Pentagon Test-Fires 2nd INF-Banned Missile

By Marcus Weisgerber

December 12, 2019

The United States has test-launched a second missile banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, which the Trump administration withdrew from earlier this year.

Launched at 8:30 a.m. local time from a pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the “prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile” flew more than 500 kilometers, and landed in the ocean, Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an emailed statement. 

Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities,” Carver wrote.

The military posted a video of the test.

The INF Treaty banned land-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

The tested missile was produced by the U.S. Air Force and the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office, a shop that focuses on modifying existing weapons for new types of missions.

The previous test of an INF-banned missile happened in August when the Navy and Strategic Capabilities Office fired a modified Tomahawk land attack missile from a mobile ground-launcher.

Thursday’s test comes two days after contractor Lockheed Martin said it “successfully tested its next-generation long-range missile designed for the U.S. Army's Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program.” In that test, a missile was fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launcher at at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and “flew approximately 240 kilometers to the target area,” a Lockheed statement said. “All test objectives were achieved.”

By Marcus Weisgerber // Marcus Weisgerber is the global business editor for Defense One, where he writes about the intersection of business and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as Pentagon correspondent for Defense News and chief editor of Inside the Air Force. He has reported from Afghanistan, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, and often travels with the defense secretary and other senior military officials.

December 12, 2019