The Air Force conducted a flight test of a new ground-launched ballistic missile Dec. 12 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the Pentagon said Thursday.
The test of the prototype intermediate-range missile was performed in partnership with the Strategic Capabilities Office, and is the latest step in the service’s development of new missiles in that range group following the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty earlier this year.
The test missile, which was configured for a conventional payload, exited its static launch stand and terminated in the open ocean after more than 500 kilometers of flight, the Pentagon said in a statement. Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense’s development of future intermediate-range capabilities.
The Defense Department most recently tested an intermediate-range conventionally configured cruise missile in August, when it used a mobile launcher to fire a missile at St. Nicholas Island, California. In that test, the missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight, the Pentagon said Aug. 19.
That test came just weeks after the U.S. officially withdrew from the INF treaty Aug. 2.