America and Russia recently abandoned the INF treaty, with both sides blaming each other.

Since then I've heard that the US has tested short-range missiles. I read headlines and thought: It's ok, as the treaty is over, although this is a bit fast (a month after treaty end), as average American military research speed goes (for example F-35 project).

So, I continued to read, and discovered something very interesting: America has used the Mark 41 launcher. Which is, as we all know, part of Aegis onshore system based in Poland, Romania, etc.

The question: US missile defence system launchers can be used for launching short-range attack missiles. This violates the INF treaty.

Was Russia right about the US initially breaking INF and invalidating the treaty? (Russian defence ministry has reiterated this point, for example: armyrecognition.com.

The Newsweek article I've read.

  • 5
    You'd like to know if, using public available information, we can prove the US was in violation of the Intermediate range Nuclear Forces Treaty?
    – Jontia
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 8:06
  • 2
    You formulated it like a boss! Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 8:09
  • 1
    @user2501323 If you think Jontia's phrasing encapsulates core of your question, consider rewriting your question while using Jontia's phrasing.
    – M i ech
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 9:01
  • 3
    @DrunkCynic how is asking whether a specific site violated the treaty pushing an agenda? Merely questioning whether the US might have done something bad isn't pushing an agenda.
    – JJJ
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 17:15
  • 2
    being skeptical ( viz: 'don't take US word on trust') is an agenda pushed by current adminstration. Being skeptical is why we ask questions (dig deeper) then there are competing ideas.
    – BobE
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


The INF treaty concerned ground based intermediate range missiles. This is to say, missiles that are launched from ground, and whose maximum range is between 500km and 5500km. (310 - 3,420 mi)

Did the USA violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty?

I just want to expand the previous answer: USA has used the Mark 41 vertical launch system on land in Poland in "Aegis ashore". This is a missile defense system, not an offensive system. The same Mark 41 VLS is a ubiquitous thing that can be found on the decks of most NATO combat vessels. Often loaded with cruise missiles. A success story in modular design.

Russia claims this means that the same canisters on land could just be loaded with cruise missiles. US claims there are modifications that prevent this. I'm not convinced by this explanation, and nobody can be without detailed engineering inspection. No honest actor would expect a potential adversary to believe such a claim.

Furthermore, after exiting INF it took only a few months for US to test a new missile that would have broken INF treaty. This is suspiciously fast. The reason is that the test was basically a naval launch tube containing a Tomahawk bolted onto a trailer. The canister is of the same Mark 41 VLS type. It is beyond obvious that US had no intention to stay in INF, the optics are so disrespectful.

The reasons can be speculated. It is true that the treaty was pretty inconsequential for US who can launch these missiles from a multitude of vessels, and aircraft. Russia has quite limited capability to do so, and was hurt more by INF. The reason US is backing down from several treaties with Russia is probably that they feel like the appropriate great power to deal with is China, and for historical reasons most of the treaties do not concern them.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .