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Deployment of US Mk 41 missile systems in Romania, Poland contradicts INF Treaty.

| 2018

Last June, the US has started deploying Aegis Ashore missile-defense systems, as well as Mk-41 Vertical Launching Systems tubes that could be used to launch intermediate-range cruise missiles in Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said. The deployment of the US Mk-41 launching systems in Romania and Poland contradicts the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, according to Vladimir Yermakov, the head of the ministry’s Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control. “There are also serious questions regarding the actions of our American colleagues that are contrary to the INF Treaty, including the ground-based deployment of universal Mk-41 launchers in Romania and Poland,” Sputnik quoted Yermakov as saying during a general debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Deployment of US Mk 41 missile systems in Romania Poland contradicts INF Treaty
Launching of a Mk.41 missile (Picture source: BAE Systems)

President Putin said that those are multifunctional tubes in which Tomhawk cruise missiles could be loaded without Romania's knowledge and launched toward Russia. That is why MiG-31 with hypersonic missiles are standing by in Crimea. Their missiles are 4 minutes (at 10 times the speed of sound) from the concerned base in Romania.

The Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk.41 VLS) is a shipborne missile canister launching system which provides a rapid-fire launch capability. The Vertical Launch System (VLS) concept was derived from work on the Aegis Combat System. The Mk.41 is capable of firing the following missiles: RIM-66 Standard, RIM-67 Standard, RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, RIM-174 Standard ERAM, RGM-109 Tomahawk, RUM-139 VL-ASROC, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, and RIM-162 ESSM. The missiles are pre-loaded into "canisters", which are then loaded into the individual "cells" of the launcher. The ESSM is loaded in a quad-pack with 4 missiles in one Mk.25 canister. Launcher cells are fitted to ships in 8-cell (2 rows of 4) modules that share a common uptake hatch (exhaust system) sited between the two rows.

Mk.41 VLS adopts modular design concept, which result in different versions that vary in size and weight due to different "canisters" in various modules. The height (missile length) of the launcher comes in three sizes: 209 inches (5.3 m) for the self-defense version, 266 inches (6.8 m) for the tactical version, and 303 inches (7.7 m) for the strike version. The empty weight for an 8-cell module is 26,800 pounds (12,200 kg) for the self-defense version, 29,800 pounds (13,500 kg) for the tactical version, and 32,000 pounds (15,000 kg) for the strike version. Originally, one module would consist of five cells and a collapsible crane for assisting with replenishment at sea, but replenishment of large missiles at sea was later seen as impractical and dangerous, and modules with the cranes fell out of use.


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