Russia Raises Concerns Over new US Ballistic Missile Test

Screen-grab from the Department of Defense’s official missile test video

"As part of the U.S. integrated response to Russia's violations of the INF Treaty, the United States announced it would commence treaty-compliant research and development of conventional, ground-launched missile concepts in late 2017", Carver said.

The military remained mum about the weapon's dimensions and capabilities, but the solid-fueled missile appeared significantly smaller than Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles normally tested at Vandenberg.

Thursday's test was the second of a ground-launched, medium-range nuclear-capable missile since Washington exited the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Moscow.

Under the treaty, both sides destroyed the whole class of intermediate- and short-range missiles in a span of four years.

Some U.S. arms control advocates warned that the test risks an unnecessary arms race with Moscow.

Experts will now wait for more information - and observe the global reaction, which could include responses from Russian Federation or North Korea, the latter of which has increased its aggressive messaging toward the Trump administration in recent weeks.

The Strategic Capabilities Office, part of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, conducted Thursday's test while Vandenberg provided range support to monitor the flight.

Esper added that work on the missile began after the United States suspended its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in February 2019.

Pentagon officials have speculated that any deployment of such a missile - potentially to Guam - would not be likely for at least five years, the outlet reported.

Expect similar complaints if it turns out Thursday's test involved a missile defense asset.

In a brief appearance before reporters after the test announcement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was asked whether the Pentagon is considering deploying an INF-range missile to Europe.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, said the Pentagon's missile project is a mistake. The Defence Department said in a release on Monday that the missile accurately hit its target after flying more than 500 kilometres.



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