MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian military inspectors will begin monitoring flights over the United States starting Sunday under the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian Defense Ministry official said.
Experts from Russia will be conducting flights on board of a Tupolev Tu-154M Lk-1 aircraft between October 27 and November 4, Sergei Ryzhkov, the head of the ministry’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, said.
The flights will be carried out from the Travis Air Force Base in the US state of California, along agreed flight routes with the maximum range of 4,250 kilometers (2,640 miles).
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 transparency of military forces and activities. Russia ratified the treaty in May 2001.
It will be the 37th observation flight mission 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.