The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile on Aug. 18.
The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher positioned at San Nicolas Island, California at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. According to the DoD, the missile accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight.
“Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform DOD’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities”, said a DoD statement.
U.S. military officials, in early last year, confirmed they were developing a new ground-launched, intermediate-range cruise missile to counter Russian development of a similar weapon system that violates Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
This was followed by President Donald Trump announcement on 20 October 2018 that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the INF treaty, citing Russian non-compliance. The U.S. formally suspended the treaty on 1 February 2019, and Russia did so the following day.
Today’s missile test would have been not possible under the INF Treaty.