Whole thing is really odd.
Russia has been complaining of 3 different US breaches for years but US refuses to address them.
I actually read the treaty & came to the conclusion US is clearly in breach for 2, not clear about the 3rd.
2. The term "cruise missile" means an unmanned, self-propelled vehicle that sustains flight through the use of aerodynamic lift over most of its flight path. The term "ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM)" means a ground-launched cruise missile that is a weapon-delivery vehicle.
1988 note from US to USSR
the Parties share a common understanding that the term "weapon-delivery vehicle" in the Treaty means any ground-launched ballistic or cruise missile in the 500 kilometer to 5500 kilometer range that has been flight-tested or deployed to carry or be used as a weapon -- that is, any warhead, mechanism or device, which, when directed against any target, is designed to damage or destroy it. Therefore, the Treaty requires elimination and bans production and flight-testing of all such missiles tested or deployed to carry or be used as weapons based on either current or future technologies
This is clearly & undeniably breached by US armed drones like Reaper.
- Self propelled
- A vehicle
- Which flies with aerodynamic lift
- And carries weapons to destroy ground targets
From recollection the US claims Drones are excluded because:
They aren't 'launched' -but launch method isn't defined in the treaty presumably specifically to exclude clever work-arounds. Many (admittedly smaller & probably sub 500km) drones do use launch rails & even canisters.
They are ground piloted -but guidance method isn't defined in the treaty presumably specifically to exclude clever work-arounds. Many missiles are manually guided eg Maverick & TOW.
They fire missiles but don't themselves have a warhead -but the treaty & 1988 US note clearly envisage multi-stage missiles & missiles which deliver their warhead as sub-munitions.
AEGIS Ashore with Mk 41 launchers is clearly a breach of the launcher clauses.
US claims it doesn't count because they don't have Tomahawk guidance software or missiles present, but the physical launcher & electronic equipment is the same, only needs a software change to enable.
Just because a launcher doesn't currently
have missiles doesn't exclude it from the treaty, its the physical existence of the launcher that is a breach.
The 3rd one is US ABM test ballistic target, US claims its 'scientific' & there is an appropriate clause for that in the treaty.
Question is if 'scientific' can reasonably include military weapon testing, I'd have thought the intent of the 'science' clause would be civilian science.
It's hard to see it as a serious breach but forcing US to destroy them would be handy politically for Russia since it would hurt US ABM development.
Meanwhile US is currently complaining about Russian Iskander-M which appears to be using essentially the same Calibr missile as used in ships, with reported & proven range well within the INF range.
The existing missile is shorter with 500km range but it's not clear to me that the longer new missile necessarily matches the ship launched Calibr in range: they could be using the extra length for a bigger warhead & a bit of extra fuel to come out with an equal range.
Doubtful that full range would be over 5500km.
If it is the full range missile its hard to fathom exactly WTH Russia is doing? It would be an obvious, complete breach.
Arguably its a response to US breaches but if so surely Russia should publicly say 'this is our response to US clear & persistent breaches'.
Maybe the intent is to provide leverage for negotiations with US around ABM/bringing other countries in to INF?
But if they just want to build missiles in that range they should surely have pulled out of the treaty like US did with ABM treaty.