Joint US-Canada-Norway Mission to Perform Open Skies Observation Flight Over Russia

A joint US-Canada-Norway mission is performing an observation flight over the territory of the Russian Federation under the the framework of the Treaty on Open Skies.

The flights are being conducted from August 26 and will continue until Aug. 30. The flights will be done from a Swedish Air Force-owned Saab 340 observation aircraft operating from the Kubinka airfield.

During the flight along the agreed route, Russian specialists on board the observation aircraft will monitor the strict observance of the agreed flight parameters and application of the monitoring equipment stipulated by the contract.

The Swedish Air Force Saab 340B Open Skies “OS-100” (Swedish designation: Tp 100A) is a variant of Saab 340 aircraft used for observation flights under the Treaty on Open Skies and equipped with treaty-allowed sensors.

The Treaty on Open Skies, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its 34 participants.

Aerial reconnaissance flights on the basis of the Open Skies Treaty are conducted in order to verify that the arms control agreements in force are respected by the overflown country. The flights can be carried out over the whole territory of the country with only exception is for flight safety reasons (i.e, not for reasons of national security).

The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

The 34 state parties to the Open Skies Treaty are: Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark (including Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France, the Republic of Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Kyrgyzstan has signed the treaty but has not yet ratified it.

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