An unarmed Russian Tupolev Tu-154 plane will photograph US territory in line with the Open Skies Treaty, the US State Department said. This will be the first mission this year and the third one since the Treaty's enactment. Another flight is to take place this July.
The Tu-154 is to land at Travis Air Force Base, Ca. next week, subsequently flying 4,250 km over US territory. The route will be chosen by the Russian side that can take pictures of any point enroute.
The Tu-154 has optical cameras, with the US side receiving photo copies.
US Defense Department officials will accompany this Russian-Belarussian mission.
The Russian-US Open Skies Treaty entered into force January 1, 2002, with US planes flying 19 missions over Russia and Belarus.