Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he “would be willing to support” speeding up the fielding of the nuclear-capable long range standoff weapon, known as LRSO, or the B61-12 nuclear bomb on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Both programs both in various stages of development.
“We see what the Russians are doing; they’re not going to stand down out of the goodness of their heart, and so some sort of strong action is important,” Thornberry told reporters late Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
His comments came just hours after Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Thornberry and other lawmakers on the panel that Russia had deployed a land-based cruise missile and stands in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Selva said Moscow violated the “spirit and intent” of the pact — which bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310 and 3,410 miles) — by equipping two battalions with the cruise missile. One was placed at Russia’s missile test site at Kapustin Yar and another at an unspecified location, The New York Times has reported.
Echoing Selva at the briefing, Thornberry added, “You’re not going to get rid of a Russian capability by not having a capability of your own.”
Asked whether the U.S. should withdraw from the treaty as it did in 2002 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the former USSR, Thornberry said, “I’ll let lawyers consider a legal status of a treaty in which the Russians are in clear violation of.”
Read more of this story at Military.com.