MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) – Russian military inspectors will start on Sunday a series of monitoring flights over the United States under the international Open Skies Treaty, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said.
Russian experts will carry out two consecutive monitoring missions in a Tupolev Tu-154 M/LK-1 aircraft from June 16 through July 1, the ministry said in a statement.
The missions will be carried out from the Travis Air Force Base in California and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Russian inspectors, accompanied by US specialists, will operate surveillance equipment on board of the aircraft as set out in the international Open Skies Treaty.
Under the treaty, each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with a sensor suite including optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, thermal infrared imaging sensors and imaging radar.
These will be Russia’s 16th and 17th monitoring flights in 2013 over the territories of the Open Skies Treaty member states.
The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities.
Russia ratified the treaty in May 2001.