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Russia Begins Inspection Flights Over United States

RIA Novosti

01:41 28/07/2013

MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russian military inspectors will begin on Sunday a series of monitoring flights over the United States under the international Open Skies Treaty, a Russian nuclear security official said.

According to Sergei Ryzhkov, head of the National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, Russian experts will carry out two consecutive monitoring missions in a Tupolev Tu-154M/LK-1 aircraft from July 28 through August 12.

"The missions will be carried out from the Travis Air Force Base [in California] and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base [in Ohio]," Ryzhkov said.

"These will be Russia's 23rd and 24th monitoring flights in 2013 over the territories of the Open Skies Treaty member states," he added.

Russian inspectors, accompanied by US specialists, will operate surveillance equipment on board of the aircraft as set out in the international Open Skies Treaty.

Under the treaty, each aircraft flying under the Open Skies program is fitted with a sensor suite including optical panoramic and framing cameras, video cameras with real-time display, thermal infrared imaging sensors and imaging radar.

The Open Skies Treaty, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and the transparency of military forces and activities.

Russia ratified the treaty in May 2001.

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