MOSCOW, September 25. /TASS/. US has certified the Russian special-purpose reconnaissance jet Tupolev-214ON for flights in the format of the Open Skies Treaty, Sergei Ryzhkov, the chief of the National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center of the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Monday.
"Today, on September 24, a US representative signed the final protocol on inspecting the Russian surveillance jet Tupolev-214ON jet equipped with the Russian digital camera OSDCAM4060," Ryzhkov said adding the document was signed on the sidelines of a session of the treaty consultative commission.
"Certification of the new jet makes it possible for us to enlarge our opportunities for efficient observation flights [over treaty signatory countries - TASS], including the ones over the UK, the US and Canada," he said.
Ryzhkov said that after the completion of these certification procedures all the types of surveillance aircraft Russia has at its disposal - Antonov-30B, Tupolev-154M Lk-1 and Tupolev-214ON - have permits for flights over the territories of foreign states under the Open Skies Treaty program.
The certification took place from September 2 through September 11 and representatives of all the 22 signatory countries of the treaty signed a report on the inspection. The only country that abstained from signing was the US.
The Tupolev-214ON has a cruising distance of 6,500 km. Installed on it are three digital photo cameras and infrared instruments capable of ensuring all-weather surveillance in the process of flight at low altitudes.
The Open Skies Treaty is a multilateral document signed on March 24, 1992 in Helsinki. Its objective is to step up trust-building among the signatories through improvements in control over military activities and observance of effective arms control documents.