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11:52 AM, March 14, 2019
US Likely to Test its Ground-launched Cruise Missile  this Year
Inspection of destroyed Pershing II missiles in accordance with the INF Treaty in 1989 (image: US DoD)

The United States has planned to carry out tests of its ground-launched cruise missile with a range of about 1,000 km (620 miles) in August this year.

“We’re going to test a ground-launched cruise missile in August,” senior defense official told Reuters today.

If the testing is successful, the missile could be deployed in about 18 months.

“The US is also looking to test an intermediate-range ballistic missile in November. Both of these missiles are conventional and not nuclear,” the official added.

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.

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

The two countries were on the brink of a nuclear war in 1962, when Moscow responded to a US missile deployment in Turkey by sending ballistic missiles to Cuba. To avoid such an event again, the treaty was signed in 1987, four years before the Cold War ended. It required both parties to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km (310 to 3,420 miles). 

“We haven’t engaged any of our allies about forward deployment. Honestly, we haven’t been thinking about this (deploying intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe) because we have been scrupulously abiding by the treaty,” the US defense official said.