A Russian fighter jet on Tuesday dumped gasoline on an American drone over the Black Sea then collided with it, inflicting the drone to crash, the US navy stated.
US European Command stated two Russian Su-27 fighters intercepted the unmanned MQ-9 Reaper over worldwide waters and one clipped its propeller.
“A number of instances earlier than the collision, the Su-27s dumped gasoline on and flew in entrance of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional method,” it stated.
The assertion confirmed an earlier report by AFP of an incident involving a US-made drone.
NATO diplomats in Brussels confirmed the incident, however stated they didn’t count on it to instantly escalate into an extra confrontation.
A Western navy supply, talking to AFP on situation of anonymity, stated that diplomatic channels between Russia and the USA can be activated.
“To my thoughts, diplomatic channels will mitigate this,” the supply stated.
America makes use of MQ-9 Reapers for each surveillance and strikes, and has lengthy operated over the Black Sea maintaining a tally of Russian naval forces.
The scenario within the area has grow to be solely grow to be extra tense prior to now 12 months since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Western-backed Ukraine.
“Our MQ-9 plane was conducting routine operations in worldwide airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian plane, leading to a crash and full lack of the MQ-9,” stated US Air Power Basic James Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa.
“In reality, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians practically precipitated each plane to crash.”
“US and allied plane will proceed to function in worldwide airspace and we name on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” he added.
A number of US Reapers have been misplaced in recent times, together with to hostile fireplace.
One was shot down in 2019 over Yemen with a surface-to-air missile fired by Huthi rebels, the US Central Command stated on the time.
Based on media studies, a US MQ-9 crashed in Libya in 2022, whereas one other went down throughout a coaching train in Romania earlier in the identical yr.
Reapers will be armed with Hellfire missiles in addition to laser-guided bombs and may fly for greater than 1,100 miles at altitudes of as much as 15,000 metres (50,000 ft), in line with the US Air Power.
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