WASHINGTON, February 24. /TASS/. The United States will review Russia’s certification process of its Tu-154 aircraft with a digital electro-optical sensor on whether its use is in compliance with the Treaty of Open Skies, a US State Department spokesperson told TASS on Wednesday.
"Russia provided its technical data on February 22 in Vienna for its Tu-154 aircraft with a digital electro-optical sensor," the spokesperson said adding that "this initiates a certification period of at least 120 days." "During this certification period, all States Parties, including the United States, will have the opportunity to review Russia’s technical data, see a demonstration of the sensor operation ‘in action’, and ensure that Russia fully in complies with the Treaty requirements," he added noting that "the US government will have technical, legal, and policy experts as part of our review team for Russia’s certification process."
"Until the certification process is complete, and all States Parties are in agreement that Russia’s new sensors adhere to Treaty requirements, Russia may not use its Tu-154 with a digital sensor for official treaty flights over the United States or any other Treaty State Party," the spokesperson went on. "According to the Treaty, once State Parties certify an aircraft and sensor, it is available for use over the entire territory of each of the States Parties, subject to the requirements and procedures in the Treaty," he added.
The spokesperson said that "technology advancements have made film cameras increasingly obsolete and, consequently, the United States has initiated a process to procure a digital electro-optical sensor for its Open Skies aircraft." "We refer you to the Department of Defense for more details on the acquisitions process," he noted.
"The Open Skies Treaty entered into force in 2002," the spokesperson reminded adding that "since then, over 1,200 flights have been conducted." "The Open Skies Treaty enhances confidence and transparency by allowing the 34 countries that are parties to it to obtain information on the military forces and activities of other Treaty partners. It contributes to European security by providing images and information on military forces, including information to verify compliance with arms control agreements," he concluded.
The Open Skies Treaty was signed in 1992 and has 34 member states. It entered into force in 2002. Surveillance flights are conducted over Russia, the United States, Canada and European countries.
The key tasks of the Treaty are to develop transparency, monitor the fulfillment of armament control agreements, and expand capabilities to prevent crises in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and other international organizations.