MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. A group of Russian inspectors plans to perform two observation flights over the territory of the United States on board a Tupolev Tu-154M Lk-1 aircraft within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official said.
“The inspection flights will be carried out on November 10-22 from the Travis and Wright-Patterson airfields. The maximum flight range is 4,900 and 4,250 kilometers respectively,” chief of the ministry’s national Nuclear Risk Reduction Center Sergey Ryzhkov told TASS.
Ryzhkov said the flights are being carried out to promote greater transparency in the military activity of the Treaty’s member states and to strengthen security through confidence building measures.
He said the flights would be conducted along agreed routes, and US specialists on board will control the use of surveillance equipment and observation of treaty provisions.
Ryzhkov said these will be the 35th and 36th surveillance flights of the Russian Federation above the Open Skies Treaty member states’ territories in 2014.
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.
Ryzhkov also told TASS that another group of Russian inspectors plans to carry out an observation flight over the territory of Greece on board an Antonov An-30B aircraft within the Open Skies Treaty framework on November 10-14.
He said the flight will be performed from the Nea Anchialos airport with the maximum flight range of up to 1,010 kilometers.
The flight will be Russia’s 37th above the territories of the Open Skies Treaty this year, the official said.
On November 10-15, Ryzhkov said, a joint group of US and Italian inspectors will carry out an inspection flight over Russia’s territory on board a Boeing OC-135B aircraft.