“Russian fighter jet collides with US drone in international waters over Black Sea”

US European Command has reported a collision between a Russian fighter jet and a US drone, forcing the US to bring the MQ-9 Reaper drone down in international waters.

“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 US European Command.

“One of the jets struck the drone’s propeller, forcing the US to bring it down. Two US defense officials said the Russian jet that collided with the drone did not crash but instead landed in Crimea. The officials said it is the first time they are aware of that a Russian jet has dropped fuel on a US aircraft during an intercept.

“The Defense Department press secretary, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, said the U.S. believes the collision was likely to have caused some damage to the Russian plane. The US has wiped out the drone’s software and is considering its salvage options for the wreckage, but the Russians can reach whatever remains of the drone faster than a US ship, the officials said. The US would need to send a ship through the Bosporus from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea, while the Russians have ships in the Black Sea. The Turks have resisted permission for US and other warships to transit the strait in recent months, the officials said.

“In a statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said Russia detected the drone flying over the Black Sea “near the Crimean Peninsula in the direction of the state border of the Russian Federation” and scrambled jets to identify the intruder. The ministry said the two Russian planes did not use weapons, “did not come into contact with the unmanned aerial vehicle, and returned safely to their home airfield,” according to the NBC News report.

(Image: MQ-Reaper drone)

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