Why The Pentagon Is Testing New Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles




Why The Pentagon Is Testing New Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles
Why The Pentagon Is Testing New Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles  

Key point: An ability to fire 500km land-fired cruise missiles brings a number of substantial implications.

(Washington, D.C.) The Pentagon fired-off a new prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile as part of a broader effort to increase medium-range attack options and further fortify deterrence efforts.

The missile launch, according to a Pentagon statement, took place earlier this month at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"The test missile exited its static launch stand and terminated in the open ocean after more than 500 kilometers of flight. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities," a DoD statement said.

A missile launch at this range is significant in a number of key respects. First, as specified by the Pentagon statement, the missile firing represents a deliberate effort to bolster U.S. intermediate-range attack weapons, a rapid development that has been underway following the collapse of the U.S.-Russian INF Treaty.

The INF Treaty, previously violated by Russia according to U.S. reports, collapsed earlier this year, prompting the U.S. to develop a new sphere of medium-range weapons; the treaty previously restricted medium-range conventional weapons as a way to better reassure both Russia and NATO that attacks on the European continent would not be likely, or even possible in some respects. A medium-range 500-to-600km cruise missile does allow Russia to hold a large number of major European cities at risk of a conventional missile attack. In like fashion, these missiles can hold key Russian targets at risk from Europe.

Northrop Grumman, a key industry participant in the prototype testing, released a statement saying their involvement in the process is intended to help the Pentagon fast-track its development on these weapons. The test demonstrated "Northrop Grumman's capability for rapid development and launch in support of urgent requests from the Department of Defense," the company statement said.

This most recent tests follows a related test-firing in Aug. of this year wherein the Pentagon shot-off a land-fired variant of the well-known Tomahawk missile. This test firing, which involved an adaptation of the maritime-centric Tomahawk weapon, also fired at intermediate ranges of approximately 500km.

Block IV Tomahawks are well known for GPS targeting accuracy, long-range precision, a two-way data link and an ISR-oriented "loiter" technology enabling commanders to see video of battle damage or surveil targets in flight. Firing this from land naturally brings new attack options.

An ability to fire 500km land-fired cruise missiles brings a number of substantial implications, the first and foremost of which is introducing a counter weapon, or deterrent, to Russia's well-documented testing of medium-range land-fired missiles in violation of the INF treaty. The August test marked the first time the U.S. fired a weapon of this range since stepping back from the INF treaty.

Both of these weapons could open up offensive attack nuances, for instance, should there be a need to attack Russian force concentrations massing in or near Eastern Europe. In this scenario, a land-based cruise missile would offer advantageous strike possibilities. These weapons could also enable attacking forces to hit enemy targets from safer stand-off distances.

Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics& Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. This first appeared last year.

Image: Reuters.

Read the original article.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Armenians Fear Turkey Is Back to Finish Off the Genocide
Armenians Fear Turkey Is Back to Finish Off the Genocide
  • World
  • 2020-09-29 16:36:12Z

MOSCOW-The fighting in a mountain enclave in the Caucuses escalated Tuesday when Turkish-backed forces shelled five villages including the capital of Stepanakert, according to Armenian officials.Skirmishes broke out on the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia over the weekend and the official death toll is over 100 as a decades-old dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh or the Republic of Artsakh erupted into violence.Artsakh is an ethnic Armenian pocket that was once part of Azerbaijan's territory but now hews closely to Armenia against the wishes of Turkey, which has lucrative oil and gas deals with Azerbaijan and a long-standing enmity with Armenia.The Daily Beast reported on Monday that Turkey...

Russian scientist behind COVID-19 vaccine defends
Russian scientist behind COVID-19 vaccine defends 'wartime' roll-out
  • US
  • 2020-09-29 06:02:05Z

Russia plans to share preliminary results of its COVID-19 vaccine trial based on the first six weeks of monitoring participants, raising the tempo in an already frenzied global race to end the pandemic. Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Gamaleya Institute that produced the Sputnik V vaccine, told Reuters that the pace of its development was necessary under the "wartime" conditions of a pandemic but no corners were being cut. Russia has pushed ahead with its potential COVID-19 vaccine at top speed with mass public vaccinations alongside the main human trial, raising concerns among some observers that it was prioritizing national prestige over solid science and safety.

Turkey Sends ISIS Warlord to Azerbaijan to Face-Off Against Putin
Turkey Sends ISIS Warlord to Azerbaijan to Face-Off Against Putin's Armenian Allies
  • World
  • 2020-09-28 19:33:48Z

ISTANBUL, Turkey-On Sunday afternoon, a video depicting a large convoy of Islamist Syrian rebel fighters yelling enthusiastically as they drove off to war circulated widely on Arabic social media. Fighters in the packed trucks, driving quickly past the group of children filming with their phones, could be heard yelling "Allahu Akbar!" and, "our leader, till' the end of time, is our master, Muhammad!"However what shocked those watching the video weren't the shouts of the Syrian fighters but rather those of the children filming, who yelled back at the soldiers in a language unfamiliar to most Syrians following their country's nine-year war. "That's not Kurdish, right?" said one user in an...

Pelosi says Trump
Pelosi says Trump's taxes reveal 'national security' issue

The House speaker was responding to a New York Times report that Trump has more than $300 million in loans coming due within the next few years.

Belarusian police detain protesters as tens of thousands rally against Lukashenko
Belarusian police detain protesters as tens of thousands rally against Lukashenko

Belarusian security forces began detaining people on Sunday as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Minsk for the seventh straight weekend calling on veteran President Alexander Lukashenko to step down. Riot police pulled people out of crowds and hauled them away into vans, a Reuters witness said. Belarus plunged into turmoil after Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in the Aug 9 election that his opponents say was blatantly rigged.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America