United States MQ-9 Reaper drone. Su-27 fighter jet hit and down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone while flying over the Black Sea. Photo/REUTERS/Efren Lopez/US Air Force
MOSCOW – One of two Su-27 fighter jets Russia rammed and downed an Air Force MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone United States of America (US) in a tense incident over the Black Sea on Tuesday morning.
The US European Command (EUCOM) said the incident occurred during an unsafe and unprofessional intercept by two Moscow fighter jets.
“Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms were operating in international airspace when the (Russian) aircraft approached,” EUCOM said in a statement quoted from its official website, Wednesday (15/3/2023).
“One of the Su-27s hit the propeller of the MQ-9, resulting in the operator throwing the drone overboard,” the EUCOM statement continued.
“Several times before the collision, the Su-27 dumped fuel and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, unfriendly and unprofessional manner,” complained EUCOM, accusing the Russian military of incompetence.
General James Hecker, US Air Force commander in Europe and Africa, said the drone was conducting routine operations in international airspace and the incident resulted in the “total loss” of an MQ-9.
EUCOM said the US routinely operates drone flights in international airspace to support Europe’s collective defense and security and support the national objectives of US allies, partners and.
Hecker said flights would resume, and called on Russia to behave professionally and safely.
The Kremlin and Russia’s Defense Ministry have yet to comment on the alleged incident.
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