Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 13, 2013 11:00 ET

Russian Observation Aircraft Takes to Canadian Skies Under International Treaty

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 13, 2013) - A Russian Federation aircraft will conduct aerial observation flights over Canada under the Treaty on Open Skies during the period July 17 to 19, 2013.

The unarmed Tupolev TU-154M aircraft, which arrived at 8 Wing Trenton today, will be accorded Russia's legal right of unimpeded observation overflight of Canadian territory, in fulfilment of Canada's obligations as a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies. Using an array of onboard sensors, the aircraft can observe and verify objects of interest or concern, such as military sites, industrial centres, communications facilities and transportation hubs.

The Treaty on Open Skies, which entered into force on January 1, 2002, is a legally-binding accord that promotes increased confidence and transparency amongst its 34 States Parties. As Treaty co-depository with Hungary, Canada has exercised its Treaty rights by conducting observation flights over the Russian Federation, Belarus, Georgia, Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This marks the ninth time a foreign State Party will have conducted an observation flight mission in Canada, the first having taken place in September 2004. Canadian military escorts and technical specialists will be aboard the Russian aircraft throughout the mission to ensure safety, security and compliance by monitoring imaging systems and strict adherence to the agreed observation 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, conventional armaments and equipment, and associated military forces. 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 greater openness and transparency amongst states.

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