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

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The new ballistic missile-a conventional intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM)-may see deployment on the US territory of Guam.

The DoD has reported that this contract provides for aircraft and missile carriage equipment development and modification, engineering, testing, software development, training, facilities, and support necessary to fully integrate the Long Range Stand-Off Cruise Missile (LRSO) on the B-52H bomber platform. The two countries signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which eventually reduced the number of strategic nuclear weapons in existence by about 80%.

According to comments by USA officials to the Associated Press, the United States will begin testing two weapons-both armed exclusively with a conventional payload.

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In 2010, a successor treaty called New START was signed by the U.S. and Russian Federation. 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).

The range of the ground-launched missile is 1,000 km (or, 620 miles), which is within the range of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) pact signed in 1987. By 1990, the United States and Soviet Union had verifiably destroyed about 2,700 intermediate-range missiles, nuclear disarmament expert Mariana Budjeryn of Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies wrote last month in The Washington Post.

"We're going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August", said a senior defense official, who declined to be named.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that Europe would be most vulnerable to any negative consequences of the potential collapse of the INF Treaty. Both systems would likely be deployed with the U.S. Army.

The defense officials told reporters that allies in Europe and Asia had not yet been consulted about the planned missile tests or if they would be deployed on their territory. "It is the U.S. that included a provision on R&D on these missiles in the draft budget", the Kremlin spokesman said, TASS reported. NATO is now studying the implications of the demise of the INF treaty and possible military responses.

Hodges did not elaborate on how the treaty could be replaced but noted that in any case, "transparency and a clear protocol on compliance with observers" should be a bottom line of the issue of arms control. Russian Federation denied the allegations and accused the United States of violating the pact through its missile defense installations in Europe - accusations the State Department refuted.

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