US Plans First Tests of New Short and Intermediate-Range Missiles

Pentagon eager to test banned missiles after discarding Cold War-era nuke treaty

US Gen. Sheds Light on Plans to Deploy Cruise Missiles in Europe Amid INF Exit

Washington in the last month announced it will withdraw from the treaty in six months, unless Moscow ends its alleged violations.

Pentagon officials outlined a plan to produce a low-flying cruise missile with a potential range of around 1,000km and a ballistic missile capable of traveling 3,000 to 4,000km.

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.

Signed in 1987 by then US President Ronald Reagan and his Soviet counterpart Mikhail Gorbachev, the INF Treaty was widely viewed as a breakthrough in arms control.

Both the missiles would be conventional and not nuclear, the official said. Washington is determined to withdraw from the treaty in six months unless Russian Federation returns to "real and verifiable" compliance, he said.

"The Russians have been violating the INF Treaty for years but, instead of focusing world opinion against the Russians, the Trump administration made a decision to withdraw from the treaty", Adam Smith, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said recently.

In an earlier statement in February, US President Donald Trump announced that Washington would be suspending its obligations under the provisions of the INF Treaty starting on 2 February.

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A senior defense officer stated, "We're going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August", and if the testing is successful the missile could be stationed within 18 months.

Washington has not spoken to any European or Asian allies about the possibility of hosting the missile on their territory, according to the defense officials. Both systems would likely be deployed with the U.S. Army.

The new nuclear cruise missiles designing to strike targets that neither an intercontinental ballistic missile nor a submarine launched ballistic missile can strike.

Both the Obama administration and the Trump administration urged Russian Federation to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty and end the production and deployment of its banned intermediate-range missile.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied the allegations that the missile violates the treaty, pointing out that American missile defence systems deployed in Europe can be re-purposed for offensive use and therefore are themselves violating the accord.

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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