The U.S. conducts a test flight of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California, August 18. The INF agreement prohibited both nations from developing missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles. On Sunday, the Pentagon flight tested the missile at San Nicolas Island, California.
On Sunday, following the United States withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on August 2, the US tested a new ground-based cruise missile that can range over 300 miles.
The INF was a 1987 pact with the former Soviet Union that banned ground-launched nuclear and conventional ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,000 kilometers.
The Trump administration formally withdrew the United States 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.
A Pentagon spokesman says the test is part of a broader effort to determine what new technologies the Defense Department needs to meet current threats.
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"The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight", the DoD said in a release. The Trump Administration past year 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 armed with a conventional, not nuclear, warhead. However, the dissolution of the treaty, along with new weapons tests, has heightened fears of a burgeoning arms race.
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. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other worldwide bodies also have said that Moscow has produced weapons that break the agreement. One was placed at Russia's missile test site at Kapustin Yar and another at an unspecified location, The New York Times reported at the time.
"Russia had alleged for years that the land-based MK-41 could launch Tomahawks and therefore would violate the treaty", said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament research at the Arms Control Association advocacy group.
Russian Federation has for years argued that a similar system as part of the Aegis Ashore defense complex could be used to attack as well from an active site in Romania and another under development in Poland, thus a violation of the INF, but the US has denied this.