Pentagon Test Flies Land-Based Cruise Missile
Aug. 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Pentagon announced yesterday that it had successfully tested a ground-launched cruise missile that would have, were it still in effect, violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. “On Aug. 18, at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the Defense Department conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California,” the announcement said. “The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 km of flight.” How far it actually flew and the location of the target were not said, but the Tomahawk has a range of 800 to 1,500 miles.
The accompanying video shows what looks to be a Tomahawk cruise missile being fired out of a vertical launcher mounted on a flatbed trailer. This is clearly not an operational configuration but the data gathered from the launch will most likely be useful in designing one. The launcher, itself, is probably a single cell out of an MK 41 vertical launcher, the type used on U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers. Officials said the missile is designed to carry a conventional, and not a nuclear, warhead, reported UPI.
The Russians, as one might expect, have reacted harshly against the Pentagon test. “All that is regrettable. The United States has evidently set a course for mounting military tensions. We do not give in to provocations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS this morning. “There can hardly be a clearer and more explicit confirmation of the fact that the United States has been developing such systems for a long time, and preparations for withdrawing from the [INF] agreement included, in particular, the relevant research and development,” he observed.
RT finds that there’s only one possible conclusion: that the test was in planning and preparation for months before the official end of the INF Treaty on Aug. 2. “In two weeks, one can prepare and get a green light for a test program, and even that would take extra effort,” RT’s defense expert Mikhail Khodarenok remarked.
“The rest of it, including bringing the tested weapon system to the range, training the crew in its use, preparing the target, putting sensors in place—that cannot be done in two weeks....
“Now it turns out that all the while Washington was telling the world how the treaty could still be salvaged—if only Russia pled guilty and destroyed its stockpiles of missiles that supposedly violated the INF—it was also developing a weapon system that breached the very same treaty....”
RT concludes, “Who could have seen this one coming?”