Russian Military Reconnaissance Aircraft Overflies San Bernardino County

A Russian military surveillance jet last week overflew and did extensive videographic and electronic reconnaissance of the two significant military installations in San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert.
The Tupolev 154, equipped with sensitive electro-optical cameras capable of taking high-resolution photos using a variety of filters, antennas capable of detecting an extensive range of electronic emanations across the frequency spectrum, thermal and light refraction sensors and radio frequency and laser projectors, the beams from which upon bounceback provide a photogrammographic profile of the area it has passed over, had clearance from the Donald Trump Administration and the Department of Defense to engage in the flyovers.
Both Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms and Fort Irwin are among 58 military installations in the Continental United States where Russian Surveillance aircraft are permitted to make airborne surveys under the Treaty on Open Skies agreement signed in 1992 during the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration. That protocol, which allows unarmed military planes from both countries to fly over each other’s territory, grew out of a proposal first made by President Dwight Eisenhower to Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev at the Geneva Summit in 1955. That overture was constantly rejected by the then-Soviet Union for nearly four decades.
The Tupolev 154 that was seen over San Bernardino County was the same craft that flew over other strategic military sites on the West Coast, including Vandenberg Air Force Base, Point Mugu, Edwards Air Force Base, Camp Pendleton, Coronado Island and Miramar, after staging from Travis Air Force Base, where U.S. observers were welcomed on board the aircraft in order to monitor all phases of the flight, which at one point rounded eastward and included an aerial survey of the Nevada Test Site and Area 51, passing through air space where U.S. civilian flights are not permitted.
-Mark Gutglueck

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