Open Skies refers to an international treaty called the Treaty on Open Skies. The treaty was signed in 1992 and entered into force in 2002. Its primary purpose is to promote transparency and mutual confidence among participating states through observation flights over each other's territories.
Under the Open Skies Treaty, member countries are allowed to conduct unarmed observation flights over the territories of other member countries. The flights are conducted using specially equipped aircraft, and the data collected during the flights is shared among the participating states. This exchange of information helps build trust and enhance understanding between nations.
The Open Skies Treaty includes provisions for the number and types of aircraft that can be used for observation flights, as well as the technical specifications of the sensors and cameras that can be installed on these aircraft. It also establishes guidelines for flight planning, notification procedures, and data sharing.
The participating states in the Open Skies Treaty include most of the countries in Europe, as well as Canada, Russia, and the United States. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, there were 35 states that had ratified the treaty.
However, it's worth noting that in November 2020, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty, citing alleged Russian violations of the treaty as the reason. The withdrawal became effective on November 22, 2020. This decision has raised concerns among some other member states about the future of the treaty and its impact on international arms control efforts.
Please note that the situation may have evolved since my last update in September 2021, and I recommend checking for any recent developments regarding the Open Skies Treaty.
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