The US has signed over $1 billion in contracts for the development of new missiles in the three months since Washington announced it would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in October 2018, ONA reports citing Sputnik.
Between October 2018 and February 2019, when Washington formally began the process of leaving the INF Treaty, it quickly set about developing a new arsenal of missiles, penning $1.1 billion in deals with defense contractors in that three-month time span, according to a new report by anti-nuclear weapons activists. That runs in sharp contrast to the US' own claims in February that it would continue to respect the boundaries of the treaty.
The US and Soviet Union signed the treaty, which banned land-based missiles with ranges of 310 to 620 miles and 620 to 3,420 miles, in 1987. US President Donald Trump suspended the arms treaty because he believed Moscow had violated it by deploying the 9M729 missile on its Iskander system. Russia has denied the missile's range reaches into banned distances.
"The withdrawal from the INF Treaty has fired the starting pistol on a new Cold War," Beatrice Fihn, head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), told AFP Thursday. The group partnered with the peace organization PAX to produce the report. Both organizations have been awarded Nobel Peace Prizes for their past work.
Some of the top beneficiaries of the new arms race are Raytheon, which got 44 new contracts worth some $537 million; Lockheed Martin, which signed 36 new deals worth $268 million; and Boeing, which got four new contracts worth $245 million.
However, while the authors are careful to note that it's not clear that all of the new contracts were for nuclear weapons production, "What is clear is that there is a new rush towards building more missiles that benefit a handful of US companies and intend to flood the market with missiles regardless of their range," according to the report.