Germany has put a new aircraft into service to conduct observation flights under the Treaty on Open Skies. “The Treaty on Open Skies is a globally unique and very effective agreement on building transparency and confidence,” said Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, at the handover of the aircraft on Friday.
Observation flights from Vancouver to Vladivostok
Under the Treaty, each State Party has the right to conduct a certain number of agreed observation flights a year in the airspace of other States Parties. Sensors for photo, radar and infrared images are used during these flights, and since 2013 increasingly digital sensors too.
Arms control, confidence-building, crisis management
All flights involve individuals from both the observing and observed states. This helps to strengthen the confidence-building function. The country being overflown always has its own military personnel on board. The Treaty thus not only enhances stability and cooperative security, but also helps in monitoring arms control agreements (such as the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe) and in conflict prevention and crisis management.
Observation flights can also be used to obtain a picture of the situation in international crises as well as for environment monitoring.