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Thread: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

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    Default Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

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    Russia to Conduct Inspection Mission Over the United States



    Tupolev Tu-154M
    © Photo Public Domain

    04:03 07/04/2012
    MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti)

    Tags: Open Skies Treaty, United States, Russia

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    A group of Russian military observers will carry out an inspection mission over the United States under the Open Skies Treaty on April 8-16, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

    The Russian inspectors, accompanied by U.S. officials, will be flying on board a Tupolev Tu-154 LK-1 plane from the Travis Air Force Base in California along a designated route totaling 4,250 kilometers (2,640 miles).

    “Russian and U.S. experts on board the plane will monitor the implementation of agreements on the use of technical equipment for the observation,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

    It will be the eighth observation mission carried out by Russian inspectors over territories of Open Skies Treaty member countries in 2012.

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

    Russia ratified the treaty on May 26, 2001.

    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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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    What can this possibly accomplish, besides the obvious of allowing a foreign military power access to our airspace?
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    So anyone have one of those evil .50 rifles the anti-gunners claim are capable of shooting down aircraft I could borrow? We could finally put that theory of theirs to test!

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Quote Originally Posted by ryan ruck View Post
    so anyone have one of those evil .50 rifles the anti-gunners claim are capable of shooting down aircraft i could borrow? We could finally put that theory of theirs to test!

    lol
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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Georgia Ceases Open Skies Treaty Vis-à-Vis Russia

    Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Apr.'12 / 03:32




    Equipment under the wing of Lockheed C-130H Hercules aircraft seen during a joint Greek-Benelux-Spanish observation flight over Georgia under the Open Skies Treaty on November 1, 2006. Photo: OSCE

    Georgia said it had ceased its obligations vis-à-vis Russia under the Open Skies Treaty, which allows its 34 participating states to gather information about each other's military forces through unarmed observation flights.

    The move was in a response to Russia's decision two years ago to impose restrictions on flight path for aerial observation over its territory, in particular over the areas adjacent to Georgia's occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 5.

    The treaty, which went into force in 2002, contains a clause according to which "the flight path of an observation aircraft shall not be closer than... ten kilometres from the border with an adjacent State that is not a State Party."

    "Russia refused to allow the observation flights over its territory to fly within 10 kilometers of the occupied regions of Georgia, asserting that those regions constituted states, which were non-parties to the Treaty," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said. "The Russian Federation has deliberately and improperly restricted the right of all other States Parties under the Open Skies Treaty, denying them full territorial access to the Russian territory as required by the Treaty."

    "It is obvious that the Russian Federation cannot unilaterally alter the geographical coverage of the multilateral Treaty by purporting to recognize a new entity on the territory of a State Party. Nor can Russia compel other States Parties to accept this illegal recognition [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia]," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.

    For two years, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said, Tbilisi had been trying in vain together with its partner states to make Russia "return to full compliance with the treaty obligations".

    It also said that Georgia's decision to cease its obligations under the treaty in respect of Russia "means that Georgia will not allow any observation flights with the participation of the Russian Federation over the territory of Georgia and Georgia will not conduct observation flights over the territory of the Russian Federation."

    The Foreign Ministry stressed that Tbilisi would continue fulfilling its obligations under the Open Skies Treaty with respect of all other participating states.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    And we haven't kicked them out yet.

    Figures.
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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Russian military to conduct surveillance flight over US



    A Russian-made Tupolev Tu-154M/LK-1 aircraft (file photo)

    Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:49PM GMT

    Russian Defense Ministry has announced that the country’s military inspectors will begin a survey flight this week above the United States under the international Treaty on Open Skies.

    The experts will conduct the flight over the US territory in a Tupolev Tu-154 M/LK-1 aircraft between November 25 and December 3, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

    The surveillance flight will start from the Travis Air Force Base in California, and its maximum range will be 4,250 kilometers (2,600 miles).

    During the flight, Russian and US specialists will operate surveillance equipment on board of the aircraft as stated in the Treaty on Open Skies.

    The Treaty on Open Skies entered into force on January 1, 2002, and currently has 34 member states.

    It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants.

    The treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants a direct role in gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

    MP/PKH


    Russian Military Inspectors Begin Surveillance Flight Over France

    09:57 28/10/2012

    MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti)

    Tags: An-30B, Open Skies Treaty, Russia, France

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    A group of Russian military observers begin on Sunday a four-day inspection mission in the skies of France under the Open Skies Treaty, the Defense Ministry’s press office reported.

    “Aboard the An-30B aircraft, a group of Russian inspectors will make a surveillance flight over the territory of France on October 28-31 as part of the Open Skies International Treaty,” the press office said.

    The flight will be conducted from France’s Orleans-Bricy aerodrome, with the maximum flight range totaling 2,078 km (1,291 miles) under the agreed flight route.

    “In 2012, this will be the 34th surveillance flight by Russia over the territories of countries that are parties to the treaty,” the press office said.

    During the flight, Russian and French specialists will exercise control over the use of surveillance system equipment and compliance with existing accords, the press office said.

    The Open Skies Treaty, signed in 1992 at the initiative of US 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 the 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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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Russian Military To Conduct “Observation Flights” Over US

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013 12:03



    At some point we have to make the connection that the New World Order isn’t something that is coming, it is something that is here and ongoing.

    Little doubt that the Russian aircraft that will be flying over U.S. skies is part of the international “Treaty of Open Skies” that saw Russian aircraft over Canada last month. (that story here) According to that article, “Using an array of onboard imagery systems, the aircraft can observe and verify objects of interest or concern, such as military installations, industrial complexes, population centres and transportation facilities.”

    Somehow, American leadership thought this was a good idea to expose military installations to this type of scrutiny from a previous foe disregarding the fact that the world is a dangerous place, and even if Putin is not a threat (I would strongly disagree), who knows what could happen in the future?

    To make things even more interesting, in a related article from March it was reported:

    Tennessee State Guard Discovers Russians In DHS Armored Vehicles

    Something is amiss in America. (Tip from Nena S.)

    (Voice of Russia) A group of Russian inspectors will conduct observation flights on a Tu-154M Lk-1 plane over the United States and Canada in the framework of the international Open Skies Treaty, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry said.

    “The flights will be carried out on July 7-21 from Open Skies airfield Elmendorf [the US] and Trenton [Canada],” the press office said.

    Such observation flights are performed in order to assist the openness and transparency in the military activities of treaty state members and to enhance security through strengthening trust measures, the press office said.

    The flights will fly a previously approved route and US and Canadian specialists on board will control the use of observation equipment and implementation of agreements which have been reached.

    These will be 19th and 20th observation flights of the Russian jets above the treaty states members in 2013.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Openness and transparency?


    God....
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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    This thing stinks to high heaven. I've never heard of such crap. We are authorizing direct action espionage on our own soil (or over it). Russian troops on the ground? The supporting website seems a little sketchy, but if true? we may be in for a bit of trouble.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Wonder what would happen if a Russian plane or three suddenly fell down....
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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    My understanding of Russian military aircraft workmanship is that they can land on nearly any gravel or better runway. Unlike our craft which require cleared runways.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Ryan might have posted this already:

    Russia Amasses ‘Full Combat Readiness’ Strategic Bombers


    by Anthony Gucciardi
    July 16th, 2013
    Updated 07/16/2013 at 2:06 am Tweet


    Straight out of Russian news, Vladimir Putin has called for the nation’s strategic bombers to enter a state of ‘full combat readiness’ following the ‘snap drills’ that were initiated after Israel bombed Russian-made missiles within Syria.
    As I reported on Sunday, Russia’s large scale amassing of over 160,000 troops, naval ships, fighter planes, and strategic bombers has been virtually ignored by the mainstream media — with only Russian-based news services really reporting on the entire event. From the Israeli bombing of the Russian missiles to the ‘snap drills’ calling upon Russian forces to enter this period of ‘full combat readiness’, it appears that only RT has been analyzing the situation and looking at what’s going on based on military sources.
    Tabloid Media to Busy to Cover Brewing World Conflict

    Originally being revealed by an anonymous intelligence individuals within the US military and shared with CNN as reported by the Israeli National News, the revelation that Israel was behind the strike on the Russian-made missiles in Syria may be behind the reason for the combat drill — assuming the Russians found out before the general public. Unfortunately, the US mainstream media is too busy covering the minor intricacies of what George Zimmerman ate for breakfast today to discuss the potential brewing of mega conflict.
    And when you throw Edward Snowden into this mix of tensions between world powers, it’s additional fuel on the fire amid all of this diplomatic turmoil. And with the intelligence leak that it was Israel who blew up Russia’s missiles after they deemed them to be a threat to the country, you have a real serious key going into the ignition of world war.
    An excerpt from the Russian report on the English version of the .RU website RIA Novosti reads:

    “Russia’s air base of Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers in the Amur Region is switching to full combat readiness as part of massive snap drills in the Eastern Military District, the Defense Ministry’s press office reported on Sunday… The exercise, which involves over 160,000 servicemen, some 1,000 armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the Pacific Fleet, was ordered by President Vladimir Putin on Friday evening.”
    Whether or not escalations reach the point of conflict, and I certainly hope they do not (as Israel vs Russia is the absolute ‘perfect storm’ setup to launch the next world war and potential nuclear armageddon), the amassing of over 160,000 troops and strategic bombers with orders to achieve ‘full combat readiness’ is newsworthy. But apparently not to the mainstream media within the United States. A simple Google search at the time of writing for ‘Russia 160,000 troops’ will in fact bring up forums, social media posts, Russian websites, and small-time blogs.
    Where’s the media?
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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States


    Russia To Conduct Observation Flight Over US

    December 8, 2014

    In an attempt to promote transparency in military activities between the two countries, Russia will conduct an observation flight over the United States as part of the Treaty on Open Skies between Dec. 8 and Dec. 13, Sergei Ryzhkov, head of Russia’s National Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, said Monday.

    The flight will be launched from Travis Air Force Base in California and cover a maximum range of 2,640 miles. A group of U.S. specialists will also board the Russian aircraft to monitor the flight and to ensure that norms of the treaty are not violated. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Treaty on Open Skies allows 34 participating countries to carry out observation flights over each other's territories to gather information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities that are of concern to them.

    “Within the framework of the international Treaty on Open Skies a group of Russian inspectors plans to conduct an observation flight on a Russian Tupolev Tu-154M-LK-1 observation aircraft over the territory of the United States,” Ryzhkov told Ria Novosti.

    The announcement comes after a U.S. military plane reportedly conducted surveillance flights over Russia last month to capture images of the region’s military equipment. The mission was conducted amid increasing isolation faced by Russia following sanctions imposed against it by the U.S. and European Union over the Ukraine crisis.

    “Most of the world has no idea this treaty even exists,” U.S. Navy Commander Chris “Half” Nelson, who was overseeing the mission over Russia at the time, was quoted by Military.com as saying. “Whenever I mention that Russians fly aircraft over the U.S. taking pictures, it blows people's minds.”

    Signed in March 1992 in Helsinki, the Treaty on Open Skies came into force on Jan. 1, 2002. Russia ratified the treaty on May 26, 2001.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    The news isn't that these overflights are going to happen or what type of cameras the Russians are using but rather that "Open Skies" isn't quite so open and is more one way.


    Russia Wants To Fly Over US With Advanced Digital Camera

    February 22, 2016

    Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.

    Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty.

    Russia will formally ask the Open Skies Consultative Commission, based in Vienna, to be allowed to fly an aircraft equipped with high-tech sensors over the United States, according to a senior congressional staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the staff member wasn't authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

    The request will put the Obama administration in the position of having to decide whether to let Russia use the high-powered equipment on its surveillance planes at a time when Moscow, according to the latest State Department compliance report, is failing to meet all its obligations under the treaty. And it comes at one of the most tension-filled times in U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War, with the two countries at odds over Russian activity in Ukraine and Syria.

    "The treaty has become a critical component of Russia's intelligence collection capability directed at the United States," Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, wrote in a letter earlier this year to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of a House subcommittee on strategic forces.

    "In addition to overflying military installations, Russian Open Skies flights can overfly and collect on Department of Defense and national security or national critical infrastructure," Haney said. "The vulnerability exposed by exploitation of this data and costs of mitigation are increasingly difficult to characterize."

    A State Department official said Sunday that treaty nations had not yet received notice of the Russian request, but that certification of the Russian plane with a "digital electro-optical sensor" could not occur until this summer because the treaty requires a 120-day advance notification. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

    The official also said that the treaty, which was entered into force in 2002, establishes procedures for certifying digital sensors to confirm that they are compliant with treaty requirements. The official said all signatories to the treaty agree that "transition from film cameras to digital sensors is required for the long-term viability of the treaty."

    In December, Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, sought to temper concerns about Russian overflights, saying that what Moscow gains from the observation flights is "incremental" to what they collect through other means.

    "One of the advantages of the Open Skies Treaty is that information - imagery - that is taken is shared openly among all the treaty parties," she said at a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees in December. "So one of the advantages with the Open Skies Treaty is that we know exactly what the Russians are imaging, because they must share the imagery with us."

    Still, military and intelligence officials have expressed serious concern.

    "The open skies construct was designed for a different era," Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers when asked about the Russian overflights during a congressional hearing. "I'm very concerned about how it's applied today."

    Robert Work, deputy secretary of defense, told Congress: "We think that they're going beyond the original intent of the treaty and we continue to look at this very, very closely."

    Steve Rademaker, former assistant secretary of state for the bureau of arms control and the bureau of international security and nonproliferation, told Congress at a hearing on security cooperation in Europe in October that Russia complies with the Open Skies Treaty, but has "adopted a number of measures that are inconsistent with the spirt" of the accord.

    The treaty, for instance, obligates each member to make all of its territory available for aerial observation, yet Russia has imposed restrictions on surveillance over Moscow and Chechnya and near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, he said. Russian restrictions also make it hard to conduct observation in the Kaliningrad enclave, said Rademaker, who believes Russia is "selectively implementing" the treaty "in a way that suits its interests."

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    Open skies, Open Eyes....
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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States


    Russia wants better aerial photos of the U.S., beyond military infrastructure

    Published on Alaska Dispatch News (http://www.adn.com)

    Home > Russia wants better aerial photos of the U.S., beyond military infrastructure


    ERIC SCHMITT and MICHAEL R. GORDON February 23, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Russia asked the Obama administration for permission on Monday to fly surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras over the United States, fueling a long-simmering debate among Pentagon and intelligence officials over Russia’s intentions to use such flights to spy on American power plants, communications networks and other critical infrastructure.

    Russia has for years conducted unarmed observation flights over the United States — as the United States does over Russia — as part of the Open Skies Treaty that was signed in 1992 by both nations and 32 other countries at the end of the Cold War. Although the treaty and the flights, unfamiliar to most Americans, amount to officially sanctioned spying, their goal has been to foster transparency about military activity and to help monitor arms control agreements.

    Now some senior American intelligence and military officials say the new digital technology combined with shifting Russian flight plans would violate the spirit of the treaty. Some Republicans also expressed alarm.

    “I cannot see why the United States would allow Russia to fly a surveillance plane with an advanced sensor over the United States to collect intelligence,” U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, who heads the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Monday.

    American intelligence officials say Russia’s spy satellite network is frayed, so the flights over the United States are a relatively cheap way for Moscow to fill in some important intelligence gaps.

    That was not so alarming when the Russian flights mainly flew over American missile silos, bunkers and bomber fields, as permitted in the treaty.

    In the past few years, however, the Russians flights have developed a wandering eye, critics say, and now fly more routinely over some of the country’s most important infrastructure, according to classified military intelligence assessments. (The United States relies on its own powerful satellites, rather than these flights, for such intelligence.)

    The U.S. State Department sees the Russian proposal as a small concession that could help preserve the Open Skies Treaty, which is important to European allies, and avoid adding strain to the United States’ troubled relationship with Russia.

    Allowing Russia to switch to the new electro-optical sensors for these more intrusive flights would give Moscow a more reliable means of conducting surveillance (and an easier way of concealing their objectives) than the clunky, 1960s-era wet-film processing that most nations, including the United States, are transitioning away from, critics said.

    Both methods capture the same level of resolution allowed under the treaty. But some senior American military and intelligence officials say the change could leave the United States’ most important infrastructure vulnerable to targeting by new long-range Russian cruise missiles.

    The Associated Press first reported Russia’s request to put the sensors on longer-range Tu-154 aircraft that Russia flies in the United States.

    The Russian request comes at a time when Moscow has steadily increased restrictions on where American treaty surveillance planes can fly over Russia, according to the State Department’s most recent arms control compliance reports. The Russian restrictions have added to what is already one of the most tense periods in U.S.-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War, with the two nations in strong disagreement over Russian activity in Syria and Ukraine.

    The administration must decide in the next four months whether to object to the Russian request that is now before the Open Skies Consultative Commission in Vienna.

    “The treaty has become a critical component of Russia’s intelligence collection capability directed at the United States,” Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, wrote in a letter in April to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., who heads the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

    “In addition to overflying military installations, Russian Open Skies flights can overfly and collect on DoD and national security or national critical infrastructure,” Haney wrote, referring to the Department of Defense. “The vulnerabilities exposed by exploitation of this data and costs of mitigation are increasingly difficult to characterize.”

    In the United States, a typical Russian Open Skies flight covers 2,500 to 3,000 miles over two days. There are always seven to 10 American personnel from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency on the Russian plane to ensure compliance.

    In addition, the visiting country and the host nation must agree on a flight plan before a mission proceeds. The host nation may propose changes to it.

    “All inspected parties are notified ahead of time of the flight path of observation flights, and are able to provide ample warning to sensitive locations within the flight path,” Rose E. Gottemoeller, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said in a statement.

    “Nothing in the treaty precludes shrouding these types of sensitive facilities or activities. Further, the United States receives a copy of every photo taken of flights over its territory, so we have a crystal clear idea of what countries are observing.”

    The Russians have been using the new electro-optical sensors on shorter-range flights in Europe for the past year, a change approved by European and American officials. In return, Europeans say their Open Skies flights over Ukraine and western Russia since February 2014 have provided them with vital information during Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

    Still, military and intelligence officials express serious concern.

    “The Open Skies construct was designed for a different era,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers when asked about the Russian flights at a congressional hearing last February, a position his spokesman said he maintains. “I’m very concerned about how it’s applied today.”

    Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense, told Congress in a letter last June: “Russia’s recent activities in a range of areas raise questions about its willingness to abide in good faith with its international commitments, including its obligations under the Open Skies Treaty.”

    According to the State Department’s arms control compliance report in 2015, Russia placed altitude limitations on American Open Skies flights over Chechnya, certain areas around Moscow, and along the border of Russia with the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In 2014, Russia imposed flight restrictions over the heavily militarized Kaliningrad.

    Russia conducted five flights over the United States in 2014 and four in 2015, according to the Defense Department. This year, Russia is expected to conduct six flights, starting from either Dulles International Airport outside Washington, or Travis Air Force Base in California.


    Russia Wants to Fly Over US with Advanced Digital Cameras


    FILE - A Russian Federation Tupolev Tu-154 Open Skies Treaty reconnaissance aircraft sits on the runway at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, June 10, 2004, prior to its departure for two overflights of central Alaska. Related Articles










    Associated Press

    February 22, 2016 9:32 AM



    WASHINGTON—

    Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.

    Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty.

    Russia will formally ask the Open Skies Consultative Commission, based in Vienna, to be allowed to fly an aircraft equipped with high-tech sensors over the United States, according to a senior congressional staffer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the staff member wasn't authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

    The request will put the Obama administration in the position of having to decide whether to let Russia use the high-powered equipment on its surveillance planes at a time when Moscow, according to the latest State Department compliance report, is failing to meet all its obligations under the treaty. And it comes at one of the most tension-filled times in U.S.-Russia relations since the end of the Cold War, with the two countries at odds over Russian activity in Ukraine and Syria.

    "The treaty has become a critical component of Russia's intelligence collection capability directed at the United States,'' Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, wrote in a letter earlier this year to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chairman of a House subcommittee on strategic forces.

    "In addition to overflying military installations, Russian Open Skies flights can overfly and collect on Department of Defense and national security or national critical infrastructure,'' Haney said. "The vulnerability exposed by exploitation of this data and costs of mitigation are increasingly difficult to characterize.''

    A State Department official said Sunday that treaty nations had not yet received notice of the Russian request, but that certification of the Russian plane with a "digital electro-optical sensor'' could not occur until this summer because the treaty requires a 120-day advance notification. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

    The official also said that the treaty, which was entered into force in 2002, establishes procedures for certifying digital sensors to confirm that they are compliant with treaty requirements. The official said all signatories to the treaty agree that "transition from film cameras to digital sensors is required for the long-term viability of the treaty.''

    In December, Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, sought to temper concerns about Russian overflights, saying that what Moscow gains from the observation flights is "incremental'' to what they collect through other means.

    "One of the advantages of the Open Skies Treaty is that information, imagery, that is taken is shared openly among all the treaty parties,'' she said at a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees in December. "So one of the advantages with the Open Skies Treaty is that we know exactly what the Russians are imaging, because they must share the imagery with us.''

    Still, military and intelligence officials have expressed serious concern.

    "The open skies construct was designed for a different era,'' Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers when asked about the Russian overflights during a congressional hearing. "I'm very concerned about how it's applied today.''

    Robert Work, deputy secretary of defense, told Congress: ``We think that they're going beyond the original intent of the treaty and we continue to look at this very, very closely.''

    Steve Rademaker, former assistant secretary of state for the bureau of arms control and the bureau of international security and nonproliferation, told Congress at a hearing on security cooperation in Europe in October that Russia complies with the Open Skies Treaty, but has "adopted a number of measures that are inconsistent with the spirt'' of the accord.

    The treaty, for instance, obligates each member to make all of its territory available for aerial observation, yet Russia has imposed restrictions on surveillance over Moscow and Chechnya and near Abkhazia and South Ossetia, he said. Russian restrictions also make it hard to conduct observation in the Kaliningrad enclave, said Rademaker, who believes Russia is "selectively implementing'' the treaty ``in a way that suits its interests.''

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States


    US 'Spy Plane' Makes Emergency Landing In Russia After 'Problem With Its Landing Gear'

    July 28, 2016



    A United States 'spy plane' has made an emergency landing in eastern Russia, it has emerged today.

    The surveillance Boeing OC-135B aircraft was flying a mission over Siberia as allowed under the Treaty on Open Skies when it reported a problem with its landing gear.

    The unarmed plane made an emergency landing at Khabarovsk airport, but a military source in Russia has questioned whether the technical glitch was genuine.

    Under the treaty, signatories are allowed to overfly the skies of each other gathering information about military forces and activities of concern to them.

    The American military aircraft had left after a stopover in Ulan-Ude, in the Republic of Buryatia, and was due to fly north to Yakutsk, capital of Siberia's diamond-rich Sakha Republic.

    Instead, after take-off the crew noticed the problem and the Boeing went east and made a landing 1,660 miles away in Khabarovsk.

    An airport official confirmed Wednesday's emergency landing in the city, close to the Chinese border.

    'A foreign aircraft made a forced landing in Khabarovsk. All emergency ground services have arrived on site. The flight landed safely at 3pm local time,' said a statement.

    Earlier, the Russian Defence Ministry's Nuclear Risk Reduction Centre had announce the US Boeing OC-135B aircraft's observation flight over Russian territory between July 25 and 30.

    An army source suggested the malfunctioning was 'not coincidental', and perhaps related to recent military exercises in the area.

    'They were due to go direct from Ulan-Ude north-northeast to Yakutsk,' said the unnamed source, as reported by The Siberian Times.

    'Just imagine the kind of loop they needed to make to request the landing at approximately the same distance, but to the east?'..

    The Boeing OC-135B aircraft seats up to 35 people as it monitors foreign territory on behalf of the US government.

    One vertical and two oblique KS-87E framing cameras are used for low-altitude photography approximately 900 metres above the ground, and one KA-91C panoramic camera, which scans from side to side to provide a wide sweep for each picture used for high-altitude photography at approximately 11,000 metres.

    The Treaty on Open Skies was signed in March 1992 and was seen as a major confidence-building measure after the Cold War.

    It entered into force on January 1, 2002.

    Currently 34 states are party to the treaty, including Russia and most NATO members

    It allows an unarmed aerial surveillance programme of flights over the entire territory of fellow participants.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States


    Why A Russian Surveillance Plane Flew Unchallenged Over Military Installations In Hawaii

    November 19, 2017

    In late October when two Russian Tupolev bombers approached the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. sent up fighters to intercept.

    In May, fighters were dispatched to intercept Russian bombers and fighters off Alaska.

    But last month a Russian Tu-154 jet conducted a surveillance flight unchallenged over military installations in Hawaii, U.S. government officials confirmed.

    The Russian overflight conducted Oct. 4-6 was sanctioned by the United States as part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which has been in effect since 2002 to verify arms control agreements and promote stability through transparency of military forces and activities.

    Russian planes fly over U.S. military installations capturing imagery, and the same is true for U.S. planes and Russia. Some 34 countries are part of the overflight deal.

    The flights are not publicized and many people are not aware they even occur. The Russians did cause something of a stir with an overflight of Washington, D.C., as low as 4,000 feet in August.

    But Moscow soon will be limited to about half the recent overflight distance over Hawaii per a new restriction by the United States. The curb is a probable tit for tat over worsening relations and what an Open Skies observer called a “poke in the eye” to Russia for limiting the flying time over Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to 310 miles on each mission.

    The Tu-154M, a three-engine jetliner from the 1960s, even landed here for refueling, according to Pacific Air Forces and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

    “The observation flight consisted of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai covering 894 nautical miles (1,029 statute miles) on the Tu-154M,” Pacific Air Forces said in an email. “The aircraft landed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for refueling, servicing and crew rest.”

    Asked about other overflights in recent fiscal years, Pacific Air Forces said, “The Russian Federation has conducted two overflights of the Hawaiian Islands during 2016 and 2017.” Before that, Hawaii overflights occurred less frequently, according to one observer.

    But at the Open Skies Consultative Commission in Vienna on Sept. 26, the United States announced it would decrease the permissible flight distance over the Hawaiian Islands, cease waiving certain Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, and discontinue allowing Russia overnight accommodations at some Open Skies refueling airfields, Pacific Air Forces said.

    The Wall Street Journal reported the United States will limit the Russian overflights in Hawaii to 900 kilometers, or 560 miles. That means about half the flying distance over Hawaii as in October. The change is expected to come into force Jan. 1, but the Defense Threat Reduction Agency would not confirm the date.

    Steffan Watkins, a Canada-based information technology security professional who researches open-source intelligence and is well versed on the Open Skies treaty, said the Hawaii restrictions are meant to cause maximum inconvenience for Russia.

    The Wall Street Journal said the actions are a protest against Russian Open Skies restrictions over Kaliningrad, where advanced air defenses are based, but are also an indicator of the larger split in U.S.-Russia relations.

    Watkins said the Tu-154M flies from Moscow to Iceland to Canada to California to Hawaii to make the overflights. The actual observation mission begins and ends at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

    Once Russia conducted the overflight, which he believes was on Oct. 5, the Tu-154M had to fly back to Moscow the same way it came. Cutting the Hawaii overflight miles means the Russians would have to make a return trip to match what they did in logging 1,029 miles over Hawaii military installations in one mission.

    Getting to Hawaii “is by far the farthest that they could possibly fly for this mission,” Watkins said. “And now the U.S. is saying, ‘Oh, sorry, you are going to do it twice.’”

    The occurrence of Russian overflights for what apparently has been three years in a row, including this year, likely indicates an increased interest in Hawaii, which “is a communications hub for all sorts of data,” Watkins said. “And I bet Russia wants to keep an eye on it now more than ever.”

    The Hawaii restriction isn’t “because the U.S. is trying to hide something in Hawaii or that they are worried about something in Hawaii,” he said. “This is just maximum pain so they can call it a reciprocal thing because of the Kaliningrad restrictions.”

    Watkins said the Tu-154M’s Mode-S transponder signal can be triangulated by four or more radio aviation hobbyists. Collected by the site FlightRadar24, the track showed the Russians were doing a “lawn mower” pattern over Oahu, “which is unusual, but would cause maximum disruption to the Honolulu international airport, which is coincidentally what Russia accuses the USA of doing to Kaliningrad — disrupt their airspace,” he said. “Was this a petty tit for tat? Was this just a thorough look at the island? I don’t know.”

    The Open Skies treaty allows unarmed aerial observation flights over the entire territory of participants. Mutual aerial observation was first proposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955 to reduce the risk of war, but the treaty itself became effective in 2002.

    The U.S. State Department said Open Skies aircraft can be equipped with video, optical panoramic and framing cameras, infrared sensors and synthetic aperture radar. U.S. personnel fly on the Russian flights and vice versa to ensure treaty compliance.

    In 2016, Russia became the first treaty member to install approved digital electro-optical sensors on its two Open Skies aircraft, while the United States and other countries still use older “wet film” cameras.

    The State Department said the treaty “limits all optical sensors,” whether digital or “wet film,” to 30-centimeter resolution — a level that allows parties to distinguish between a tank and truck, and is similar to Google Earth. In any case, the United States gets better imagery from its constellation of observation satellites.

    Film cameras are increasingly obsolete and the United States is “actively preparing for the transition to digital electro-optical sensors” for Open Skies, the department said. Some military brass and members of Congress have decried the Russian Open Skies digital sensors, however.

    Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was asked at a 2016 House Armed Services Committee hearing whether the digital technology could help the Russians target the United States.

    “This Open Skies discussion is, think Polaroids in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s vs. 1080 high-definition capability,” which allows Russia to get “incredible foundational intelligence,” Stewart said. He added he would “love to deny the Russians having that capability.”

    Watkins said the State Department is pro-Open Skies as a diplomacy builder and the Defense Intelligence Agency is anti-Open Skies. An August Congressional Research Service report said that when the United States first signed Open Skies, “most analysts agreed that the treaty would provide little information not already available from observation satellites.”

    The flights are seen as more useful to Russia. But the treaty also benefits participants who do not have observation satellites, leading to a more secure European continent, the research service said.




    U.S. May Restrict Russian Spy Planes After WPAFB Flight

    September 27, 2017

    The United States is expected to restrict Russian surveillance flights, such as one that originated at Wright-Patterson this summer, because of limitations imposed on U.S. flights over Russia.

    A Russian Tu-154 surveillance jet, which resembles an airliner, flew out of Wright-Patterson in August reportedly over West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and near Bedminster, N.J., where President Donald Trump was vacationing at the time.

    U.S. personnel were allowed to be part of the Russian surveillance flight on the pre-determined route, officials have said.

    The unarmed observation flights, meant to ensure compliance with arms control treaties, are permitted under the Treaty of the Open Skies. The flights have flown out of Wright-Patterson for years since the agreement was signed by 34 nations.

    A State Department official confirmed to this newspaper the United States will take “some reasonable and comparable steps in response to Russia’s non-compliance” with the treaty. However, additional details describing those steps were not immediately released.

    “We have long had concerns about Russia’s implementation of the Open Skies Treaty,” the official said. “After repeated, unsuccessful attempts to engage Moscow diplomatically, we have elected to take some reasonable and comparable steps in response to Russia’s non-compliance.

    “We hope this will change Russia’s calculus and encourage Russia to engage with us about our concerns more constructively,” the State Department official added. “We’re ready to reverse these measures at any time, should Russia come back into compliance with its Open Skies Treaty obligations.”

    The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the U.S. has concerns about Russian restrictions on American surveillance flights over the region of Kaliningrad — an area reported to have sophisticated weaponry — and objected to altitude floors over Moscow, among other complaints. The story reported the United States was pondering restrictions on Russian flights over Hawaii and Alaska.

    Richard Aboulafia, a senior aerospace analyst with the Virginia-based Teal Group, said the U.S. may be taking the actions for one of two reasons.

    “One is that they’ve done a very thorough assessment and they’re balancing what the U.S. is getting out of these flights relative to what they think the Russians are getting out of these flights and they’ve decided it’s not worth it,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

    “The other is that they are doing this for reasons of political showmanship, which is very dangerous,” he added. “You don’t want to cut off a valuable resource of intelligence and confidence building just to prove a point to the political base. Hopefully, it’s the first (reason). I don’t know which one it is.”

    Steven Pifer, a Brookings Institution non-resident senior fellow and former U.S. diplomat to Russia and Eastern Europe, said U.S. restrictions should be reciprocal to what Russia imposed on the United States.

    “I think keeping the treaty makes a lot of sense,” he added. “It’s probably less useful to the U.S. simply because we have surveillance satellites, but the advantages of Open Skies is it allows our allies to do it.”

    Gary A. O’Connell, a retired chief scientist at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson, said Russian surveillance flights have originated over the years at Wright-Patt because NASIC processes data collecting from the missions and the agency provides expertise to treaty negotiators about surveillance-gathering capabilities. Nations that signed the treaty are obligated to share imagery with the other countries tied to the agreement in a bid for transparency.

    O’Connell said the United States should impose restrictions on Russia because if it does not, it may “push the envelope even more and try to restrict further” where the U.S. may fly under the treaty.

    “As one county starts restricting another country’s overflight rights, than that just increases the suspicion and is almost counterproductive,” he said.

    U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, expressed concern about the recent Russian flight that flew out of Wright-Patterson.

    “Allowing Russian spy planes to fly over and photograph our most sensitive military installations puts our country at risk,” he said in a statement. “Just this summer, a Russian spy plane flew over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have heard repeated, yet unsurprising, testimony confirming Russia’s abuse of the Treaty on Open Skies. I look forward to the Administration stopping this practice.”

    According to the Russia Today website, a Kremlin spokesman has urged treaty members to stick to terms of the agreement and raise concerns through the treaty provisions.

    More than 1,200 Open Skies flights have been recorded over the years, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency spokesman has said.

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    Default Re: Russian Military Begin Surveillance Flights Over the United States

    The Russians Just Did A Fly-By Of Area 51

    Russia's specially equipped Tu-154M Open Skies aircraft is doing a grand tour of America's most sensitive military installations out west.

    March 29, 2019
    By Tyler Rogoway



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    The Russians are operating their Tu-154M aircraft configured for surveillance flights sanctioned under the Open Skies Treaty that allows member countries to conduct surveillance flights over each other's territory relatively unimpeded. The aircraft are equipped with imaging equipment with specific limitations and monitors from the country being surveilled are onboard the flights to make certain the party complies with the parameters of the treaty. This latest series of Russian Open Skies flights are being conducted out of Great Falls, Montana and are covering a slew of strategic points in the western part of the United States, including the highly secure Nellis Test and Training Range (NTTR) in southern Nevada, home of Area 51.

    USAF Flies Sudden Open Skies Recon Flight Over Ukraine As Russia And Ukraine Hold Missile DrillsBy Joseph Trevithick Posted in The War Zone
    NKC-135R Tanker From Edwards AFB Flew This Peculiar Night Mission Over Area 51By Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone
    U.S. Refuses To Allow New Russian Planes To Fly Open Skies Flights Over Its TerritoryBy Joseph Trevithick Posted in The War Zone
    New Video Provides Up To Date Views Of Area 51By Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone
    Area 51’s Massive New Hangar Shows Up in New Google Earth Images Of The Secret BaseBy Tyler Rogoway Posted in The War Zone

    The mid-day flight on March 28th, 2019 appears to have originated out of Travis AFB, located near San Francisco, and continued on something of a highlights tour of American military installations in California and Nevada. It flew south over central California, passing near bases like Naval Air Station Lemoore and headed out over the Channel Islands. It then headed directly over Edwards AFB before meandering around Fort Irwin and on to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake before hooking a right and heading toward Creech AFB in Nevada. It then headed north, directly into the NTTR—the most secure airspace in the United States along with Washington, D.C.

    Flightradar24
    This is the medium altitude imaging portion of the flight that the Tu-154M flew.


    Flightradar24
    It flew directly over Edwards AFB.


    Flightradar24
    Then to Fort Irwin and the National Training Center.


    Flightradar24
    It then headed up over Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

    Flightradar24
    It then turned east and flew directly over Creech AFB, the heart of America's unmanned aircraft operations.

    After it flew over Creech AFB, it headed up to Yucca Flat, where one of America's nuclear weapons assembly plants is located, and a secretive airstrip that specializes in test flights of unmanned aircraft, as well as other sensitive Department Of Energy installations. It then headed over the pockmarked Nevada Test Site. Area 51 sits just to the east of this location. The aircraft's panoramic cameras can collect fairly wide swathes of imagery along the Open Skies aircraft's flight path.

    The voyage continued north, with Tonopah Test Range to the east, before heading northeast towards Salt Lake. It passed somewhat near Dugway Proving Grounds on its way back to Great Falls, but it's not clear if the aircraft was collecting imagery at that time. If it was, it was doing so at double the altitude as before. The Tu-154 flew at an altitude of around 14,000 to 15,000 feet for the part of its trip over Nevada and California, before climbing out to above 30,000 feet after exiting the NTTR and heading back to its temporary base of operations in Great Falls.
    Flightradar24

    Flightradar24

    Flightradar24
    A flight before this one saw the Tu-154 check out Salt Lake and Hill AFB, Las Vegas and Nellis AFB, pretty much all of San Diego, and up the Southern California coast, which has plenty of military bases and weapons storage areas. It then flew directly to Plant 42 in Palmdale before climbing up and heading to Travis AFB to land and refuel.

    These are Russia's first Open Skies missions over the U.S. for the year. The U.S. has already flown a number of Open Skies sorties over Russia in February.

    Papas Dos/wikicommons
    Russia Tu-154M configured and certified for Open Skies flights.

    Open Skies almost became a thing of the past when the U.S. accused the Russians of abusing the agreement and not offering equal treatment as defined by its terms. The U.S. also claimed that the equipment on Russian's newest Tu-214ON Open Skies plane didn't meet the limiting requirements of the treaty. Many think that the Russians get far more out of Open Skies than the U.S. as their satellite imaging and general reconnaissance capabilities are more limited than those of the U.S. military. You can more about this situation here.

    Just as it looked like Open Skies was crumbling, there was a sudden about-face and the flights resumed, with an especially high profile U.S. sortie over Ukraine occurring in January.


    OSCE.ORG



    OSCE.ORG

    The Russians definitely have a ton of new intelligence data to pore over after yesterday's missions. We'll keep an eye on the Tu-154M's movements out of Great Falls to see if it flies any more missions over some of America's most sensitive military installations in the days to come.

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