A Russian Fighter Jet Forced Down A US Air Force Drone Over The Black Sea
A Russian fighter jet forced down a US Air Force drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, according to the US military. The incident happened as the Reaper drone and two Russian Su-27 aircraft were flying over international waters, when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of the unmanned drone several times and damaged its propeller.
US forces had to bring the MQ-9 drone down in international waters, leading to the first direct physical contact between Russian and US military aircraft since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago. This is likely to increase tensions between the two nations.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said that the Russian aircraft flew “in the vicinity” of the drone for 30 to 40 minutes before colliding just after 7 a.m. Central European Time.
According to Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa,
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. In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.
- Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker
COPYRIGHT_BP: Published on https://bingepost.com/a-russian-fighter-jet-forced-down-a-us-air-force-drone-over-the-black-sea/ by Cecilia Jones on 2023-03-15T22:15:32.132Z
The incident highlights the ongoing tensions between Russia and the US, particularly in the Black Sea region where the two nations have competing interests. The Black Sea is an important strategic location for Russia, which has been increasingly asserting its military presence in the area, including through its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The US has been conducting regular surveillance and reconnaissance flights over the Black Sea to monitor Russian military activity, and this incident is likely to lead to increased scrutiny and tensions between the two nations.
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After being called to the State Department in response to the downing of the drone, Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US, declared that his country did not seek "confrontation" with the US.
We prefer not to create a situation where we can face unintended clashes or unintended incidents between the Russian Federation and the United States.
- Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the US
The incident also raises questions about the safety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in contested airspace. The MQ-9 Reaper is a large, high-altitude drone that is designed to conduct long-duration missions, making it a valuable tool for military operations. However, this incident shows that even drones flying at high altitudes and in international airspace are vulnerable to interference and hostile actions.
The downing of the drone could also have implications for US military operations in the region. The loss of a Reaper drone represents a significant financial and operational setback, and could prompt the US to rethink its surveillance and reconnaissance strategies in the Black Sea.
Antonov echoed a denial from the Russian Ministry of Defense. In a statement released earlier on Tuesday, they denied the Russian jet had come into touch with the drone, saying instead that fighter jets had "scrambled to identify the invader" after spotting it over the Black Sea, and that the drone had "gone into an unguided flight with a loss of altitude."
“The drone flew with its transponders off, violating the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, communicated to all users of international airspace, and published in accordance with international standards,” the ministry said.
The downing of the drone is likely to further strain relations between the two nations, and could lead to increased military posturing and activity in the region. It remains to be seen how the US will respond to the incident, and whether it will take any steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.