US, Russia Test Communications Line

The US and Russia tested the communication protocols agreed upon last month during a Nov. 3 flight over Syria. The two countries on Oct. 20 signed a memorandum of understanding focused on flight safety over Syria, which included the establishment of a radio frequency for aircrews to talk as a way to avoid inadvertent conflict. At noon (Qatar time) on Tuesday, one US fighter aircraft tested the communications line with one Russian fighter aircraft. The Pentagon declined to say what aircraft participated in the test. “The purpose of the test was to validate the safety protocols established by the memorandum of understanding,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza told Air Force Magazine. The test occurred in south central Syria and lasted about three minutes. “This test was a prudent measure solely to ensure that, in the event coalition aircraft encounter a Russian aircraft during operations in Syria, one of the established and agreed upon modes of communication in the agreement functioned,” Baldanza said.