Sunday, the first such test since the U.S. "If the United States produces such offensive systems, we will also do so", Putin said at a press conference before meetings with French leader Emmanuel Macron.

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