The Secretary of the Army on Thursday said a potential move to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty could set the service up to go after missile technology needed for future multi-domain operations.
Secretary Mark Esper, during a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute, called the Army’s long-range precision fires effort his top modernization priority.
“It’s the ability to shoot great distances and either, for example, support the Air Force by suppressing enemy air defenses at hundreds upon hundreds of miles or supporting the Navy by engaging enemy surface ships at great distances as well. So that’s critical to multi-domain operations,” Esper said. “If and when the INF treaty is lifted, what that does is enable us, with missiles, to do that same type of mission in a conventional way using missile technology.”
The INF treaty with Russia includes a restriction against the development of precision guided missiles capable of reaching ranges beyond 500 kilometers.
President Trump indicated in October his intention to withdraw from the treaty. (Defense Daily, Oct. 22).
The Army is currently planning to test offerings in late 2019 for its new long-range precision strike munition, known as PrSM, which has a requirement to reach a maximum range of 499 kilometers (Defense Daily, Oct. 10).