Military resumes testing of formerly banned missiles

SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif. (KEVN/KOTA TV) – The U.S. military conducted a flight test of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile Sunday.

The Defense Department conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, Calif. The missile was banned under a 30-year-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty that both the U.S. and Russia abandoned. (DOD)

It is the first test of a type of missile banned for 30 years in a treaty the U.S. and Russia abandoned this year.

The missile – fired from a launcher at San Nicolas Island, Calif. – hit its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. According to the DOD, data from the test will help the military develop future intermediate-range capabilities.

While the missile was armed with a conventional warhead, it is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

The Air Force fielded the BGM-109 ground-launched cruise missile, nicknamed the Gryphon, in Europe during the 1980s. The deployment of these missiles prompted the USSR to negotiate a treaty banning the missiles on both sides.

The central issue with the INF was that both Russia and the U.S. had long accused the other of cheating on the treaty, which banned land-based missiles of ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,410 miles).

According to an Associated Press story, the Trump administration says it remains interested in useful arms control but questions Moscow's willingness to adhere to its treaty commitments.