An MQ-9 Reaper drone in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in November 2022. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
A Russian jet crashed into a U.S. drone above the Black Sea on Tuesday, forcing the U.S. to bring the drone down.
Driving the news: The incident is part of a “pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft over international airspace,” U.S. European Command said in a press release.
Zoom in: The collision occurred when one of two Russian Su-27 jets struck the propeller of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, resulting in a “complete loss” of the unmanned aircraft, U.S. Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker said in the press release.
Before the crash, the jets had “dumped fuel on and flew in front” the drone, in a manner the U.S. military described as “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional.”The big picture: When asked about the collision at a press briefing Tuesday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said President Biden had already been briefed on the matter.
Such intercepts between U.S. and Russian aircraft over the Black Sea are not uncommon, but Tuesday’s collision was unique because of how “unsafe and unprofessional” it was, Kirby noted.”I want to stress that this MQ-9 was operating in international airspace over international waters, and posed a threat to nobody,” he said, adding that the incident would not deter the U.S. from operating in international airspace over the Black Sea.Worth noting: State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on a call Tuesday that the U.S. would summon Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, in the wake of the incident, Reuters reported.
Antonov said in a statement on Telegram that the U.S. drone had been moving “deliberately and provocatively towards the Russian territory” but denied that the Russian jets had “come into contact” with the drone.”We perceive any actions involving the use of American weapons and military equipment as openly hostile,” he added.State of play: The U.S. has been flying MQ-9 Reaper drones, which are capable of intelligence collection and surveillance, over the Black Sea since before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, CNN reported.
Russia did not immediately respond to news of the collision, though it has voiced concern about U.S. intelligence flights near the Crimean peninsula in the past, per AP.Kirby told “CNN This Morning” Wednesday that the drone had not yet been recovered and may never be recovered. “We did the best we could to minimize any intelligence value that might come from somebody else getting their hands on that drone,” Kirby noted.Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that just one jet collided with the drone. It has also been updated with additional details throughout.
Source : Axios