USA Russia Sign MoU on Air Safety

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U.S. and Russian military officials signed a memorandum of understanding that includes steps their pilots should take to avoid an inadvertent clash over Syria as they carry out separate air strikes against militant groups.

Objective of this MoU is to “minimise the risk of inflight incidents” among coalition and Russian aircraft operating in Syrian air space.

current affairsThe issue of aircraft safety started after Russia began bombing targets in Syria last month. U.S. and Russian aircraft have flown in close proximity over Syria, and there have been concerns about the safety of pilots given the risk of miscalculation in the tight airspace.

The memorandum contains a number of rules and restrictions aimed at preventing incidents between American and Russian planes.

MoU includes specific protocols for air crews to follow, plus the creation of a ground communications link between the two sides in the event air communications fail.

These protocols include maintaining professional airmanship at all times, the use of specific communication frequencies and the establishment of a communication line on the ground.

The agreement covered coalition aircraft. Coalition members include Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier U.S.-led coalition aircrafts bombing Islamic State in Syria were re-routed at least once to avoid a close encounter with Russian planes. The agreement is only about keeping pilots safe.

The US and Russia will form a working group to discuss any implementation issues. The memorandum “does not establish zones of cooperation, intelligence sharing or any sharing of target information in Syria.”

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The skies over Syria are dangerously crowded these days with the US, Russia, and the Assad regime all bombing various actors on vaguely opposite sides of the country’s multi-dimensional conflict.

The presence of various aircraft – including military cargo planes, warplanes, UAVs, and strike drones – has recently been on the rise in Syrian airspace.