In a rare incident, a Russian fighter jet reportedly struck the propeller of a USA surveillance drone, on Tuesday. The accident took place over the Black Sea. Washington said it marked the first direct encounter between US and Russian forces since the Russia-Ukraine war began more than a year ago.
Two Russian Su-27 aircraft, according to the Pentagon, flew in front of the US MQ-9 Reaper drone. They dumped fuel on it, and eventually one jet “struck the propeller” of the drone requiring US forces to bring it “down in international waters”.
However, Russia clarified that its warplanes did not hit the drone. Instead, it said the drone maneuvered sharply and crashed into the water following an encounter with Russian fighter jets that had been scrambled to intercept it near Crimea, reported the news agency Associated Press.
According to White House national security spokesman John Kirby, US President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident by national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Reportedly, US State Department officials would be speaking directly with their Russian counterparts. They will express their concerns over the unsafe and unprofessional intercept.
Neither the USA nor Russia has recovered the crashed drone. Reportedly, over international waters, the incident occurred at 7.03 am Central European time (0603 GMT; 11.30 am IST
About the MQ-9 Reaper drone
It is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI). It is developed mainly for the United States Air Force (USAF).
Designed for long-endurance and high-altitude surveillance, the MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV. The MQ-9 includes a ground control station and satellite equipment. It has a wingspan of 20 meters.
(With inputs from agency)