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Russian aircraft to conduct aerial observation of eastern Canada

Russian military officials will fly over Canada to conduct an aerial observation under terms of the 2002 Open Skies Treaty.


September 19, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

Russian military officials will fly over Canada today and Friday to conduct an aerial observation under terms of the 2002 Open Skies Treaty.

The Russian flights, aboard a Tupolev 154M jet, will depart from Trenton, Ont., and fly over military installations, factories, cities and transportation hubs. Canadian military officials will accompany the Russians to make sure the flight follows a specified route and agreed-upon monitoring methods.

The Department of Defence says the fly-over will cover the St. Lawrence River, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia today, then Quebec, the Niagara region and the north shore of Lake Ontario on Friday.

Canada has flown similar inspection flights over Russia and other countries since 34 nations signed the treaty in 2002 and this will be the third inspection flight of Canada by another nation.

The Russians conducted a previous inspection in 2004, flying at the relatively low altitude of 2,500 metres between Ottawa and Winnipeg.

Under the treaty, the aircraft are unarmed but equipped with special cameras, scanners and radar systems. Canada conducts the flights using a Hercules CC-130 fitted with a sensor pod.