A Russian Su-27 fighter jet struck a U.S. military MQ-9 drone today, with the drone landing in international waters.
According to reports, the U.S. MQ-9 drone was on a routine mission within international waters when Russian fighter jets ended up intercepting it.
“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 US Air Force Gen James Hecker.
Reports also stated that the Russian Su-27 fighter jets dumped fuel on the MQ-9 and flew in front of it in a reckless manner.
Spokespeople mentioned that “these aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous & could lead to miscalculation & unintended escalation”.
It is understood the Russian armed forces haven’t commented on the incident yet, with it being unclear what the next steps would be from this interception.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone is specifically used for high-altitude surveillance. No deaths or injuries would be reported as the aircraft is an unmanned drone.
All eyes will now be on the U.S Government to see what additional reaction will be provided, especially in the wake of continued tensions due to the war in Ukraine.
The Russian Su-27 fighter jets are far larger than the MQ-9 unmanned drones, so it does explain why the drone ended up going down over international waters.
Nothing has been mentioned about the recovery efforts of the drone as of yet.
UPDATE Thursday 16 March
The US European Command has now released camera footage from the MQ-9 drone, stating:
“Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft operating within international airspace over the Black Sea on March 14, 2023.”
Russian Su-27s dumped fuel upon and struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.”
This is a developing story.