Russian air force jet flies over Washigton DC area locations

Unarmed Russian air force jet flies over Pentagon Capitol CIA White House	Email

The plane had US military officials on board as it flew over the Pentagon, the Capitol and other government buildings in the Washington, D.C. area. It also passed by Joint Base Andrews, home to Air Force One. The plane then appeared over Dayton, Ohio near Wright-Patterson Air Base, and back over Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.

After that, the Russian plane was to fly over Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is spending his vacations. The treaty established criteria under which countries can make unarmed observation flights over the soil of other treaty members in an effort to promote transparency and global arms control efforts, according to the State Department. According to the treaty guidelines, USA airmen are aboard the Russian jet observing when an Open Skies flight occurs.

Later in the day, Pentagon officials played down the news, saying it was a "semi-routine" flight taking place under USA supervision.

Under the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, 34 participating states (including Russian Federation and the U.S.) allow reconnaissance missions over the other's territory.

Russian Open Skies flights in the U.S. are coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration and carry U.S. Air Force personnel who serve as escorts.

'As per the treaty, we can not confirm any locations until after the mission is over. These missions are highly controlled, typically involving representatives of the country being observed participating in the mission.

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He said the Russians had satellites they could use if they wanted to spy on British installations.

The entire territory of a nation is fair game, although nations get advanced notice of flight plans.

Between the Treaty on Open Skies coming into effect in 2002 and 2016, the US flew more than twice as many flights over Russian Federation than vice versa, a US State Department fact sheet showed.

The Russian plane, a Tupolev Tu-154M, which is akin to civilian airliner, flew at about 3,700 feet and has the ability to take aerial photographs, conduct thermal imaging, and can even gather intelligence signals, CNN said.

The web site concludes: 'Open Skies is one of the most wide-ranging worldwide arms control efforts to date to promote openness and transparency in military forces and activities'.

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