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MOSCOW, September 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Defence Ministry will make two consecutive observation flights on the Russian observation plane An-30B over the territory of Great Britain and Northern Ireland within the framework of the implementation of the International Treaty on Open Skies, the RF Defence Ministry reported.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992. Its signatories are 34 states. At present, the observation flights are performed over the territory of Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries. A total of more than 800 flights have been performed by the states since the moment the treaty came into force. Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging international efforts to date promoting openness and transparency of military forces and activities.
The observation flights will be performed in the period from September 14 to 29, 2012 from the Open Skies airfield Brize Norton. The maximum range of each observation flight will be 2,900 kilometres.
Canada’s mission during these days will also perform an observation flight on the Canadian observation plane C-130 over the territory of Russia within the framework of the same treaty. The flight will be performed from the Open Skies airfield Kubinka and its maximum range will be 5,500 kilometres.
The main objective of the ‘open skies’ regime is the development of openness and transparency, assistance to monitoring the implementation of existing or future agreements on arms control and enhancement of the crisis prevention and crisis management possibilities within the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and other relevant international organisations. In the future, the possibility of expanding the ‘open skies’ regime to new spheres such as environmental protection is envisaged.
Russian and British specialists on board Russia’s surveillance plane will perform flights on the agreed upon routes, control the order of application of the observation equipment, as well as compliance with the Treaty provisions.
In 2012, it will be the 28th and 29th observation flights performed by the Russian Federation over the territory of the States Parties to the Treaty.
During the flight on a coordinated route Russian specialists on board the Canadian surveillance plane will monitor strict adherence to the agreed upon flight parameters and the use of the observation equipment, as provided for in the Treaty.
The Canadian observation plane C-130 belongs to a class of aircraft that are not designed to be equipped with any weapons. The plane and surveillance equipment installed on it (aerial surveying cameras and video cameras) have passed the required international certification with the participation of Russian representatives, which excludes the use of technical equipment that is not provided for in the Treaty on Open Skies.