MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) - Italian military inspectors will fly over the territory of Russia starting from Monday under the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian Defense Ministry official said.
“In the period between August 26 and 31, a group of Italian inspectors will make a surveillance flight over the territory of the Russian Federation on board an Italian [Lockheed Martin] C-130J aircraft,” Col. Ruslan Shishin, acting head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, said.
Shishin also said that Russian and Belarusian inspectors would conduct an inspection flight over Poland on board a Russian Antonov An-30B aircraft in the period between August 26 and 30.
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 deal in May 2001.
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.
The image data recorded during the observation flights can be shared among all signatories to support the monitoring of compliance with existing or future arms control treaties.