US reaper drone downed over the Black Sea in an “incident” with Russian jet
A Russian fighter jet downed a U.S. drone operating over the Black Sea on Tuesday, the US European Command said in a statement. Blaming a pair of Russian fighter jets for “reckless” maneuvers which resulted in the MQ-9 drone being struck and crashing in international waters, the US military said the two Russian aircraft harassed the drone prior to the collision. It was a “complete loss,” the statement added.
“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 Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa.
“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the statement added.
Below is the US military statement:
“Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea today.
At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.
“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.”
“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.
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. These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.”
Meanwhile, NSC spokesman John Kirby added by saying the US aircraft posed no threat to anyone, and that it was operating in international airspace. He additionally confirmed it was brought down in international waters.
The US Air Force issued a statement accusing the Russian aircraft of acting in a “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner.”
Environmentally unsound. That’s what they’re worried about. Not the start of WWIII.
Trump was right again!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 14, 2023