In international airspace above the Black Sea, a Russian aircraft collided with an American drone. The latter crashed.
Two Su-27 planes attempted to intercept MQ-9 Reaper drone. They poured fuel several times in front of the aircraft in an attempt to cause damage before it collided.
The propeller of the MQ-9 drone was struck by the Russian helicopter, and the US forces had to bring it down.
The US European Command stated that the Russian maneuvers were “reckless”, unprofessional, and environmentally unsound.
It stated that the drone was in a routine flight, which is consistent with international laws designed to strengthen collective European defense and security.
Ukraine war news – Was it a provocation?
According to the statement, this is just the latest in a string of Russian piloting that could cause “unintended escalate”
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the fighter jets were not in direct contact with the drone. The jets also did not use on-board weapons.
Russia’s Ria News Agency reported on Tuesday that the ministry claimed the drone flew in an “uncontrolled” flight and crashed into the water due to a “sharp maneuver”.
Russian fighters were said to have been in the area to locate the object.
US General James Hecker, Air Force Chief of Staff, described the incident as “unsafe and unprofessional acts by the Russians”, which led to the total loss of an MQ-9.
Unintentional escalation of airspace near Ukraine
After an “unsafe” and unprofessional Russian intercept over the Black Sea, a US drone was shot down. This highlights the danger of unintended escalation of the increasingly crowded airspace near Ukraine.
The key issue will be how the United States responds to what appears to have been an accident rather than a deliberate crash.
Yet the US military said the Russian Su-27 fighter planes dumped fuel on the MQ-9 Reaper drone “several times” and flew in front of it “in a reckless, environmentally-unsound and unprofessional manner”.
The propeller of the drone collided with one of the jets, causing the unmanned aircraft’s to crash into the ocean.
Last year, Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary, revealed that a missile had been released by a Russian plane near an unarmed RAF aircraft on a routine patrol above the Black Sea.
The incident of 29 September was described by him as a “potentially hazardous engagement”, but he said that it wasn’t considered a deliberate escalation.
John Kirby, White House spokesperson, described the incident as “unique” because it resulted in the downing of an American aircraft.
MQ-9 drone versus Su-27 fighter jet?
The MQ-9 Reaper drone can be remotely piloted and used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and attack missions.
The Su-27 fighter plane is a Soviet-era invention, originally designed in 1982 to combat powerful US aircraft technology.
Although the former can be fitted with missiles, the aircraft that crashed today was an Intelligence Aircraft, according to US European Command.
This gun is equipped with a 30mm gun and can fire a variety of missiles, rockets, and bombs.
According to Mr Kirby the US will continue to fly over the Black Sea. Kirby said that the Russians do not need to be consulted when they do so, since it is in international waters.