This week, an unarmed Russian Federation Tupolev TU-154M aircraft will undertake a transit flight over Canada en route from the United States to conduct an observation mission under the Treaty on Open Skies, reports the Department of National Defence.
The Russian Federation aircraft will stop at 8 Wing Trenton after their observation overflight of United States territory and again prior to returning to the Russian Federation, the DND noted.
Russia usually only conducts one flight a year over Canada. A Canadian team has recently flown over Ukraine on a similar mission. A U.S.- Czech team is flying over Russia on an observation mission under the same treaty.
All Russian Federation observation aircraft sensors will be disabled during transit phases as verified by Canadian authorities.
Upon arrival at 8 Wing Trenton, the Russian Federation observation aircraft will be subject to Treaty-mandated inspections, to ensure that no imagery was taken during the transit (i.e. non-observation) flight, in order to ensure full compliance and conformity with the Treaty.
The aircraft will also be subjected to a rigorous technical inspection prior to its overflight of Canadian territory, to ensure full compliance and conformity with the Treaty and Canadian flight safety regulations.
Canada has exercised its treaty rights by having previously conducted a number of observation flights over several states, including Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.
The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on Jan.1, 2002, and currently has more than 30 States Parties, DND noted. The Treaty establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the entire territory of its participants. 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.
By David Pugliese, Postmedia Network