Russian Federation surveillance aircraft flies over Washington secure airspace

Trevor Jackson
August 12, 2017

It also passed by Joint Base Andrews, home to Air Force One. Moscow didn't think much of the idea at the time, but after the Cold War, Russia reconsidered when Bush brought it up again.

As part of the Treaty on Open Skies, an global program aimed at transparency between allies, a Russian plane scanned much of Washington D.C., including the White House, Capitol, and Pentagon, yesterday, alongside American representatives.

Next on the itinerary was a flight to New Jersey, where Trump is staying at his Bedminster golf course - on a day he fired off tweets touting the USA nuclear arsenal and military capabilities amid a stand-off with North Korea. The agency can only confirm specific locations once a mission is over.

The same official who confirmed the flight said such a mission was fairly routine.

According to the Open Skies Treaty of 2002, 32 countries are aloud to fly, unarmed over the participating countries territories.

The Pentagon says that before the flights, each state is given the flight plan of the mission and an escort team flies aboard the aircraft to make sure it complies with the treaty.

The Russians are required to give a 72-hour notice of the mission and must have American personnel on board as observers.

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Thirty-four nations are signatories to the treaty.

The flights are considered a confidence building measure and allow for verification of arms agreements.

The flights involve unarmed aircraft with digital and film capabilities. After each flight, the host nation gets a copy of any imagery taken by the observation aircraft.

Most outlets were particularly drawn to the fact the Russian Open Skies aircraft - converted from an old Tu-154M airliner - had allegedly been traveling at around 1,000 meters (3,700ft) over the DC metropolitan area. The official said Russian Federation typically flies Open Skies missions in the United States over command infrastructure, key locations and other critical infrastructure.

The Russian plane can conduct intelligence gathering including aerial photography, thermal imaging, and picking up signals intelligence.

Although the targets of surveillance were somewhat out of the ordinary, the flights themselves are relatively routine and are created to promote openness among nations and their militaries.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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