In September 1988, the U.S. eliminated the first of 169 Pershing 1A missiles at Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Texas. Vice President George Bush, (right) observed the process with General Lajoie, Director OSIA, and Soviet Colonel Nikolai Shabalin.


By mandating the elimination of U.S. and Soviet missiles, the INF Treaty marked a sharp break with previous arms control treaties. President Reagan noted this distinction in his remarks at the INF Treaty signing ceremony in the White House on December 8, 1987. Speaking to General Secretary Gorbachev and an audience of diplomats, negotiators, and political leaders, the President began by noting that it had taken six years of negotiations to produce the treaty. Then he made a comparison: "Unlike treaties in the past, it didn't simply codify the status quo or a new arms buildup; it didn't simply talk of controlling an arms race. For the first time in history, the language of arms control was replaced by arms reduction--in this case, the complete elimination of an entire class of United States and Soviet nuclear missiles."1    


    Elimination Sites
    When the treaty entered into force on June 1, 1988, the Soviet Union and the United States listed 12 elimination sites in the revised data exchange in the official Memorandum of Understanding. In the same document, they designated which missile system would be eliminated at each site.

The United States declared it would eliminate 846 INF missiles, as well as launchers and associated equipment. All were grouped into three major weapons systems: the Pershing II (234) and Pershing IA (169) owned and operated by the U.S. Army, and the BGM-109 GLCMs (443) of the U.S. Air Force. Once the treaty went into effect, the military services were responsible, upon receipt of appropriate orders, for removing the INF missiles and launchers from operational status, for transporting them to the elimination sites, and for conducting the actual eliminations. Four sites were used: three in the continental United States and one in West Germany. In the United States, the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant in Marshall, Texas, would eliminate all Pershing IA and a portion of the Pershing II missile stages. The Pueblo Depot Activity in Pueblo, Colorado, was the site for eliminating the other portion of the Pershing II missiles and selected Pershing II launchers. In Europe, the elimination site was located at the U.S. Army's Equipment Maintenance Center at Hausen, West Germany. There, Pershing II launchers would be eliminated. The Air Force selected Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, as the site for destroying its GLCM missiles and launchers. The Army and Air Force had to complete all eliminations within the deadlines set by the treaty: 18 months for the shorter-range missile systems and three years for the intermediate-range systems.2

The USSR declared it would eliminate 1,846 INF missiles. Eight sites were used, all within the Soviet Union. In the eastern USSR, two military bases, Kansk and Chita, served as elimination sites where a small number of SS-20 missiles were launched to destruction. The treaty permitted each party the right to destroy up to 100 missiles through launching. This activity had to be completed by December 1, 1988. Saryozek in the eastern Soviet Union served as the elimination site for SS-12 and SS-23 missiles. On the European side of the Ural Mountains, in the western USSR, five sites were used for eliminating INF missiles. At Kapustin Yar, SS-20 missiles would be destroyed though explosive demolition. At Stan'kovo, SS-12 and SS-23 transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles would be eliminated, while at Sarny, SS-20 (TEL) vehicles were scheduled for elimination. At Lesnaya, SS-4 and SS-5 missiles and components would be destroyed. At Jelgava, the nondeployed SSC-X-4 missiles and launchers would be destroyed.3

Map of INF Elimination Sites in the U.S.

Map of Soviet Elimination Sites


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