Open Skies…

Is apparently alive and well again!

An Air Force jet piloted by an Offutt-based crew is flying the first aerial photography flight over Russia in more than a year under the Open Skies Treaty, Pentagon officials confirmed, marking a return to some limited military cooperation between the two nations.

Full article, HERE from

For those who are not sure what I’m talking about, this goes back to the 1950s, and was finally signed in 1989 by George HW Bush, but it wasn’t actually ratified until 2002. Now there were ‘overflights’ both by US and Soviet aircraft prior to 2002, as many of us in the military remember, along with the ‘overflight’ windows of the Soviet satellites, which we all came to know and ‘love’… sigh…

Ironically in 2018, the congresscritters refused to fund upgrading of the old OC-135 which is the only US compliant aircraft. That poor old 135 is still limping around on the original J-57 engines, and I’m not sure there are even any spares left for them. It’s a matter of time until it breaks and is stuck wherever it is… Hopefully NOT stuck in Russia!

More information on Open Skies is HERE. Note, this is NOT connected with the ICAO Open Skies policy…


Open Skies… — 8 Comments

  1. Hmmm. I will watching this unfold in time with keen eyes.

  2. Hey Old NFO;

    I was thinking of the ICAO thing at first…because my employer and the other big airlines in the United States had issues with the Middle Eastern Airlines were doing. But that is a post for another day. I also will be I am surprised that they haven’t upgraded the OC135 because the KC has been upgraded with CFM-56 series of engines…LOL I saw one last year during the veterans day celebration at my place of employment.

  3. The Open Skies Program doesn’t really benefit the US. I realize that you can task an aircraft much more easily than you can re-task a satellite, but with the positionable space planes and more positionable ‘other platforms’ that we have on high ground and ability to resolve features (like telling the time from my wristwatch), it only benefits the technologically inferior nations. In this case, Russia.

  4. Fargo- LOL

    Bob- Yep, totally different issue. And I don’t think there ARE any spare engines… sigh

    LL- Exactly, but we’re not going to admit that.

    WSF- Of course. Sigh…

  5. The early KC-135’s were (overloaded..underpowered) & in great peril if they lost either the water-injection or an engine on takeoff. No flight data recorder’s but in 1965 ? a Tanker lost an engine on takeoff at Castle AFB & begin dumping fuel immediately, (probably at the end of the runway) & struggle until getting lighter. It’s flat out there & as the Tanker struggled to survive (when the water injection ran dry), with gear lowered the Aircraft bounced off a highway, took out a very light power line & flew. The aircraft & crew survived so we know exactly what happened. We recalibrated the Flight Simulators to reflect the new information. SO NOW WITH MORE POWERFUL ENGINES I THINK THEY HAVE ADDED RUBBER FUEL BLADDERS IN THE CARGO AREA TO KEEP THEM OVERLOADED.

  6. Heh. I remember Open Skies. Every time the Russians filed a flight path around the US, folks I know went into a feeding frenzy figuring out what needed to be hidden, what could be hidden, and how to hide what was vulnerable based on the Open Skies sensor capabilities.
    LL’s comment is very accurate. Space-borne sensors are much better nowadays compared to when Open Skies started.