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The US is starting to build once-banned cruise missiles for the first time since the Cold War
The Pentagon reportedly plans to restart the manufacturing process for once-banned ground-launched cruise missiles as a Cold War-era arms agreement with Russia crumbles, Aviation Week reports.
The Trump administration announced U.S. withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in early February, citing Russian violations of the bilateral arms control agreement. The pact is expected to expire in August.
President Donald Trump stated last month that the U.S. will "move forward with developing our own military response" to alleged Russian treaty violations. Russia has said it will do the same, although there is evidence it had already done so.
In the late 1970s, the Soviets deployed the RSD-10 Pioneer intermediate-range ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe, and the U.S. responded by deploying mid-range Pershing II missiles and intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missiles in Western Europe.
The deployment of the BGM-109G ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), a variation of the Navy's Tomahawk cruise missile, helped bring the Soviets to the negotiating table, Breaking Defense reported last October, noting that reviving this system would be relatively easy.
The INF Treaty helped defuse tensions by prohibiting both sides from developing and fielding these types of weapons, but with the treaty on its deathbed, the Department of Defense has decided to begin fabricating components for GLCM systems, Pentagon officials told Aviation Week.
The Pentagon confirmed the plan to Reuters as well.
In late 2017, research and development began on non-nuclear GLCM concepts, but it never moved beyond that, as any additional steps would have been "inconsistent" with the requirements of the INF Treaty.
Even as the Department of Defense steps up R&D activities since the suspension of the treaty, it remains open to canceling the programs and returning to negotiations with Russia.
"This research and development is designed to be reversible, should Russia return to full and verifiable compliance before we withdraw from the Treaty in August 2019," a Pentagon spokesperson explained to Aviation Week, adding that "because the United States has scrupulously complied with its obligations with the INF Treaty, these programs are in the early stages."
The suspension of the INF Treaty has stoked fears about an escalated arms race between the U.S. and Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has already threatened the U.S. should Washington opt to place missiles in Europe, something it presently has no intention of doing.
If Washington takes that step, Moscow "will be forced, and I want to underline this, forced to take both reciprocal and asymmetrical measures," Putin said. "We know how to do this and we will implement these plans immediately, as soon as the corresponding threats to us become a reality."
"It's their right to think how they want. But can they count? I expect they can. So let them count the range and speed of our weapons," he added.
As for the revival of the GLCM program, the U.S. reportedly has a number of different options.
It could, according to experts, convert existing air- and sea-launched cruise missiles, like the Raytheon AGM-160 Miniature Air-Launched Decoy, Raytheon AGM-109 Tomahawk and Lockheed Martin AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface-Standoff Missile, to a GLCM role while adapting existing rocket artillery launchers for this purpose.
Or, it could build something completely new.
Read more from Business Insider:
- Trump is ripping up the INF Treaty, ending a key Cold War nuclear arms pact with Russia
- In threatening state of the nation address, Putin threatens to target the US with new weapons if it puts missiles in Europe
- Air Force special operators just got the new, improved version of the Ghostrider gunship
- Really bad paratroopers demonstrate every ramp-jump mistake you can make in one jump
- The Army is looking to strap more autocannons onto its ground-combat vehicles
SEE ALSO: US Urges The World Not To Freak Out About Withdrawing From The INF Treaty (P.S. It's Russia's Fault)
WATCH NEXT: Russia Tests A New Hypersonic Missile
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.