MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. A group of Russian military experts will perform an observation flight over the United States while U.S. military experts will perform an observation flight over Russia, Sergei Ryzhkov, the head of Russia’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, said on Sunday.
"Under the international Open Skies Treaty, Russian inspectors plan to make an observation flight onboard a Russian Tu-154MLk-1 plane over the U.S. territory," he said.
The flight will be performed in a period from November 14 to November 19 from the Travis Air Force Base in California. The maximum range of the flight will be 4,250 kilometers.
The U.S. military will perform an observation flight over Russia in a period from November 14 to 18. The flight will be performed onboard an OC-135b plane from an airfield in Russia’s Far Eastern Khabarovsk, he said, adding Russian specialists will be on board the U.S. plane to monitor compliance with the provisions of the treaty. Correspondingly, U.S. specialists will be onboard the Russian plane.
The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002. It currently has 34 member states. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. Observation flights are made over the territories of the United States, Canada, European countries, and Russia. The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing crises and managing crisis situations within the scope of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and other relevant international organizations. Subsequently, it is contemplated to apply the open skies regime to new fields, such as environmental protection.