PanARMENIAN.Net - The U.S. military carried out a test-flight Sunday, August 18 of a new road-mobile, ground-launched cruise missile system less than a month after the U.S. and Russia ripped up a landmark arms treaty, TIME reports.
The missile blasted from a launcher on San Nicolas Island, a Navy test site off the coast of Los Angeles, Calif., and sped above the Pacific Ocean for more than 310 miles before hitting a target, the Pentagon said in a statement. "Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities," it said.
The test marks a new era for the U.S. military in the wake of the Aug. 2 collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. First signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1987, the INF treaty eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons. It forced the superpowers to scrap more than 2,600 land-based missiles with ranges 310 to 3,420 miles - weapons considered destabilizing to the European continent because of their capability to launch a nuclear strike from anywhere without early warning.
The Pentagon stressed that the missile tested Sunday was "conventionally configured," meaning it was not outfitted with a nuclear warhead. However, the dissolution of the treaty, along with new weapons tests, has heightened fears of a burgeoning arms race. The Pentagon uploaded slow-motion imagery of the test-flight, which showed a Tomahawk cruise missile emerging from a Mark 41 (Mk-41) Vertical Launch System.