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Joint NATO Open Skies Training Mission Over UK

Romanian Air Force An-30 Open Skies aircraft arrives at RAF Brize Norton [Crown Copyright: Paul Crouch]

Joint NATO Open Skies, part of JACIG, training mission over the United Kingdom for the first time operationally since 2021.

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News Release, Whitehall, 18 March 2024: For the first time since 2021, there has been Open Skies operational activity over the UK.

The Open Skies team is part of the Joint Arms Control Implementation Group (JACIG) and operates on partner nations’ observation aircraft equipped with certified sensors to collect imagery of Treaty signatories, having observed and imaged over 200km of terrain in the last year. JACIG was established in 1990 and is now under the Directorate of Overseas Bases, conducting arms control inspection and observation duties in 23 countries in the last year. The Open Skies Treaty entered into force in 2002; with 6 official operational languages in use, the legally binding Treaty currently has 32 states parties.

Alongside NATO partners, Romania and France, JACIG coordinated an inbound observation mission over the UK in February to better maintain operational preparedness and preserve knowledge of Open Skies procedures. RAF Brize Norton was the host airfield, with three flights, spanning two days, comprehensively testing as many air space agencies as possible, providing increased opportunity for key stakeholder engagement and experience of mission activities.

Those taking part in the mission underwent briefings and initial aircraft inspections before boarding the flight in which they utilised the specialist sensors to collect imagery, with the Mission Report signing and Team Chief gifting ending the day.

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