US Eyes Improved Open Skies Gear

The United States wants to move from film cameras to digital sensors for the overhead observation flights conducted under the Open Skies Treaty. “Relying on old film cameras is no longer adequate,” Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary of state for verification, compliance, and implementation, said June 9 at the Open Skies review conference in Vienna, Austria. The US is also studying future Open Skies aircraft options since its current fleet “must be refreshed in the coming decade or flights will no longer be possible,” she said. The Air Force currently flies several OC-135B aircraft in this role. The treaty allows member states to fly unarmed observation missions over the territory of participating nations to monitor their military forces. The US seeks to move forward cooperatively with the other treaty parties since the sensors used in Open Skies must be commercially available to all members. (Gottemoeller speech) (State Department fact sheet)