US military tests previously banned ballistic missile

US military tests previously banned ballistic missile
© Getty Images

The Air Force has tested a prototype of a non-nuclear ballistic missile that was previously banned by an arms control treaty from which President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau intends to wrap up count on Oct. 5 despite judge's order Top House Republican calls for probe of source of NYT Trump tax documents New Yorkers report receiving ballots with wrong name, voter addresses MORE withdrew earlier this year, the Pentagon said Thursday.

“On Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time, the U.S. Air Force, in partnership with the Strategic Capabilities Office, conducted a flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver said in a statement.

The missile was launched from a “static” stand and landed in the ocean “after more than 500 kilometers of flight,” Carver said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities,” he added.

Such a missile was prohibited under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned the United States and Russia from having nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Trump withdrew from the 1987 treaty, which was credited with helping end the Cold War, in August over alleged Russian violations.

U.S. officials dating back the Obama administration accused Russia of violating the treaty by deploying a banned missile.

Though Trump’s critics generally agree Russia was violating the INF Treaty, they fear the U.S. withdrawal will lead to a Cold War–style arms race.

Thursday’s test was the second since Trump’s withdrawal of a missile that would have been banned by the treaty. In mid-August, the Pentagon conducted a flight test of a nonnuclear cruise missile that was fired from a mobile launcher and flew more than 500 kilometers.

After the August test, Russia accused the United States of “escalating military tensions.”