The U.S. Department of Defense will conduct a test of a new ground-launched ballistic missile from the Vandenberg Air Force Base possibly as soon as Thursday, Noozhawk reported.
The report said that warnings were given to boaters to remain away from the waters off the northern section of the Vandenberg AFB. Mariners have been reportedly notified to keep out of the area between 5 a.m. and 12:41 p.m. on Thursday, with Friday reportedly established as a back-up date.
The new ballistic missile, reportedly an intermediate-range weapon, is being developed by the U.S. after it formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia in August.
The agreement, signed in December 1987 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, limited both nations from fielding both short-range (500–1,000 km) and intermediate-range (1,000–5,500 km) land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and missile launchers that could be used to house either nuclear or conventional payloads. The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.
Following the INF Treaty withdrawal, on Aug. 18, the U.S. conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile. This test would have been not possible under the INF Treaty.