Russia to get 2nd aircraft for Open Skies inspections in 2012

Next year Russia will build its second aircraft specially equipped for international aerial inspections under the Open Skies Treaty, Vladimir Verba, the director general of Vega concern, said on Thursday.

Russia’s first-built Tupolev Tu-214ON aircraft with installed equipment for aerial inspections was showcased for the first time at the MAKS-2011 International Air Show in the Moscow Region running between August 16 and 21.

“The second Tu-214ON will be built in Russia for the participation in the Open Skies, in other words, for an official aerial reconnaissance, by the end of 2012,” Verba said.

He added that it is a unique aircraft with Russian-made equipment capable of conducting optic-electronic, radiolocation, radio- and radio-technical reconnaissance as well as making retranslations.

There will be a total of two such planes and both of them will be handed over to the Russian Air Force.

The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 at the initiative of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, established a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its 34 member states to promote openness and transparency of military forces and activities.

The treaty entered into force on January 1, 2002 and its regime covers the national territories (land, islands, and internal and territorial waters) of all the treaty signatory states. It is an important element of the European security structure.

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