Russia to develop hypersonic missile amid INF Treaty impasse

Moscow [Russia]: Russia will be developing two new missile systems in “tit-for-tat mirrored measures” amid the stalemate between Moscow and Washington with regards to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The United States had suspended its obligations under the landmark arms control treaty, starting from February 2, triggering a mirrored response from Russia.

The missile systems include the ground-based version of the sea-launched Kalibr system with the long-range cruise missile and another ground-based system with the long-range hypersonic missile.

“The General Staff has submitted to the supreme commander-in-chief a list of measures, which he has approved. In 2019-2020, we need to develop the ground-based version of the sea-launched Kalibr system with the long-range cruise missile, which has proven its worth in Syria,” TASS quoted Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.

“At the same time, they (the United States) are actively working on creating ground-based missiles with the range capability of over 500km, which is outside the treaty-stipulated limitations. In this situation, the Russian President has set the task for the Defence Ministry to take tit-for-tat mirrored measures,” the minister added.

Shoigu has further instructed the Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko “to start the corresponding experimental design work within a short period of time within the appropriations allocated under the defence procurement plan for 2019 and for the planned period of 2020-2021 by re-distributing funds for the fulfillment of this work.”

The INF Treaty, sealed in the waning days of the Soviet Union in 1987, bans ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometres. The Trump administration announced last October that, because of Russian violations dating back several years, it was planning to pull the United States from the pact.

The accord was signed by former US President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev to limit the arms race between the nations.