US touts interception of a medium-range ballistic missile it should not have (VIDEO)
The US Missile Defense Agency has been practicing shooting down a land-based medium-range ballistic missile, just as Washington prepares for its withdrawal from the cornerstone INF nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
Less than a week after President Donald Trump announced his plans to withdraw the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the US Navy has conducted a successful test of its Aegis Combat System by firing and intercepting a “medium-range ballistic missile,” which is technically banned by the INF treaty.
Footage of the test shows USS John Finn tracking, engaging and shooting down a medium-range ballistic missile fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii using SM-3 Block IIA.
Even though the US describes it as a “target missile,” Moscow has repeatedly said that tests such as the October 26 test seem to be in clear violation of the 1987 INF treaty which prohibits the development, production and deployment of land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500km and 5,500km.
Announcing his country’s withdrawal from the INF, Trump once again boldly accused Russia of breaching the agreement by secretly developing ground-launched cruise missiles, as usual providing no details or evidence.
Russia, meanwhile, has its own, rather clearly-defined issues with how the US interprets the treaty. Besides the so-called ballistic target-missiles, Moscow considers heavy attack drones to be in breach of the treaty – as well as standardized ground-based Aegis Ashore anti-missile launchers in Europe that can be used to fire both SM-class interceptors and cruise missiles.
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