An unmanned US military drone collided with a Russian fighter jet in international airspace over the Black Sea. U.S. forces then had to shoot down the drone, the military announced today (Tuesday) and complained that the "reckless, unsafe and unprofessional" action by Russia caused the incident. The Pentagon said the fighter jet hit the propeller of a U.S. military drone "Reaper," forcing the U.S. to drop it into the Black Sea.
The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, originally known as the Predator B, is a remotely piloted aircraft (UAV) developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and in use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the Italian Air Force and the British Royal Air Force. The MQ-9 is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-range, high-altitude surveillance.
The MQ-9 drone "was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in an accident and complete loss of the aircraft," U.S. Air Force General James Hecker, commander of the U.S. Air Force Europe and Africa, was quoted by AFP. "In fact, this dangerous and unprofessional act on the part of the Russians almost caused both planes to fall." According to a U.S. official familiar with the incident cited by CNN, the Reaper and two Su-27 Flanker jets were operating in international waters over the Black Sea when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew ahead and dumped fuel in front of the unmanned drone. One of the jets then damaged the Reaper's propeller, which is mounted on the back of the drone, the official said. Damage to the propeller forced the United States to shoot down the Reaper in international waters in the Black Sea.