The U.S. military has just confirmed that it launched two land-based ballistic missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this morning. It was also the first Us test of such weapons after talks with Russia earlier this year over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Speculation is that it is intermediate-range, and the treaty explicitly prohibits the US and Russia from developing and deploying such missiles.
(From: USAF, via TheDrive)
CNN’s Ryan Brown first confirmed this. The Pentagon announced in March 2019 that it plans to test intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM) in November.
The range of such weapons ranges from 1864 to 3418 miles, but it is unclear why the military has delayed them.
In August, the U.S. military tested the BGM-109 Tomahawk-to-Earth cruise missile from a trailer derivative device for another system previously banned by INF, the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System.
In accordance with INF regulations, the U.S. Air Force and the Army disposed of BGM-109G land-based cruise missiles specifically designed for ground-based launch, as well as the same Tomahawk and Pershing II medium-range ballistic missiles in the early 1990s.
The Pentagon said in a statement: ‘On December 12, Pacific time, the Defense Department conducted a launch test of a conventionally equipped land-based ballistic missile around 8:30 a.m. Pacific time.
A tweet from a CNN employee said the launch site was at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and was currently evaluating the results of the test.
Prior to that, @AircraftSpots had already announced the launch on Twitter, as the Air Force had just sealed off an area off the coast of Vandenberg, California, meaning a mysterious test was imminent.
2018 Infographic (from: US ARMY)
Previously, the U.S. Air Force regularly conducted routine LGM-30G Militia III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
In 2017, the U.S. military began developing weapons that were then banned by the INF, on the grounds that Russia had pioneered the development and deployment of land-based cruise missiles that violated the INF treaty, even though the Kremlin vehemently denied it.
Breaking News: A “conventionally configured road-based ballistic missile prototype” by the U.S. military has just tested 310 miles, exceeding previous limits imposed by the INF treaty, According to Breaking Defense. Later, the U.S. military released some of the footage during the test.
Test missile seed in the open ocean (via)
The Pentagon issued a brief written statement in which it said the missile had been suspended on the high seas after a 500-kilometer flight. The purpose of this test is to collect data and gain experience to help the Department of Defense develop future medium-range attack capabilities.