U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

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U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island
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Photo: Department of Defense

By edhat staff

The U.S. military conducted a flight test of a banned missile off San Nicolas Island on Sunday afternoon.

The Department of Defense (DOD) stated at 2:30 p.m. they conducted a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile. The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) of flight.

DOD stated the data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform their development of future intermediate-range capabilities.

This missile test would have been banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty which the Trump administration and Russia terminated just over 2 weeks ago. The INF Treaty was created in 1987 and banned all types of missiles with ranges between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers (3,410 miles).

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit dedicated to sustaining a peaceful and nuclear-weapon-free world, believes this could be the start of a new arms race between the United States and Russia.

Rick Wayman, Deputy Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, commented, “[Sunday], I spent a peaceful, beautiful afternoon at the beach in Santa Barbara, celebrating a friend’s birthday. The only defense we needed was some sunscreen and a beach umbrella. I was appalled to learn that, just miles from our family’s tranquil celebration, the U.S. took a dangerous and ill-advised leap forward in its arms race with Russia. Testing and deploying such missiles is dangerous and unnecessary, and raises the risk of armed conflict. There was good reason why these weapons were banned for 32 years, and should have remained banned forever.”

The Trump Administration withdrew from the treaty on August 2 claiming Russia was unwilling to stop violating the treaty's terms. Russia then accused the United States of violating the treaty.

"I don't see an arms race happening here," Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on the day Washington and Moscow withdrew from the treaty. "Russia has been racing, if anybody, to develop these systems in violation of the treaty, not us," reports NPR.

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PitMix Aug 22, 2019 12:03 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

Can anyone explain the economics of our defense systems to me? If we are the greatest nation on earth, with uber efficient corporations, why do we have to spend twice as much as our two biggest competitors (Russia and China) to keep them in check? And if you are a student of history, isn't it true that defense spending for empires led to their downfalls, such as the British empire? Are we exempt from this consequence?

Factotum Aug 22, 2019 04:48 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

Britain just went through a devastating world war and exceeded its supply lines supporting their overseas empire, along with the nascent nationalism movement that was reaching full flower anyway. The British Empire was primarily a trading network for most of its duration, not a colonial governance structure. That only came later and most British formed governance institutions left behind are still functioning: democracy, education, health care, transportation, language, architecture, design and even quite a bit of remaining British culture. There is no American Empire; just a lot of cultural copy cats world wide. America will rot from within long before any other force takes it down. America continues to offer the world its noble and experimental model which works better than anything else.

Channelfog Aug 22, 2019 01:34 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

Sam, you make some good points. I would however take exception with "economic benefits". In an economic sense, it makes sense to build dump trucks, production machinery, etc as they then produce more economic product including jobs for drivers/operators. Build a tank or nuclear missile and the worst thing one could do is to use it. Defense industry spending is a one set of jobs, dead end for capitol, regardless of "spin-off" technologies.

Sam The Dog Aug 22, 2019 01:14 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

We spend twice us much because 1) we have way more to lose 2) the deterrent factor, we don't want any other country to even think they have a chance, would rather over spend on defense spending than get into another world war, even if we win, again 3) Russia and China have the numbers on us, we need the tech to counter that, also, we care more about our soldiers, in WWII Russia's strategy was just throw bodies at the enemy. 4) not only does that spending go back into the US economy, the economy also benefits from a lot of the tech derived from it (anyone use GPS)?

Channelfog Aug 22, 2019 12:21 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

Pitmix, Sadly, you are right. We are in the last days of this Empire as we are rapidly losing support from the rest of the world. When China or Russia get serious about floating a gold backed currency, the dollar will be toast as we haven't the gold to back the dollar.

PitMix Aug 21, 2019 02:09 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

When do we start testing nuclear weapons with nuclear engines so we can have nuclear incidents like they just had in Russia? Can we also disable our radioactivity monitoring stations so that no one really knows how much contamination really occurs?

RHS Aug 21, 2019 01:19 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

Oh good, another trillion dollar expense for war and death as we redesign or weapons systems and our launch systems and our fat military brass systems all to make arms contractors richer while scaring, polluting and wasting needed resources of the world. This does humanity no good but scares people into reactionary voting that just increases the corruption.

Rinconer Aug 21, 2019 07:33 AM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

What a travesty that the extremely Sacred Island described in the ubiquitous book, “Island of the Blue Dolphin”, would now become a place where death merchants and war profiteers run free.

Z Aug 20, 2019 03:49 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

IRBMs function by bringing allied nations into a US/Russia war (they can't get there from here). They only work if launched from eastern Europe or southwest Asia. Allies there want nothing to do with TrumP's sabre rattling. They are undeployable.

Channelfog Aug 20, 2019 01:43 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

In his book, Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a doomsday planner, Daniel Elsberg clearly illustrates how close we have come to full nuke warfare. At least up until a decade or so ago, our strategy was any big conflict and we do a full launch on all targets in Russia AND China. The generals' huge target map did not bother to show the border between them! Unfortunately we have warred ourselves out of significant warfare capacity to not rely on Doomsday. Yes, the "Doomsday Machine" Does exist on both sides and it is entirely possible that an all out nuclear war could start "automatically". The book is excellent reading from a brilliant man who had the highest clearance to see anything on any base anywhere (high clearance Rand analyst. What he found scared him to death, read the book!

CoastWatch Aug 20, 2019 12:14 PM
U.S. Tests Formerly Banned Missile from San Nicolas Island

This has very little to do with 3rd Tier Russia and the fact that they have snubbed this Reagan Era Treaty for years... Our NATO allies have been telling the U.S. that Russia is no longer following the INF Treaty for years... This has to do with 1st Tier CHINA. China is the real threat to independent Asian countries. The refuse to participate in ANY arms negotiations and continue to interfere in free travel in the South China Sea. Taiwan is directly threatened and China is ramping up their military might in the area. I, unlike NPR and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation am a realist. The U.S. cannot afford to be a passive and non-involved entity. This is a move that has to be made - period.

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