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US Announces It Will Deploy Previously Banned Nuclear-Capable Missiles To Germany

The deployment of land-based Tomahawk missiles would have violated the INF Treaty, which the US withdrew from in 2019

July 10, 2024

The US announced on Wednesday that it will deploy missiles to Germany that would have been banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which the US withdrew from in 2019.

The INF prohibited land-based missile systems with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles. The planned deployment to Germany includes a land-based version of nuclear-capable Tomahawk missiles, which have a range of about 1,000 miles and are primarily used by US Navy ships and submarines.

“The United States will begin episodic deployments of the long-range fires capabilities of its Multi-Domain Task Force in Germany in 2026, as part of planning for enduring stationing of these capabilities in the future,” the US and Germany said in a joint statement released amid the ongoing NATO summit in Washington.

“When fully developed, these conventional long-range fires units will include SM-6, Tomahawk, and developmental hypersonic weapons, which have significantly longer range than current land-based fires in Europe,” the statement added.

Based on the statement, the US likely plans to deploy a Typhon launcher, a covert system concealed in a 40-foot shipping container that can fire Tomahawks and SM-6 missiles. The SM-6 can hit targets up to 290 miles away, below the levels previously banned by the INF.

The US has previously deployed Typhon launchers for military exercises in the Philippines and Denmark. The announcement of a regular deployment of the missile system to Germany comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow should follow the US in developing weapons previously banned by the INF.

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When the US withdrew from the INF treaty, it claimed Russia was violating the agreement by developing the ground-launched 9M729 cruise missile. Russian officials denied the missile was a violation, saying it had a maximum range of 298 miles.

Russia also accused the US of potentially violating the INF by establishing Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in Romania and Poland. The systems use Mk-41 vertical launchers, which can fit Tomahawk missiles.

The US refused to negotiate with Russia on either issue, and the Trump administration tore up the treaty. It was clear the US exited the treaty so it could deploy intermediate-range missiles near China, leading Russia to propose a moratorium on the deployment of INF missiles in Europe. But the US never accepted the offer.

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