Russia Claims U.S. INF Violations: A Wonk’s Démarche

Experts in the United States have taken note of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s (RMFA) claims regarding “the main problems” with implementation of the Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, together with its Memorandum of Understanding and two Protocols, collectively referred to as the INF Treaty, signed at Washington on December 8, 1987, and which entered into force on June 1, 1988.

RMFA specifically states that:

 [W]e have a lot of claims to the United States in the context of the Treaty.  These are tests of target-missiles of missile defence, which have similar characteristics to intermediate-range missiles, production of armed drones by the  Americans, which evidently are covered by the definition of ground-launched cruise missiles in the Treaty. The topic of Mk-41 launch systems, which the United States intend to deploy in Poland and Romania within the framework of the implementation of their “stage-by-stage adaptive approach” to the deployment of a global missile defence, has been quite topical lately.  These launch systems can launch intermediate-range cruise missiles, but their ground-launched version can be perceived as a direct violation of the INF Treaty.

Leaving aside RMFA’s tone, style and indecorous language preceding these partial charges, the only reason RMFA has made public allegations of U.S. violation(s) of the INF Treaty is that the United States has made a public finding that the Russian Federation violated its ban on launches of any ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) of a range banned by the Treaty and that can be a weapon-delivery vehicle.  Moscow has previously raised similar issues in the past, to no result.  Assertion of U.S. violation(s) is not a defense against the specific claim made by the United States in respect of Russia’s GLCM launch and violation, for which RMFA has had no public response, to date.

Regarding the three RMFA claims of U.S. violations of the INF Treaty, please see the following responses:

[T]ests of target-missiles of missile defense, which have similar characteristics to intermediate-range missiles [.]

This issue has been raised repeatedly for as many years as the United States has been launching targets for its Pacific Test Bed from Vandenberg Air Force Base.  It is unclear why, then, in the context of the New START Treaty, specifically under paragraph (3) of Article V of the New START Treaty, Russian negotiators agreed to exclude five silos converted to target vehicle launchers for that treaty’s ban on offense-defense fixed silo launcher conversion, and vice versa.  If severe concern existed at the time, as is evidently and retrospectively declared in RMFA’s press statement, it is thus hard to understand Russian claims made now that, apparently, test launches of target vehicles, generally, are violations of the INF Treaty.  Should Moscow wished to have banned all such tests from any fixed, land-based silo launcher on the pretext of an INF Treaty violation, why did it agree to grandfather already converted silos at Vandenberg Air Force Base?

Further, paragraph (3) of Article VII of the INF Treaty specifically provides, in full, that “If a [ground-launched ballistic missile] is of a type developed and tested solely to intercept objects not located on the surface of the earth, it shall not be considered to be a missile to which the limitations of this treaty apply.”   RMFA may claim that because missile stages used as target vehicles were formerly accountable under START I, when fully assembled, that they can be equipped and fired with nuclear armament, presumably at a range shorter than 5,500 kilometers, and since clearly any missile defense interceptor missile used to strike a target vehicle cannot be limited by Article VII.3 of the INF Treaty.  However, U.S. missile defense tests, to date, have been transparent, and the United States has gone to great lengths to demonstrate to Moscow that its claims are spurious.  While any stage or stages of a missile formerly accountable as a stage or stages of a type of missile accountable as a strategic offensive arm (SOA) were not developed specifically for use as a target vehicle, their continued elimination in this manner is permissible and well within the bounds of residual, non-binding limitations pertaining to each.  None of these formerly accountable SOA stages are used in any offensive nuclear weapon-delivery system in the United States, nor are they interchanged with any SOA.  The United States does not possess and has not possessed any such program, unlike the USSR/Russia, which did interchange the first stage of its SS-25 SOA with the INF-banned SS-20, and was the only permissible exception contained in the INF Treaty, and necessitated the use of portal-perimeter continuous monitoring (PPCM), which is no longer undertaken in either the Russian Federation or in the United States by either side.  Russia had the option argue for continued PPCM in the New START Treaty, even after the United States indicated it no longer wished to continue it.  Russia also may use its quota of inspection/exhibitions under New START to confirm the non-deployed status of any fixed ICBM silo in the United States converted to launch missile defense target vehicles, at least one of which it has already undertaken in 2013.

Further, RMFA’s public comment does not include specific reference to the “similar characteristics” shared by declared, eliminated and banned U.S. INF-range weapon-delivery missiles and any target vehicle used in missile defense tests.  Should Moscow wish to further articulate these characteristics, the United States would be much obliged.

Simultaneously, however, Moscow must also provide a complete, full and consistent declaration as to the characteristics of all ground-launched cruise missiles implicated in the U.S. noncompliance finding it may possess, in a manner identical to the requirements contained in the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Establishment of the Database for the INF Treaty, to include any launchers and support equipment, deployment areas and all other required information.  Moscow must undertake to provide the United States with this information, posthaste.  If it is Moscow’s position that it has tested, but not deployed the banned GLCM, then, in in a manner similar to the requirements of Section V of the INF MOU for all intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles that were tested prior to the entry into force of the INF Treaty but never deployed and that were not existing types of intermediate-range or shorter-range missiles listed in Article III of the Treaty, Moscow shall provide identical information, should it admit its violation with respect to the banned GLCM, for the banned missile it has today.  This shall include the numbers of all such missiles and of all launchers of such missiles and which should be listed by the missile support facility at which such items are located.  The location of each missile support facility must also be provided, including site diagrams.

[P]roduction of armed drones by the Americans, which evidently are covered by the definition of ground-launched cruise missiles in the Treaty.

No specific type of “armed drone” is recorded in RMFA’s statement.  Presumably, reference is made to types of U.S.-produced unmanned aerial vehicles capable of aerodynamic flight over the majority of their flight path within a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers and which is the rough definition of a GLCM contained in paragraph (2) of Article II of the INF Treaty.  The United States has made every effort in the context of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) to ensure that unmanned systems do not contribute to the proliferation of cruise and ballistic missile technology.  Several Russian sales of various systems have been problematic for these efforts; in particular, its sales of Iskander-E to states like Syria.  Additionally, while exclusively conventionally-armed U.S. unmanned aerial systems are now common in and among our Allies, there is no evidence provided by Moscow proving that any of them are “weapon-delivery vehicles” as the term is used in the INF Treaty.  There is no allegation in the RMFA statement concerning whether or not any unnamed unmanned system has been flight-tested or deployed for weapon-delivery, and thus even if a U.S. unmanned system is launched from land, it does not meet the other tests imposed under the INF Treaty that would render any such system subject to and constitute a violation of the INF Treaty.

Additionally, official Moscow has had no comment on sales of the Club-K Container Missile System, marketing data for which appear to advertise an ability to covertly conceal a cruise missile of shorter-range in and among common commercial freight deliveries, to include marketing of the systems with an unmanned drone or satellite support to guide the Club-K to targets, and includes launches from rail- and road-mobile freight containers/launchers on land, for which such launchers are specifically designed, and from which the Club-K strikes targets located on the surface of the earth.  Flight characteristics and range capabilities are difficult to determine based on publicly available data for the Club-K.

“[The] Mk-41 launch systems, which the United States intend to deploy in Poland and Romania within the framework of the implementation of their ‘stage-by-stage adaptive approach’ to the deployment of a global missile defence.”

The United States publicly announced the first launch of an SM-3 Block IB from a Mark 41 Vertical Launch System (Mk 41 VLS) from Hawaii early this year at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC). To date, Russia has not publicly disclosed the date or dates of its launch of any GLCM, which may bear directly on Russian compliance with its binding obligation not to fire any such system in the INF Treaty.  Again, per previously cited text contained within the INF Treaty, a U.S. VLS launcher deployed on land, the exclusive purpose of which is to fire an intercepting missile at an object not located on the surface of the earth, and which is not developed or designed to launch any weapon-delivery vehicle as that term is used in the INF Treaty, does not appear to be a prima facie violation of the INF Treaty.  Furthermore, the United States has offered on a continued basis cooperation with the Russian Federation in the area of missile defense, since at least 2004 under the previous U.S. President.  At each stage, it has been rebuffed with demands for more information that would compromise the military effectiveness of the systems in question or constitute informal limitations on the range, speed, number and location of such defenses, which the United States cannot and will not accept.

It is also wholly unclear whether a VLS based on land would constitute a fixed launcher for a ground-launched ballistic missile (GLBM launcher) under paragraph (3) of Article II of the INF Treaty.  In addition,  paragraph (7) of Artice II states, in full, that “If a launcher has been tested for launching a GLBM or a GLCM, all launchers of that type shall be considered to have been tested for launching GLBMs or GLCMs.”  While sea-based, the VLS can host a variety of missiles, depending on the deployed missile canister.  Certain software changes can also modify the VLS at sea.  However, the VLS deployed in Poland and Romania will not house any missile other than the Raytheon Standard Missile Three, which is of a type of missile developed and tested solely to intercept objects not located on the surface of the earth.

Lastly, as was repeatedly noted to Moscow since 2009, regional, adaptive U.S. missile defenses in NATO pose no threat to the SOA of the Russian Federation, and are not part of a global missile defense system.  However, Russian noncompliance with the INF Treaty is highly likely to result in reexamination of American plans to cancel certain aspects of its Phased and Adaptive Approach to missile defenses, least not in the U.S. Congress, but equally within the U.S. Government as a whole, to include taking required defensive measures to protect any VLS-ashore in any American ally’s territory.  Russia had many options, but by taking a path of noncompliance with the treaty that fundamentally established the conditions necessary for nuclear arms reductions in Europe, it now wishes to return to an arms race.  By intimating that U.S. missile defenses are a violation of the INF Treaty, Moscow perhaps gives away its own rationale for noncompliance.  We should take steps to ensure no advantage results, including defending our Allies and deployed forces from INF-range attack.

Finally, as other U.S. experts have noted, in particular Jeffrey Lewis, it is the Russian Federation, not the United States, that continues to mix conventional and nuclear missile defense.  It perhaps now has begun to mix conventional and nuclear offense in a force of banned INF-range weapons.

Should Moscow wish to engage in a public debate regarding U.S. arms control compliance, both the Government and people of the United States would welcome any such effort.  Citation of legally defective and intentionally vague accusations in response to a specific, public finding of noncompliance achieves nothing.

Comments

  1. George William Herbert (History)

    I think as a matter of reasonable interpretation the claims are bunk; however…

    On the Mk-41 front, I believe that the US tests the systems on land (including the sea-launch Tomahawk missiles) prior to sea deployment, as a matter of routine course (if there is going to be something catastrophic wrong, the land based test facility is a better place for it to happen than a 300+ crew, $2 billion warship…).

    Other than the difference between Strike, Tactical, and Self Defense length launchers/modules, the modules are all interchangeable. The Strike (303 in) length ones are used for the Tomahawks, booster equipped Standard Missiles (antiair, antimissile), and the upcoming other strike missile options.

    If push comes to shove, we could mount the missiles on a barge, in a pond off the Vistula or some such. Or just stand on “these sites have no strike missiles” and leave it at that. I suspect Russia is going to find an excuse to withdraw from the treaty anyways, before the missile launchers would get there.

    They should be more worried if Poland starts expressing interest in MdCN.

    • Thomas Moore (History)

      GWH,

      I am no fan of the “INF missile barge.” First, it would be highly vulnerable, requiring USN to recreate itself, and deploy surface ships along with the barge to defend it. Second, it would be too expensive. A land-based INF-range U.S. missile R&D (but not T&E) program would remain lawful under the treaty, and could enjoy the benefit of proving that sea-based launchers, the VLS, are not for nuclear arms. It would cost less to defend a fixed, hardened launcher in allied territory than it would to have one roaming the seas, in particular because of our evolving air and missile defense architecture in Europe and Japan. At sea, the barge is treaty-compliant, but vulnerable to subsurface strike and to cruise missile attacks on the water. And even at an effective standoff range, I would worry about the barge on the water, plus, I’d rather not give the PRC any other ideas. At port, who knows its vulnerabilities. After USS Cole, USN has learned some important lessons about hull vulnerabilities, I assume, but I can only imagine the requirements-generation process for the INF barge’s hull. No, I am all for what Elbridge Colby has proposed in the item I linked in the post. Moreover, after USN killed TLAM-N, I can hardly think they would help us with the barge.

      Converting a few SSGN tubes is also a provocative move, and there is now a rich debate, as you know, as to whether or not Moscow is deploying nuclear-armed SLCMs, anyway. I have no idea what it would cost to revive sea-based, nuclear cruise missiles, but that is certainly something that this Administration is opposed to doing, as well, after the 2010 NPR. But I would not mess with anything at sea as it will just give credence to Russian fears that everything we put under the water or on it is a waiting preemptive nuclear weapon.

      We’re starting behind the eight ball, and I would rather not have to learn to swim and climb at the same time.

      Good comments.

    • George William Herbert (History)

      My specific thought for the Barge wasn’t to put the system out to sea, really; it was to have a nominal “water under the keel” to wave at in the treaty as a sea-based system (as ludicrous as it might be) in literally a barge sitting literally in a shallow pond off a river in Poland, where the bunker would have gone with the SM-3 VLS bays.

      I.e., move the bunker onto a barge, claim it’s not a land base, and just move forwards. It doesn’t require the barge to be at sea, just floating. Floating in a pond, in Poland, is still floating…

      More reasonably would be to allow Russia to inspect the land-based missile units and verify they were SM3s not Tomahawks.

      More likely would be they’ll abrogate the treaty shortly, and then we don’t care. It might help avoid unnecessary panic if we unilaterally let them inspect to verify they were SM-3s, but it would make the treaty terms of GLCM launchers easier to deal with.

  2. J_kies (History)

    Lest we launch into silly season; Trident is plenty sufficient to maintain deterrence, shorter range land based anything has extremely dubious ‘add’ value.

    If the Russians are upset about the Chinese INF missiles (and everyone should be) then perhaps we waiver weapons targeting China until the Chinese join normative behaviors and multiparty arms control.

    The barge idea is actually genius for the BMD application; at the moment devoting multiple purpose destroyers to the role of a weapon inventory at some geographic location is wasteful. Consider the flexibility of putting the SM-3s on a barge and then dragging them to wherever makes most sense. If the Navy gets huffy, assign the job to either the US Army or the Coast Guard.

    • Thomas Moore (History)

      When did the Navy stop being huffy? A nuclear Coast Guard? Takes deep-water fleet to a whole new level, so to speak. I had not looked the barge from the standpoint of the missile, rather as a platform. But your comments are quite good.

    • J_kies (History)

      Thomas / all

      Unlike the various policy / arms control people, I am a weapons / systems guy. I believe nuclear armed cruise missiles are a terrible idea from a number of viewpoints and no I wasn’t talking to a nuclear Coast Guard. Trident has addressed the accuracy, payload and nuclear safety / surety issues sufficiently that its inane to consider replicating those efforts for the extremely dubious value of mere INF range systems. Tit for tat is dumb policy; nuclear deterrence is one place where quality (assured second strike capability) beats quantity due to economics. Pick a number sufficient to reliably ruin any nation, pick a multiplier to address delivery uncertainties and voila ‘a credible deterrent’ not even a minimum one.

      Pavel has the usual point about Russian views of the US targets programs; in a different reality we ought to act as the targets contractors for each others systems.

  3. Pavel (History)

    The VLS deployed in Poland and Romania will not house any missile other than the Raytheon Standard Missile Three

    Whether or not these specific VLS were used to fire long-range missiles or whether they will be used to launch interceptors is irrelevant. If launchers of this type were used to test long-range missiles (even if sea-based), and I understand that they were, then deploying any launcher of this type on land might not be treaty-compliant, regardless of what is inside. I’ll have to check the treaty text to see how it works, but your argument doesn’t look convincing. The same is for all arguments about transparency – it’s a good thing, of course, but from the point of view of the treaty it’s irrelevant.

    • Thomas Moore (History)

      Per Article II.1 of the INF, “The term ‘ballistic missile’ means a missile that has a ballistic trajectory over most of its flight path. The term ‘ground-launched ballistic missile (GLBM)’ means a ground-launched ballistic missile that is a weapon-delivery vehicle.” (Odd how they are both jammed in one definition.) Per Article II.3 of the INF, a GLBM launcher is “a fixed launcher or a mobile land-based transporter-erector-launcher mechanism for launching a GLBM.” Per Article II.5 of the INF, the term “‘intermediate-range missile’ means a GLBM or a GLCM having a range capability in excess of 1000 kilometers but not in excess of 5500 kilometers.”

      If these were only the provisions in the INF in force today, then an SM-3 might constitute a violation if it is launched from land.

      However, per Article VII.3 of the INF, “If a GLBM is of a type developed and tested solely to intercept and counter objects not located on the surface of the earth, it shall not be considered to be a missile to which the limitations of this Treaty apply.”

      Because the SM-3 alleged to violate the treaty here is designed and deployed along with its launcher solely to intercept objects not located on the surface of the earth, it is not subject to INF. As well, a VLS ashore that launches the SM-3 would thus not be a GLBM launcher to which the terms of the INF treaty apply, and is thus not a U.S. violation of its obligations under the INF.

      If, however, Russia is ready to demonstrate its compliance with, or simply to withdraw from, the INF, or, in the best case, admit its violation and undertake to restore compliance, the United States could happily find a means to address Russian concerns about any VLS, as it has tried to do for over five years.

      For all treaty citations, online, please see http://www.acq.osd.mil/tc/treaties/inf/text.htm.

    • Pavel (History)

      You are arguing that launching an SM-3 interceptor from MK-41 VLS is not a violation of the treaty. I agree, but I would note that’s not the issue. The issue is that M-41 can launch long-range (sea-based) cruise missiles. As Jeffrey correctly points out below, testing SLCM from a ground-based launcher is allowed by the treaty:

      A cruise missile which is not a missile to be used in a ground-based mode shall not be considered to be a GLCM if it is test-launched at a test site from a fixed land-based launcher which is used solely for test purposes and which is distinguishable from GLCM launchers. (Article VII.11)

      More precisely, if a (long-range) SLCM is tested from a fixed launcher, like M-41, that is located on a test range, that SLCM is not considered GLCM and therefore is perfectly fine with the treaty. What is less clear is whether you could take that “fixed launcher” and start deploying it outside of test sites – like in Poland and Romania. I guess that strictly speaking, if you never use those for SLCM (or other long-range cruise missile) tests, they should be okay. As I understand, this is exactly the argument that US government lawyers are making. But it’s not unreasonable to suggest that this opens a way to circumvent the treaty – these are, after all, launchers that are perfectly capable of launching long-range cruise missiles. Also, the logic of the treaty (all treaties, in fact) suggests that if a launcher of a certain type has been used on one capacity, all launchers of this type should be considered as being able to be used in this capacity. So, it’s immaterial if the specific M-41 launchers in Poland and Romania have never been used to launch an SLCM – they are of the same type that the ones that have been. Since the treaty doesn’t seem to make this point explicitly about launchers, it’s a grey area, but Russia may have a case here.

    • Thomas Moore (History)

      I refer to your comment, “the treaty doesn’t seem to make this point explicitly about launchers, it’s a grey area,” and QED I cannot therefore conclude, nor do I concede, that “Russia may have a point.”

    • Pavel (History)

      The fact that the treaty doesn’t make the point explicitly does not mean that it doesn’t provide arguments to support this point.

  4. Pavel (History)

    You are wrong on the Russian claim regarding missile defense target missiles – for some reason you confuse them with interceptors. Article V.3 of the New START exempts interceptor silos, not those that are used to launch target missiles. Russia’s claim has always been about targets (see this, for example: http://www.armscontrol.ru/start/exclusive/gkk1120.htm).

    On drones, the jury might be out. There is a common understanding of the term “weapon-delivery vehicle,” so Russia doesn’t have to provide a new one. Here is an excerpt from a note exchange:

    In this connection, it is also the position of the Government of the United States of America that the Parties share a common understanding that the term ‘weapon-delivery vehicle’ in the Treaty means any ground-launched ballistic or cruise missile in the 500 kilometer to 5500 kilometer range that has been flight-tested or deployed to carry or be used as a weapon — that is, any warhead, mechanism or device, which, when directed against any target, is designed to damage or destroy it.

    It depends on the definition of cruise missile, but it’s also provided in the treaty:

    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.

    Drones seem to be a good fit.

    Finally, it’s not clear what MTCR and Club-K have to do with any of the issues in question.

    • Thomas Moore (History)

      No, I am not confused. I am standing on U.S. not Russian ground, so I tend to be less confused when I do that.

      The argument against target vehicle launches could have been better phrased in my post; however, I am not going to repeat what you can look up online, which are the previous U.S. statements concerning target launches. The substance of the remark regarding the silo conversion ban in Article V of the New START treaty stands: If Moscow was so worried about any missile defenses at all, it could have pushed harder. Notwithstanding the fact that it did not, and had it done so, there would be not New START, it nevertheless conceded that defense is defense and offense is offense; it visited Vandenberg and no public report states that it found any violations of further offense-defense silo conversion (in and of itself a wholly less egregious act than offensive violation of the INF); and makes old claims try to sound new. Meanwhile it mixes offensive and defensive air and missile defenses, and according to public articles, mixes conventional and nuclear weapons perhaps in an attempt to hide noncompliance and is likely not following the PNIs with respect to long-range SLCMs, see Rogozin’s recent comments. All of which is to say that if U.S. target vehicles were such a big deal, then one has to put the allegation in a context.

      You are correct that Club-K is not necessarily a violation of the INF. But it does not help the MTCR, and it bears mentioning the marketing of a perfect weapon for a state sponsor of terror, deployable in a commercial freight container. I remit the imputed violation but retain the force of my argument, which is now made apart from any INF violation. I would welcome a reply regarding whether or not it assists in preventing the proliferation of cruise weapons to market and sell the Club-K.

      The common understanding does not change Article VII.3, and I rest on my previously stated arguments in original.

      On UAS, again, if they are launched from land, I will concede based purely on treaty text and the record I have available regarding its terms, there could be a question of violation, again, however, the issue of the term “weapon-delivery vehicle” appears, and causes more confusion since it is not a defined term in the treaty. Moreover, to my knowledge, Moscow has never requested a meeting of the SVC under Article XIII of the INF to discuss U.S. UAS, the VLS, nor any target vehicle launch.

      The United States and the Russian Federation can fix that and I would ask why neither side now appears to want an SVC meeting, which is the only available remedy if we at all care what either country looks like its doing or is actually doing. The other remedies are costly, but not exhausting this first one does confuse me. Their inability to conduct one is the single largest demonstration of the fact that the perhaps the limits in the INF treaty no longer matter. If so, then we can all move on to deal with reality, which is getting worse by the hour. I still favor the treaty, but would be the first to leave it if I was shown evidence that its limits are no longer followed by the other side in a militarily significant manner. Even in 1987, the United States had something like less than six or seven INF missile operating bases in Europe, to the USSR’s more than 70 (I haven’t counted in a few years). If Russia has launched only one banned GLCM in violation of the treaty, that’s a grave matter.

      All that notwithstanding, I am glad a few of you guys came up with decent comments as compared to the inane trolling coming at the post from places in and near Europe, which I am not accepting.

    • Pavel (History)

      No, I think you are confusing targets and interceptors. As I understand, in missile defense tests, Vandenberg is not used to launch target missiles, so the New START exemption covers only interceptors deployed in silos there. The silo conversion issue in New START has nothing to do with target missiles. Neither has the whole offense-defense thing. Here is Article V.3 of New START – It never mentions target missiles:

      Each Party shall not convert and shall not use ICBM launchers and SLBM launchers for placement of missile defense interceptors therein. Each Party further shall not convert and shall not use launchers of missile defense interceptors for placement of ICBMs and SLBMs therein. This provision shall not apply to ICBM launchers that were converted prior to signature of this Treaty for placement of missile defense interceptors therein.

      As for drones, my argument stands – the note exchange that defines “weapon-delivery vehicle” should be considered part of the treaty (at least unless U.S. government wants to disavow it), so they could be considered GLCMs. I would leave it to the Russian government, though, to explain why it did not call for a SVC meeting on that – I’m not here to defend Russia’s policies. (I would add that I suspect that Russia want to develop its own drones.)

      By the same token, I’m also wondering why the U.S. did not all an SVC meeting to discuss whatever issues it may have with the Russia’s alleged violation. Or why it did not release more details about it. My guess is that the U.S. case is not particularly strong – so far we have seen no evidence that “[treaty] limits are no longer followed by [Russia] in a militarily significant manner.”

  5. Jeffrey (History)

    I haven’t read the comments carefully — but testing SLCM launches on land is expressly permitted by the treaty, subject to certain limitations.

    • Thomas Moore (History)

      I know. That’s why I say “not following” PNI. Perhaps I should be clear: The INF does not apply to sea-based weapons. No, the Obama NPR does (to our TLAM-N), the HW Bush PNI did, and little else does. And the PNI is only what it was–non-binding artifact from the START I negotiation.

    • Pavel (History)

      Yes, it’s allowed (see my reply to Tom), but only from launchers located at test sites. Deploying these launchers outside of the test sites seems to be against the spirit of the treaty (but may not be against the letter, narrowly interpreted).

    • George William Herbert (History)

      Per other comments and my previous ones, I think the combination comes from land-based Mk-41 and the fact that it can fit a Tomahawk capsule, and has been demonstrated to do so (in USN tests in CONUS).

      We have varying length Mk-41s and if the SM-3 fit in a smaller capsule we could just deploy a Mk-41 with shorter length than the Tomahawk capsule into Poland, and then the question is moot. Those shorter launches can’t fit the longer cruise missiles so there’s no potential violation.

      The problem is that the SM-3 for obvious energetic reasons takes the whole Long tube length, same as Tomahawk.

      We could game something and change the aspect ratio of the clusters of capsules for the BMD Mk-41, and only make SM-3 capsules to the new arrangement.

    • Pavel (History)

      Yes, if the BMD launcher is distinguishable from the one used for SLCM test, then the problem is solved. But as I understand, it is not.

  6. J_kies (History)

    The Polish installation is currently planned as the SM3-2a. The 2a is full diameter system that fills (overfills?) the Mk-41 box. Trades looked at non-Mk41 compliant missile diameters on the SM3-2B.

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