‘Drones aren’t missiles, they are re-usable’: Non-compliance with INF

The US navy has rejected Russian accusations of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, arguing that its drones can’t be seen as missiles and Tomahawk-compatible ‘defensive’ launchers can’t be used offensively.

The prolonged statement, drawn as much as refute Russian accusations, was issued by the US mission to NATO on Friday. The US argued that the controversial ‘target’ missiles have been in compliance with the treaty, whereas Aegis Ashore was able to launching solely ‘defensive’ missiles. While the US navy admitted that its missile protection system was largely primarily based on naval MK.41 vertical launchers –able to firing cruise missiles– it claimed the land-based variations have been completely completely different.

“The Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System does not have an offensive ground-launched ballistic or cruise missile capability. Specifically, the system lacks the software, fire control hardware, support equipment, and other infrastructure needed to launch offensive ballistic or cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk,” the assertion reads.

It stays unclear, nevertheless, whether or not –and how briskly– the supposedly missing elements may be added to switch Aegis-Ashore to be offensive.

The large US fleet of assault drones presently in service additionally doesn’t violate the treaty, the Pentagon claimed, arguing that unmanned aerial autos don’t match the definition of a cruise missile – as a result of the latter is a “one-way” automobile, whereas a drone is meant to return again to base.

But what does the INF treaty itself say? “The term ‘cruise missile’ means an unmanned, self-propelled vehicle that sustains flight through the use of aerodynamic lift over most of its flight path. The term ‘ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM)’ means a ground-launched cruise missile that is a weapon-delivery vehicle,” the treaty reads.

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