The unarmed observation missions are permitted under the Open Skies treaty, which allows the United States and Russia to fly surveillance flights over each other’s territory to monitor compliance with arms control agreements, Wright-Patterson base spokesman Daryl Mayer said in a statement Thursday.
More than 1,200 Open Skies flights have been flown over the years, according to Daniel S. Gaffney, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency spokesman.
U.S. personnel were reportedly part of the flights.
Politico reported on Wednesday that the Russian surveillance plane flew over the Washington, D.C., area and near Bedminster, New Jersey, where President Donald Trump is on a working vacation, and later appeared to fly at low altitude over Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The website said the trip’s route “appeared to be an attempt to troll President Donald Trump.” The jet also flew over West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Gaffney said in an email Thursday that he could not confirm any locations the jet flew over until the mission is over.
Late Wednesday, Mayer confirmed the Russian plane was at Wright-Patterson.
“We had the standard notification in advance that it was going to happen, and it happened exactly the way it was supposed to,” he said.
The Russians have flown past Open Skies missions from the Miami Valley base, authorities have said.
The National Air and Space Intelligence Center, headquartered at Wright-Patterson, has a film processing facility for Open Skies missions.