US Plans Tests This Year of Long-Banned Types of Missiles

US plans to test missiles banned by INF Treaty in 2019 Report

February 1, Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty, sparking a six-month wait period before complete expiration of the treaty.

Hodges' comments came amid media reports that the USA plans to test two missile systems banned under the INF Treaty, and that a new cruise missile is scheduled to be tested in August, while a longer-range ballistic missile will be test-launched in November.

US officials say the Trump administration has no plans to seek the forward deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe once again, but the breakdown of the treaty threatens a return to an era in which Europeans anxious about Russian nuclear missiles that could strike their cities within a few minutes of launching.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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

Kyiv says the collapse of a landmark Cold War arms-control pact gives it a free hand to develop new ballistic missiles.

Antonov said, "All decisions on the treaty were made before withdrawal was even announced".


Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to design new weapons banned under the pact but said he would deploy them only if the USA does.

"We're going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August", a senior defense official, who declined to be named, was quoted by Reuters as saying on March 13. The official said that could take place within 18 months. Both systems would likely be deployed with the U.S. Army.

The defense officials told reporters that allies in Europe and Asia have not yet been consulted about the planned missile tests or if they would be deployed on their territory.

German Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier said, in turn, that he does not rule out a new arms race in the event of the termination of the agreement. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers).

However, he thinks it could be possible that the Trump administration was simply arranging for an end of the INF treaty. Moscow denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States.

Kingston Reif, an analyst with the Arms Control Association, a non-profit group that seeks to promote public understanding of and support for arms control, said the US move could be "a signal" to nudge Russian Federation to return to compliance with the treaty.

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