The US Reforms Its Old Intermediate-Range Missile Unit in Germany
Only a matter of time until it equips it with intermediate-range missiles, possibly including nuclear
Free of long-standing treaty constraints and with a new heavy focus on long-range precision fires, the US Army has officially reactivated its European Theater Fires Command as the service prepares to introduce new far-reaching fires capabilities.
The reborn 56th Artillery Command will “plan and coordinate the employment of multi-domain fires and effects” to support US Army Europe and Africa, as well as any combined joint force land component command, according to a service press release. The unit’s primary focus will be coordinating long-range missile fires far beyond the distances the Army has fired in recent decades.
The 56th Artillery Command was previously activated between 1986 to 1991, but was shuttered after the now-obsolete Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty was signed, which barred the development of missiles that could fly between 500 to 5,500 km (or 310 to 3,417 miles). The Trump administration exited the treaty in 2019 citing continuous violations by Russia.
“The reactivation of the 56th Artillery Command will provide U.S. Army Europe and Africa with significant capabilities in multi-domain operations” said Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Maranian, commanding general of the 56th Artillery Command, in a statement. “It will further enable the synchronization of joint and multinational fires and effects, and employment of future long range surface to surface fires across the U.S. Army Europe and Africa area of responsibility.”
The service is in the midst of rebuilding its long-range fires portfolio as it pivots to confront near-peer threats in China and Russia. The service is developing the Precision Strike Missile to fly up to 499km, a number set before the exit from the INF; its Mid-Range Capability will fly 1,000 miles and the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon aims for 1,725 miles. All three of those capabilities are supposed to be fielded as prototypes in 2023.
Source: Breaking Defense