US plans to test ground-launched cruise missile in August

March 14, 2019 09:22
Russia has denied flouting the INF accord and has accused Washington of breaking the treaty itself. Photo: Bloomberg

The United States aims to test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range of about 1,000 km in August, Reuters reports, citing a Pentagon official.

If the testing is successful, the missile could be deployed in about 18 months.

The missile test plan comes after Washington announced last month that it would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in six months unless Moscow ends alleged violations of the 1987 pact.

Russia announced it was suspending the treaty. Moscow denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States.

Reuters cited the unidentified Pentagon official as saying that the US is also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November.

Both the missiles would be conventional and not nuclear, the official said.

The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice. 

The treaty required the parties to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 km.

The United Nations has urged the United States and Russia to preserve the treaty, saying its loss would make the world more insecure and unstable. 

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