MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russian military inspectors will begin a series of monitoring flights over the United States Monday under the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian Defense Ministry official said.
Experts from Russia will conduct two flights on board a Tupolev Tu-154M-LK-1 plane between September 2 and 16, said Ruslan Shishin, acting head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center.
The flights will be carried out from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, along agreed flight routes with the maximum range of 4,900 kilometers (3,044 miles) and 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) respectively.
The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, established 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.
These will be the 28th and 29th observation flights conducted by Russian military inspectors over the territories of the treaty member-states in 2013.
Each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with optical, infra-red and radar sensors to gather imagery, which can be shared among all signatories to support the monitoring of compliance with arms control treaties.