Russia may develop the land-based version of the sea-launched Kalibr cruise missile system and arrange its serial production already by the end of 2019, a source in the missile-building industry told TASS on Thursday.
"The land-based Kalibr system with the cruise missile can be developed and prepared for its serial production by the end of this year," the source said.
The development of a land-based version won’t require much time as the long-range Kalibr missile has for long been operational in the Russian Navy. In particular, it was successfully used when Russia delivered strikes against terrorists in Syria, the source pointed out.
"In order to use this missile in its land-based version, it is only necessary to make changes to its control system and replace the software," the source noted.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier it was necessary to develop the land-based Kalibr system with the long-range cruise missile in 2019-2020 as a tit-for-tat measure against the US ongoing work to create ground-based missiles with the range capability of over 500km, which is a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by Washington.
Road to INF exit
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on February 1 that Washington would suspend its obligations under the INF Treaty starting February 2 and would quit it within six months if Russia did not come into compliance with the agreement.
A day later, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded in kind, saying that Moscow would suspend the Cold War-era arms reduction treaty. Moreover, he told his ministers not to initiate disarmament talks with Washington, underscoring that the United States should become "mature enough" for equal and meaningful dialogue. Putin pointed out that Russia would start work on the development of new weapons mirroring Washington’s steps. In particular, work will begin on a new hypersonic ground-launched medium-range missile.
The US began censuring Russia for allegedly breaking the treaty in July 2014. Since then, Washington has repeated its accusations on many occasions. In turn, Moscow has rebuffed these allegations and advanced counterclaims against the US, saying that Washington has failed to comply with the accord.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by the Soviet Union and the United States on December 8, 1987, entered into force on June 1, 1988. The INF deal covered deployed and non-deployed ground-based short-range missiles (from 500 to 1,000 kilometers) and intermediate-range missiles (from 1,000 to 5,500 kilometers). By June 1991, the parties had met their obligations under the treaty, as the Soviet Union had destroyed 1,846 missiles and the United States eliminated 846.