On Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force revealed that two Russian fighter jets harassed and later downed a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over the Black Sea.
In a press conference, Pentagon officials confirmed that one of the two Russian aircraft clipped the drone’s propeller, forcing the U.S. to land the drone in the ocean.
“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,” U.S. Air Force Gen. James V. Hecker, the commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa said in a statement.
Hecker added that the incident demonstrated a “lack of competence” and unprofessionalism from Russia.
Still, a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense denied that any Russian aircraft collided with the drone.
While Moscow does not claim that the U.S. entered Russian air space, a statement did insist that the U.S. should not have been operating in the region because of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
What is the MQ-9 Reaper?
The MQ-9 Reaper, sometimes called the Predator B, is an unmanned aerial vehicle primarily designed for long-endurance and high-altitude surveillance.
The drone was developed for use by the United States Air Force by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, a military contractor based in Poway, California.
The MQ-9 is also equipped with technology that it allows it to locate and engage with targets, making it a hunter-killer UAV.
According to the U.S. Air Force website, the Reaper is “part of a remotely piloted aircraft system” which consists of a sensor and weapon-equipped aircraft, a Predator Primary Satellite link, a ground control station, and spare equipment and maintenance crews who oversee 24-hour missions.
“The MQ-9 baseline system carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which has a robust suite of visual sensors for targeting. The MTS-B integrates an infrared sensor, color, monochrome daylight TV camera, shortwave infrared camera, laser designator, and laser illuminator. The full-motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused,” the Air Force site reads.
The MQ-9 is one of the most advanced drones on the planet, making Russia’s Tuesday attack a real statement to the White House.
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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.
March 15, 2023 at 8:29 pm
The Russians took down a $32 million drone by dumping a few hundred bucks of fuel and then bumping into it. This comes soon after the US shot down a few hundred bucks worth of hobbyist balloons by firing a half-dozen air-to-air missiles at $400K apiece.
Still wonder how the US manages to outspend the next umpteen countries on national defense while consistently failing to achieve its strategic objectives?
March 16, 2023 at 10:46 am
is us a coward country or are us leaders cowards? how can they claim , that of destroying the drone was unprofessionnel when we see or everyone see an deliberate act of provocation? i note since obama administration expresssion unprofessionnel was adopted by to qualify a russian deliberate provocation!!! the cowaedice face to russian provocation make russia think that us is very afraid of russia. so russia continued its provocations. but i dont think that russia or iran could act line when face israel.
the us should respond by destroying any russia jets that approach us ones !!!.now it the reign of violence to stop us must be very violent to country like iran , russia north korea china until stop. if not us will lose credit or its deterrence . us needs to accept that world has change now the rogue states try to ridiculise and vankish us . tehy want to destroy us economy , us dollar us linls with west europe. us does not wait until the destruction comes!!!! the preventive wars are better than waiting to be destroy
March 16, 2023 at 10:59 pm
“Hecker added that the incident demonstrated a “lack of competence” and unprofessionalism from Russia.”
Conversely. We see the highest professionalism of the Russian pilot. At high speed, he flew so close to the drone that he was able to shoot it down with a stream of air. The presented videos do not show the fuel drain. It’s just a trace from the engine exhaust on the afterburner.