Over five years ago we titled “Are missiles returning to Comiso? (Sicily).”  This hypothesis was ignored by the entire political spectrum and dismissed by some self-styled expert as “alarmist.” The alarm, unfortunately, was well founded.
A few days ago, on November 6, Lockheed Martin (the same company that produces the F-35s) signed a first $ 340 million contract with the US Army for the production of medium-range missiles, including those armed with nuclear warheads, designed to be installed in Europe. Missiles of this category (with a ground base and range between 500 and 5500 km) were prohibited by the INF Treaty, signed in 1987 by Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan: it had eliminated the nuclear ballistic missiles Pershing 2, deployed by the United States in Western Germany, and the nuclear cruise Tomahawk missiles, deployed by the United States in Italy (Comiso, Sicily), Great Britain, West Germany, Belgium, and Holland, and at the same time the SS-20 ballistic missiles deployed by the Soviet Union on its territory.
In 2014, without any evicence, the Obama administration accused Russia of having tested a cruise missile (acronym 9M729) in the category prohibited by the Treaty, and, in 2015, announced that “faced with the violation of the INF Treaty by Russia, the United States is considering the deployment of ground-based missiles in Europe.”
The baton then passed to the Trump administration, which in 2019 decided on the withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty, accusing Russia of having “deliberately violated” it. After some missile tests, Lockheed Martin was commissioned to build a cruise missile deriving from the Tomahawk and a ballistic missile deriving from Raytheon’s SM-6. According to the contract, the two missiles will be operational in 2023: therefore, ready to be installed in Europe in two years.
The geographic factor should be kept in mind: while a medium-range US nuclear ballistic missile launched from Europe can hit Moscow in a few minutes, a similar missile launched by Russia can hit European capitals, but not Washington. Reversing the scenario, it is as if Russia were to deploy medium-range nuclear missiles in Mexico.
It should also be noted that the SM-6 performs the function of “three missiles in one,” as Raytheon specified: anti-aircraft, anti-missile and attack missile.