A Russian Su-27 jet and a US MQ-9 Reaper drone collided over the Black Sea on Tuesday, reported Fox News, citing US Defence Officials. The incident occurred in international airspace over international waters.
One of the two Su-27 jets that were flying headed towards Crimea and landed there after the collision. The US drone’s propeller was damaged, causing it to land in the Black Sea to the west of Crimea. It is unclear whether the Su-27 sustained any damage in the collision.
US Air Force General James Hecker, who oversees the US Air Force in the region, was quoted as saying by Daily Mail: “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.”
It was confirmed that a collision occurred at 7:03am Central European Time (6:03am GMT) between the drone and the Russian Su-27 fighter jet. The incident took place over international airspace, and a US defence official has accused the Russian pilots of engaging in dangerous actions. The official added that the incident nearly caused a crash between the two aircraft.
The reason for the drone’s presence in the area is not clear at this time. According to a quote from the United States’ European Command, the Su-27s dumped fuel and flew in front of the drone, suggesting a lack of competence. Some analysts have speculated that the Russian military may have been attempting to down the drone in a way that would enable them to recover its data.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone is a remotely piloted aircraft that is primarily used by the United States Air Force for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It is also capable of carrying out strike operations with precision-guided missiles and bombs. With a wingspan of 66 feet and a maximum takeoff weight of over 10,000 pounds, the MQ-9 Reaper is one of the largest and most advanced unmanned aerial vehicles in operation today.
The Russian Su-27 is a twin-engine fighter jet that was designed for air superiority missions. It has a top speed of Mach 2.35 and can carry a variety of air-to-air missiles and bombs. The Su-27 was first introduced in 1985 and has since undergone several upgrades to its avionics, weapons systems, and engines. It is widely considered to be one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world and has been exported to several countries, including China and India.