Tag: Open-Skies

UK, Norway Observers to Fly Over Russia Under Open Skies Treaty

Antonov An-30 Romanian Air Force

Experts from the United Kingdom and Norway will conduct an observation flight over Russia under the Open Skies Treaty on August 24-28, Russia’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center head said Monday.

The plane and the equipment onboard have passed international certification, eliminating the use of technology not covered by the treaty. Russian experts will control the adherence to the treaty during the flight.

“During the August 24-28 period, a mission from Norway and the United Kingdom will conduct an observation flight over the Russian territory on a Romanian AN-30 [NATO reporting name Clank] observation plane within the framework of the Open Skies Treaty,” Sergei Ryzhkov told reporters.

The 34-nation Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 in Finland and currently applies most NATO member states, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, and Sweden. The treaty establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territory of its participants with the aim of boosting transparency of military activities.


Russian jets scrambled four times in past week to intercept foreign aircraft

Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, August 11. /TASS/. Russian aircraft were scrambled four times during the past seven days to intercept foreign planes near Russian borders, the Russian Defense Ministry said in its weekly infographics published on Friday.

According to the ministry’s data, 12 foreign aircraft conducted air surveillance near the Russian borders in the reported period.

“Any violation of the Russian airspace was prevented,” the ministry said.
The ministry also said that the Russian military conducted one inspection in the United States under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

On the Russian territory, a joint mission under the Open Skies Treaty was conducted jointly by the United Kingdom and Norway.




Russian plane makes observation flight over CIA, Pentagon and White House

Marina Listyeva/TASS

WASHINGTON, August 10. /TASS/. A Russian aerospace force plane on Wednesday performed an observation flight over central Washington and the suburbs of the US capital city, including Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Congress and the White House, CNN said later in the day citing two anonymous sources informed about this flight made under the Open Skies Treaty.

The flight’s route

According to CNN and Politico, it was a regular observation flight under the Open Skies Treaty. A Russian Tu-154M plane flew over over the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland which is used to receive aircraft of foreign leavers arriving in the United States and organize flights of the US leader. After that, the Russian plane was to fly over Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is spending his vacations. And finally, the Tu-154M allegedly flew over the countryside residence of US leaders in Camp David, Maryland, near the Wright-Patterson air force base in Ohio and near the Mount Weather emergency operations center in Virginia.

Reaction of US administration

Meanwhile, a US State Department official confirmed to TASS that the path of the observation flight had been completely agreed by Washington and Moscow. Moreover, the US side took part in the development of the flight’s route, she said.

“The United States is notified ahead of time of the intended flight path of observation flights, participates in the development of agreed flight plans, has U.S. observers on the aircraft during the flight, and receives a copy of the imagery taken by the Russian aircraft at the conclusion of the mission,” she stressed. “The Treaty does not preclude an observed State Party from taking mitigation measures at sensitive sites on the ground.”

According to the official, since 2002, when the Open Skies Treaty came into force, “over 1,300 flights have been conducted.” “The Open Skies Treaty is a confidence and security building measure that seeks to enhance military transparency by allowing the 34 States Parties to conduct observation flights over other Treaty partners,” she said. “It contributes to Euro-Atlantic security by allowing the collection of imagery and information on military forces and supporting the verification of compliance with arms control agreements.”

About the treaty

Developed with Moscow’s active participation, the Treaty on Open Skies was signed in 1992 and came into force in 2002. It currently has 34 member states. The treaty establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. Observation flights are made over the territories of the United States, Canada, European countries, and Russia. The main purposes of the open skies regime are to develop transparency, render assistance in monitoring compliance with the existing or future arms control agreements, broaden possibilities for preventing crises and managing crisis situations within the scope of the Organizations for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other relevant international organizations. Subsequently, it is contemplated to apply the open skies regime to new fields, such as environmental protection.

In practical terms, the treaty allows signatory states to perform observations flights over any part of the observed state party’s territory to monitor military activities in conformity with the agreed quotas of such missions. The treaty regulates observation flights procedures, establishes a mechanism of control over its observance, sets requirements to the aircraft and observation equipment.

This year, Russia and Belarus have the right to conduct 42 observations missions over the territories of the treaty’s member states. Over signatories to the treaty plan to perform 34 observation missions over Russia in 2017.

Despite the fact that the treaty in general has proved to be an efficient instrument of building up trust and exercising control over the implementation of weapons reduction agreements, its efficiency has been going down in the recent time due to the decision of NATO member states to conduct no such flight over each other’s territories, the Russian foreign ministry said, adding that now Russia has to rely only on its own capacities of getting required information concerning the territory of these countries. Such situation, according to Moscow, tilts information balance and harms the treaty and runs counter to its spirit.


Russia took a jab at NATO on Twitter for close calls in the skies over Eastern Europe

BALTIC SEA: A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft makes a high speed run (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

The contentious exchanges between Russian and NATO aircraft above Europe carried over into cyberspace early on Friday.

“6 interceptions of @NATO recon planes on our borders last week,” The Russian embassy in the UK tweeted Friday morning.

“Transparency, provided for by Open Skies Treaty, not enough?” the tweet concluded.

 Russian aircraft and their NATO counterparts have had numerous encounters in recent months, especially in the skies over the Baltics, where both forces are highly active.

The Open Skies Treaty, which Russia and the US are party to, “is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, regardless of size, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them,” according to the US State Department.

Moscow claims that 20 foreign aircraft, six of which were intercepted, flew close to the Russian border this last week, but would not provide additional details about the alleged incidents, according to Newsweek. But Russia also admitted that NATO planes didn’t stray from international airspace.

The Lithuanian Defence Ministry, however, also says that NATO jets intercepted Russian IL-20 aircraft in two separate incidents on July 4 and 7.

A Russian fighter jet flies near a US Air Force plane, June 2017. US Air Force.

A Russian spokesperson told Newsweek that those two incidents were a “necessity, not luxury unlike what is done by NATO,” adding “We mind our legitimate business.” A NATO spokesperson also told Newsweek that “allies and NATO routinely fly reconnaissance aircraft over Central Europe … This is done in a safe and professional manner and in accordance with international law.”

 Russian and NATO jets and ships have been playing a game of cat and mouse in Eastern Europe over the last few years.

Between March 2014 and April 2017 there have been 97 midair confrontations between Russian and western aircraft, according to western officials and advocacy group Global Zero. That was more than two-thirds of all air interceptions in the world during that period. Russian aircraft are usually the ones executing unsafe interceptions.

Between June 2 and June 20, there were at least 35 such interactions between Russian and NATO planes and ships in the Baltic Sea, according to Fox News.

Western officials and analysts believe Russia is doing this in response to conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and other areas. Russia has labelled such accusations “total Russophobia.”

Source: Business Insider Australia.

Russian jets scrambled six times over past week to intercept foreign aircraft – ministry

Donat Sorokin/TASS

Russian military pilots intercepted foreign aircraft near the country’s borders six times over the past week, the Defense Ministry said on its website on Friday.

The infographic on the website shows that 20 aircraft of other countries have carried out aerial reconnaissance along Russia’s borders. “No violations of Russian airspace were allowed,” the ministry said.

Last week, the Russian military performed three inspection flights on the territory of foreign countries – in the United States and Norway under the Open Skies Treaty and in Spain under the 2011 Vienna Document, it said.

One observation flight was conducted above Russia’s territory by a joint mission of Poland and Slovakia.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.


Russia to conduct an observation flight in Finland

Antonov An-30 fotokartograficheskiy (Aerial Survey Aircraft)

Puolustusvoimat – Finnish Defence Forces, 27 June 2017

Russia will be conducting an Open Skies observation flight in Finland 26 – 28 June 2017. The mission will be flown using Russia’s certificated Open Skies observation aircraft, the Antonov An-30. The mission conforms to the Open Skies Treaty.

The Antonov An-30 will carry 17 crew and observers, including three Finnish Defence Force Personnel. The Finnish mission leader for the observation flight is Lieutenant Commander Kari Ahrnberg of the Defence Command Finland.

Open Skies is a treaty that aims to promote transparency and security in Europe. The treaty allows the signatories to conduct observation flights and take aerial photographs over the territories of its member states when these have been planned and announced beforehand. Finland signed the agreement in February 2003.


Sweden and Finland to conduct observation flight to Ukraine

Swedish SAAB 340 OS-100-certified surveillance aircraft.


Sweden and Finland will together conduct an Open Skies observation flight in Ukraine from 5-9 June 2017.

Sweden will act as Lead Nation (LN) of the flight. The combined flight is based on a Technical Agreement (TA) between Finland and Sweden, which states the parties’ responsibilities, obligations and cost-sharing arrangements.

The flight will be conducted using a Swedish SAAB 340 OS-100-certified surveillance aircraft. A Technical Agreement (TA) stating the parties’ responsibilities, obligations and cost-sharing arrangements has been drawn up for the use of the aircraft.

Finland’s observation team is led by Major Timo Heinäaho of the Air Force Command.

Open Skies is an agreement that aims to promote transparency and security in Europe. The agreement allows the signatories to conduct observation flights and take aerial photographs over the territories of its member states when these have been planned and announced beforehand. Finland signed the agreement in February 2003.