A modified Russian military Tu-154M-Lk-1 aircraft was spotted flying over Quebec in Canada, as well as other provinces on the Atlantic coast, flight tracking services reported. The plane flew over Canadian military facilities for around five hours as a part of the planned observation flight under the Open Skies Treaty.
🇷🇺 #Russia|n Air Force #RuAF Tupolev Tu-154M LK-1 Open Skies Treaty-certified observation plane RF-85655|#194E97 is still at picture-taking altitude and speed, which suggests they will be performing the 6125 km (max) flight from Trenton, not Iqaluit as they'd originally indicated pic.twitter.com/t0e6ZUGoCa— Steffan Watkins (@steffanwatkins) July 25, 2019
The official newspaper of the Russian Defence Ministry, Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), reported earlier on 22 July that the Russian plane would be conducting the 6,150-kilometre long flight between 22 and 28 of July. The newspaper noted that the route had been agreed on with the Canadian side and that the country's experts on board would monitor the use of the Russian observation equipment.
RECAP of Russia's observation flight over Canada today.— Steffan Watkins (@steffanwatkins) July 25, 2019
🇷🇺 #Russia|n Air Force #RuAF Tupolev Tu-154M LK-1 Open Skies Treaty-certified observation plane RF-85655|#194E97 #RF85655 #OpenSkiesTreaty
~14:45Z wheels up from CFBTrenton, headed NE at ~10-11k ft, doing ~300kn 📷 pic.twitter.com/oLP3Mp3qmB
Krasnaya Zvezda also said that a joint observation mission comprised of the US, Canada, and Hungary, would be conducted between 22 and 26 of July on board a Hungarian An-26 observation plane, without specifying its path.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 by 23 states to organise mutual observation flights over the territories of the accord's participants. The flights allow the parties to monitor each other's military activities, thereby building mutual trust. Both Russia and Canada have signed and ratified the treaty.