birdwatcher (birdwatcher) wrote,


David -- Two things about Sunday’s test seem particularly odd:

First, the test ironically seemed to confirm concerns Russia has raised for years about a possible US violation of the INF Treaty. In particular, Russia has noted that the US missile defense system in Romania and soon to be placed in Poland uses ground-based launchers for its interceptors, and that those launchers could also be used for firing offensive missiles like the Tomahawk. This interoperability would allow the missile defense sites in Romania and Poland to be quickly converted to offensive sites.

While the United States has consistently denied this possibility, Sunday’s test indeed used the Mark-41 launch tube that is part of those missile defense systems. The Pentagon insists the system is “configured” differently to launch Tomahawks rather than interceptors, but the difference appears to be in software and not hardware. Russia would not know how long it would take to make such a change, or whether the change had already taken place.

So while US concerns about Russian violations of the INF Treaty appear to be valid, Sunday’s test appeared to verify that Russian concerns about US violations were also valid.

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