The United States carried out a flight test of a prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 12.
The test was conducted by the Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), part of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and took place some four months after the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union collapsed.
The 30th Space Wing facilitated the successful launch, which made possible the collection of data that will inform the Defense Department’s development of future capabilities, the US Air Force said in a release.
The joint government-industry team began work after the US suspended its Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty obligations in February 2019, and executed the launch within nine months of contract award, a process that typically takes 24 months.
This test marked the second of a prototype conventionally-configured, ground-launched missile system since the US withdrew from the INF Treaty in August. On Aug. 18, the SCO, in conjunction with the US Navy, successfully demonstrated a prototype ground-launched cruise missile during a test at San Nicolas Island, California.