Ten Soviet inspectors visited Dugway Proving Ground Saturday to confirm U.S. compliance with the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty.
The team flew in from San Francisco on a U.S. Air Force C-141 cargo plane. They were immediately taken by bus to the former launch-and-retrieval site for the ground-launch cruise missile north of Wig Mountain.It was this site the Soviets came to see. Under the INF treaty, ratified in 1988, the ground-launch cruise missile is banned in both the United States and Soviet Union.
"The only thing left from the cruise missile testing is a concrete launch pad," said Dugway spokeswoman Kathy Whitaker. The Soviets came to make certain the site was still dismantled. They last checked the site in July 1988.
The team arrived at Travis Air Force Base in San Francisco on Friday. Under the terms of the treaty, they can decide to visit any middle-range missile site in the United States.
Saturday morning, the team declared its desire to visit Dugway, Whitaker said. Dugway was notifed at 9 a.m.
Under the terms of the treaty, "We had nine hours after that 9 a.m. notice to have them at the site," she explained. The 10-member team, accompanied by interpreters and U.S. treaty specialists, arrived at Dugway at 2:38 p.m., well within the deadline.
Soviet teams will be making spot checks on intermediate weapon sites through the United States for the next 13 years, Whitaker said. They can make 20 U.S. inspections a year until 1991, she said. Then they may make 15 visits a year through 1996. Through the year 2001, they may make 10 visits a year.
U.S. teams have identifical privileges in the Soviet Union, she said. The Soviet team left Dugway at 10:30 p.m. to return to Travis.