The US Air Force (USAF) and the US army are getting busy on their new weapon systems. The two forces have announced plans to develop and deploy new ground-based laser weapon systems. In addition to the Air Force and Army's new laser weapon systems, the US also announced plans to beef up its missile arsenal, following its withdrawal from the INF treaty.

On Friday, August 2, USAF officially announced plans to work and deploy two ground-based laser weapon systems. The Air Force plans to conduct its first operational field test of the new laser weapon system, which the service said is part of a $23 million sole-source contract for two of Raytheon’s High Energy Laser Weapons Systems.

The new weapon test will be conducted for 12 months in an undisclosed contested environment outside the continental United States, according to the US Air Force.

The test will focus on how the weapons perform against small drones, which will be the Air Force’s first operational field test of an experimental directed energy weapon system. The USAF is not the only service that will get a new weapon system. The US Army will also get a huge upgrade, a new laser weapon system to its arsenal. The US Army has already announced plans to add directed energy weapons to its inventory. In fact, the service has awarded military contracts to defense contractor Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to develop directed-energy weapon systems that can be attached to the Army’s main fighting vehicle like the Stryker combat.

The Army wants a high-tech weapon system that can engage and destroy drones, rockets, and vehicles.

US ends missile treaty with Russia, announces plans to test a new missile

The US has officially announced its withdrawal from the Cold War-era INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty with Russia, CNN reported. The US made the big announcement on Friday, August 2.

At the same time, the US also announced plans to develop and test new missile systems to counter the growing strength of both Russia and China. The planned non-nuclear mobile-launched cruise missile will be developed specifically to challenge Moscow in Europe, according to a senior US defense official.

The US withdrawal from the INF Treaty has placed an end to a Cold War-era nuclear arms control pact that has limited the two nuclear powers from developing a ground-based missile with a range of 500 to 5,000 kilometers.

However, the news about the withdrawal has created fears of a new arms race, something much deadlier than the previous Cold War-era arms race. The end of the INF treaty comes as the US and Russia seek to contain the growing nuclear missile threats from both Iran and North Korea.

Why the US withdraw from the INF treaty

In 2014, the US government, under the Obama administration, first publicly accused Moscow of violating the INF treaty by developing and testing a treaty-busting cruise missile and drama continued when the Trump administration pressed the accusation. The US claimed that Russia has cheated them and added that the noncompliant missile systems the Russians fielded gave Moscow a huge military advantage over NATO forces in the European region.

However, Russia strongly denied violation of the INF treaty and countered with a contention that the US missile-armed drones and ballistic missile defense system in Europe are the clear violations of the arms treaty.

According to a senior US defense official, Russia has been developing, testing and deploying multiple battalions of non-INF compliant cruise missile and ballistic missiles in Europe. The US military said that the deployment of these kinds of missiles are militarily significant because the missiles are highly mobile, which allows the Russian military to move them rapidly from one location to another place. This makes it too difficult for the US forces to track and destroy them. Additionally, those Russian missiles also use solid fuel, which means that they can be launched at a moments notice or in a very short time.

The missile readiness means that the Russian missile can be fired immediately on almost any major US and NATO bases in Europe, providing the US and its allies a very short time to launch a countermeasure.

In addition to Russia, the US also accused China of violating the INF treaty. The US military claimed that around 95 percent of China’s ballistic and cruise missiles would have violated the INF treaty.