Four representatives of the Spanish Verification Unit have participated in a training observation flight using a Romanian aircraft, due to the fact that Romania has just certified a new digital sensor installed on its Antonov 30B aircraft, used in the Open Skies observation flights.
These training missions attempt to be in line with real flights , so they began by complying with the deadlines for issuing and responding to the mandatory notifications that cover these missions (such as the 72-hour minimum notice period for requesting the flight, or the 24 hours that Romania had in this case to accept it).
The training continued with the constitution of the tripartite team of Danish, Czech and Spanish observers. The UVE team had the Head of the Portuguese Open Skies Group as a special guest during this activity. This type of invitations is usual in verification missions, as it allows the exchange of different approaches and different points of view for the accomplishment of the same tasks.
A relevant point of the training was the pre-flight inspection, a mandatory task to allow the aircraft to be cleared for an observation flight. It was verified that the aircraft, its sensors, antennas and integrated avionics were in accordance with what was certified by Romania. Once this initial process was over, the most important part of the mission -except for the flight itself- began: the discussion of the Mission Plan.
This is the turning point of the whole activity: the proposal of the flight route (or routes), with their corresponding minimum heights over the ground (in order not to obtain a ground resolution greater than 30 centimeters). Once it was successfully approved, the only thing left to do was to perform the observation flight.
Despite the adverse weather conditions, the mission was carried out without any incident, thus fulfilling the double objective foreseen for this part of the training: on the one hand, the use of computerized means for route preparation and flight tracking (in the case of Spain, the Vantage Point software), and on the other hand, the acquisition of images in the designated points and areas in coordination with Denmark, the Czech Republic and Spain.
The Open Skies Treaty is an international agreement within the framework of the OSCE that complements other treaties and agreements, such as the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and the Vienna Document 2011. All of them aim to build security and confidence among the signatory members. Together with the CFE Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty represents the core of conventional arms reduction and control agreements that emerged at the end of the Cold War.