The Open Skies Treaty

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MIflyer

1st Lieutenant
6,318
12,187
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
The Chinese Spy Balloon incident brings something to mind. Any of y'all ever hear of the Open Skies Treaty? Following the FG Powers U-2 incident the Eisenhower Admin proposed the Open Skies Treaty. Countries would sign a treaty that allowed overflights by the other signatories as long as certain requirements as to notifications were met. The idea went nowhere in the 1950's, but following the collapse of the USSR the Open Skies Treaty was implemented.

Countries could bring their own aircraft or have one provided by the host country. They had to provide a flight plan in advance and were limited to that route. The USAF designated a WC-135 as the Open Skies aircraft. The result of the treaty was that everybody but everybody who signed up to it wanted to fly over Russia and Russia wanted to fly over the US.

One day in the mid-90's the Russians announced they wanted to fly down the East Coast of the US from Wash DC to Cape Canaveral and back. Our Treaty Compliance Officer told me the WC-135 was nearing Patrick AFB and we went outside to see if we could watch it fly over. We waited for a while and then she turned around and pointed at an airplane, asking "Is that it?"

I replied, "No! That is definitely not it!" The airplane was a Mig-17 in Soviet markings. There was an airshow that weekend and it included a Mig-17/F-86 dogfight.

I wish we had thought to have that Mig-17 intercept that WC-135, just to get the Russian observers' reactions.

I guess the Open Skies Treaty is no longer in effect, but maybe DC was thinking in those terms when they did not blow away the Chinese Spy Balloon right away.
 
I guess the Open Skies Treaty is no longer in effect, but maybe DC was thinking in those terms when they did not blow away the Chinese Spy Balloon right away.
Open Skies still exists BUT the two big players are no longer part of it.

The USA under Trump withdrew in 2020 (became final on 22 Nov 2020) after citing alleged Russian violations. The Biden administration told Russian in May 2021 that they would not be rejoining.

Following that, in Jan 2021 Russia announced its withdrawal which was finalised in June that year.
 

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