Earlier this month, it was an incredible sight to see: a Russian Tu-154M-ON (NATO reporting name: "Careless") reconnaissance plane conducting a surveillance mission over US sensitive military sites -- places where even US commercial jets are generally forbidden to fly over, we reported.
The Russians will use a Tupolev Tu-214 for the second surveillance mission carried out within the guidelines of the international Treaty on Open Skies, Red Star said, citing Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryzhkov.
Online flight tracking software provided by Flightrader24, shows the Tu-214, with the registration number RF-64525, and using an Open Skies call sign, OSY332T, landed in Reykjavik, Iceland on Monday morning. The aircraft took off around noon to continue its journey to the US.
The plane is expected to conduct the reconnaissance mission from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, in Buchanan County, Missouri this week.
During the maximum flight distance of 3,000 miles, the plane, equipped with sensitive electro-optical cameras, will take high-resolution photos of unspecified military sites.
Red Star said the flight route was agreed upon by the US government, will have US aviation officials onboard the plane to overseer the surveillance equipment and compliance with the provisions of the treaty.
The Tu-214 has a similar digital camera to that of the Tu-154.
Thanks to internet sleuths, the specifications of the Russian sensors have been made public. The imagery can be 1.6 miles to 7.4 miles wide, depending on the altitude. Once the flightpath is released, it'll be much easier to see what military assets the Russians were interested in.
The US Air Force conducted a variant of Open Skies three times this year over Russian sites.
In December, the U.S conducted an Open Skies mission over Ukraine after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships off Crimea.
Open Skies is an agreement by both countries to monitor each other's military assets as Cold War 2.0 has begun.