Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty - INF (1987)

Summary

Bilateral ratified treaty between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., which required the elimination of all missiles with ranges between 625 and 3,500 miles by June 1, 1991, and all missiles with ranges between 300 and 625 miles within 18 months. In all, 2,692 missiles were to be eliminated. In addition, all associated equipment and operating bases were closed out from any further INF missile system activity. Altogether it resulted in the elimination of 846 U.S. INF missile systems and 1,846 Soviet INF missile systems. Compliance is monitored using national technical means, five types of on-site inspection, and cooperative measures. The INF treaty is the first nuclear arms control agreement to actually reduce nuclear arms, rather than establish ceilings. The treaty entered into force on June 1, 1988.

Narrative

The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, commonly referred to as the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, requires destruction of the Parties' ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force.

In the mid-1970s the Soviet Union achieved rough strategic parity with the United States. Shortly thereafter, the Soviet Union began replacing older intermediate-range SS-4 and SS-5 missiles with a new intermediate-range missile, the SS-20, bringing about what was perceived as a qualitative and quantitative change in the European security situation. The SS-20 was mobile, accurate, and capable of being concealed and rapidly redeployed. It carried three independently targetable warheads, as distinguished from the single warheads carried by its predecessors. The SS-20s 5,000 kilometer range permitted it to cover targets in Western Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and, from bases in the eastern Soviet Union, most of Asia, Southeast Asia, and Alaska.

On December 8, 1987, the Treaty was signed by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev at a summit meeting in Washington. At the time of its signature, the Treaty's verification regime was the most detailed and stringent in the history of nuclear arms control, designed both to eliminate all declared INF systems entirely within three years of the Treaty's entry into force and to ensure compliance with the total ban on possession and use of these missiles.

In late April and early May 1991, the United States eliminated its last ground-launched cruise missile and ground-launched ballistic missile covered under the INF Treaty. The last declared Soviet SS-20 was eliminated on May 11, 1991. A total of 2,692 missiles was eliminated after the Treaty's entry-into-force.

 Following the December 25, 1991, dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States sought to secure continuation of full implementation of the INF Treaty regime and to multilateralize the INF Treaty with twelve former Soviet republics which the United States considers INF Treaty successors.2 Of the twelve successor states, six -- Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan -- have inspectable INF facilities on their territory. Of these six, four -- Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia, and Ukraine -- are active participants in the process of implementing the Treaty. With the agreement of the other Parties, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, each with only one inspectable site on its territory, while participants, have assumed a less active role, foregoing attendance at sessions of the SVC and participation in inspections.

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