Russian jet harasses and then collides with U.S. Reaper drone over Black Sea
A Russian fighter jet harassed and then collided with a U.S. drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, forcing the U.S. to bring the MQ-9 Reaper drone down in international waters, U.S. European Command said.
“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,” said Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, the commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”
Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets tracked the U.S. surveillance drone as it flew in international airspace over the Black Sea, which borders Turkey, Ukraine and Russia, among other countries. Before the collision, the jets “dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” according to a statement from U.S. European Command.