Dangerous incident in the Black Sea: Russian plane brings down US drone
It is an American MQ-9 drone, also called a Reaper, which was “intercepted and rammed” by a Russian fighter plane on Tuesday, over the Black Sea.
A Russian Su-27 fighter jet “intercepted and rammed” an American Reaper drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday and caused it to fall, an act qualified as 'rash' by White House as war in Ukraine raises fears of escalation.
Our MQ-9 drone was performing routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and rammed by a Russian aircraft, resulting in the crash and loss of the MQ- 9, said General James Hecker, commander of US air forces in Europe, confirming reports revealed earlier by Agence France-Presse (AFP) of an incident involving a Reaper in the Black Sea.
< p class="e-p">It is the first time since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory, on February 24, 2022, that a NATO country, supporting Ukraine, has admitted losing self-operated equipment in this highly flammable region.
This is a dangerous and unprofessional act by the Russians, the senior officer stressed, adding that US and allied drones will continue to operate in the airspace international and calling on Russians to behave professionally.
Aggressive actions by Russian crews could lead to miscalculations and unintended escalation, military insists in the same statement.
The collision appears to have taken place in the airspace off the Ukrainian city of Odessa, according to the x27;US Naval Institute.
It was a Russian SU-27 fighter jet like these that hit the American drone over the sea Black.
According to the FlightRadar24 website, a P-8A Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft circled off the coast of Romania after taking off from Sigonella Air Base, Italy.< /p>
A White House spokesman, John Kirby, denounced a reckless act on the part of the Russians, noting that there had been interceptions of American drones by Russian aircraft in the past, but that this incident was unique in that it resulted in the loss of the Reaper.
As of 6 p.m. GMT on Tuesday, Russian authorities had not reacted to this information.< /p>
The skies of the Black Sea are the scene of very regular interactions between drones and aircraft of NATO countries and the Russian armed forces, in particular since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
With the current crisis, we have an increase in the number of reconnaissance vectors towards Crimea, with Reaper, which we did not have before. And depending on the situation, it can piss off the Russians. Especially since there have been Western [information, editor’s note] collection activities that participate in targeting for Ukraine, underlines a French expert on condition of anonymity.
Ukraine's Western allies, who have been delivering arms to Kiev since the beginning of the conflict to help it defend itself, are not directly involved on Ukrainian territory, fear of an escalation with Russian nuclear power.
Thus, diplomatic channels may mitigate the event, a Western military source said.
The Reaper drone, manufactured by the American company General Atomics, is a remotely piloted aircraft of the MALE (medium altitude long endurance) type, equipped with ultra-modern on-board sensors (optronic ball and radar) to carry out surveillance operations at a cruising speed of 335 km/h.
With a wingspan of 20 meters, it has a range of more than 24 hours of flight. It can carry several types of armament: laser and/or GPS (GBU) guided bombs or Hellfire missiles. Its ground crew consists of four people.
In addition to the United States, several European armies have Reaper drones in their fleet, including the British, Italians, French and Spaniards.