Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

May 17, 2010 12:05 ET

Russian Observation Aircraft Takes to Canadian Skies Under International Treaty

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) - A Russian Federation aircraft will conduct an aerial observation mission over Canada under the authority of the Treaty on Open Skies on May 18-20, 2010.

A Tupolev TU-154M aircraft, which arrived at 8 Wing Trenton yesterday, will be accorded its legal right of unimpeded observation overflight of Canadian territory, in fulfillment of Canada's obligations as a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies. Using an array of onboard imagery systems, the aircraft can observe and verify objects of interest, such as military installations, industrial complexes, population centres, and transportation facilities.

The Treaty on Open Skies, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, promotes increased confidence and transparency amongst the 34 nations that are party to the Treaty. Canada has conducted a number of observation flights over other States Parties, including the Russian Federation, Belarus, Croatia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This flight marks the sixth time a foreign State Party will conduct an observation flight over Canada, the first having taken place in September 2004. Canadian military escorts and technical specialists will be onboard the Russian aircraft throughout the observation mission to ensure compliance and safety by monitoring imaging systems and adherence to the agreed flight route and profile.

Canada is a signatory to several security treaties, including those dedicated to the elimination, reduction or control of weapons of mass destruction and conventional armaments. The Treaty on Open Skies is one example of how Canada exercises its commitment to reducing the threat of armed conflict by increasing trust and confidence though developing greater openness and transparency amongst states.

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