Urgent: Russian plane collides with American drone over the Black Sea
The US military says a Russian aircraft collided with a US reconnaissance drone over the Black Sea, causing US forces to shoot down the drone in international waters.
The US European Command said in a statement that two Russian Su-27 fighter jets “carried out an unsafe and unprofessional interception” of an American MQ-9 drone that was operating in international airspace over the Black Sea.
It says one of the Russian fighter jets “damaged the propeller of an MQ-9, causing US forces to shoot down an MQ-9 in international waters,” adding that the Su-27 had dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 several times prior to the collision. 9 “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional.”
“This incident demonstrates incompetence, as well as insecurity and unprofessionalism,” the department added.
Russian and American aircraft operated over the Black Sea during the course of the war, but this is the first known such interaction, a potentially dangerous escalation at a critical juncture in hostilities.
The Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by the American company General Atomics is a remotely piloted aircraft of the MALE type (medium altitude, high endurance), equipped with state-of-the-art on-board sensors (optoelectronic balloon and radar) to perform surveillance operations at a cruising speed of 335 km / h.
With a wingspan of 20 meters, it has a flight duration of over 24 hours. It can carry several types of weapons: laser and/or GPS-guided bombs (GBU) or Hellfire missiles. Its ground crew consists of four people.
In addition to the United States, Reaper drones are in service with several European armies, including British, Italian, French and Spanish.
The sky over the Black Sea is an arena for regular interactions between drones and aircraft from NATO countries and the Russian armed forces.