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US military tests previously banned ballistic missile

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Washington, Dec 13 (IANS) The Pentagon said that the US military has tested a ground-launched, intermediate-range ballistic missile, which was previously banned by the INF Treaty that Washington exited.

The Department of Defense said in a statement that the US Air Force, in partnership with the Strategic Capabilities Office, at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday conducted a flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured ground-launched ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Xinhua news agency.

The test missile flew over 500 km before it terminated in the open ocean, it added.

“Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.”

The ballistic missile is the second weapon the Pentagon has tested that had previously been banned by the INF treaty.

The US military in August tested a ground-launched version of the Navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile.

In August, the US and Russia formally withdrew from the INF Treaty after accusing each other of violating the landmark arms control deal.

The treaty, signed in 1987 between former Soviet Union and the US, prohibited land-based nuclear and conventional ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 km.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has said that the US will fully develop ground-launched conventional missiles after withdrawing from the treaty.



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