Russian fighter jet collides with US MQ-9 drone over Black Sea

United States European Command confirmed unmanned aircraft suffered a collision with a Russian Su-27 fighter and ended up destroyed

The United States European Command (USEUCOM) revealed that two Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone that was operating in international airspace over the Black Sea in the Crimea region, around 7:03 am CET.

According to USEUCOM, the Russian jets “conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” when approaching the drone. The service reported that one of Russia’s fighter jets collided with the engine propeller of the MQ-9, forcing the remote control of the unmanned aircraft to shoot it down in international waters.

The United States also accused the Su-27 pilots of dumping fuel on the drone and flying in front of it “in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner”.

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The statement added that the incident “demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional” on the part of Russian air force airmen.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa.

“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

Russian Su-27 (USAF)

“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” Hecker added.

USEUCOM says this incident “follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft over international airspace, including over the Black Sea”.

The statement also mentions that actions of this type are dangerous and “could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation”.

Russia has denied that one of the fighter jets came into contact with the drone. According to the government, the Su-27s were sent to identify an aircraft that was heading to the border and that had its transponder turned off. The MQ-9 would then have made an “unguided flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface”.


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