(CNN) — A Russian fighter jet shot down a U.S. Air Force jet over the Black Sea on Tuesday after damaging the MQ-9 Reaper drone’s propeller, a U.S. official familiar with the matter said.
The Reaper and two SU-27 Flankers were operating in international waters over the Black Sea when a Russian jet deliberately flew in front of the plane and dumped fuel in front of it, the official said.
One of the aircraft damaged a reaper propeller attached to the back of the drone, the official said. Damage to the propeller forced the US to abandon the Reaper in international waters in the Black Sea.
Russian and American aircraft operated over the Black Sea during the war in Ukraine, but this was the first known contact, a dangerous escalation at a critical time in the war.
According to a US Air Force statement, “At approximately 7:03 a.m. (CET), one of the Russian Su-27s struck the MQ-9’s propeller, prompting US forces to shoot down the MQ-9 in international waters. .” “Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on the MQ-9 and flew in front of it in a reckless, environmentally harmful and unprofessional manner. This incident shows incompetence and unsafe and unprofessional behavior.”
“While our MQ-9 was conducting routine operations in international airspace, it was intercepted and attacked by a Russian aircraft, resulting in the crash and total loss of the MQ-9,” the force’s statement said. Weather.
“In fact, it was this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians that caused both planes to crash,” Hecker added.
“US and allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace, and we call on the Russians to act professionally and safely,” Hecker added.
The US had been operating Reaper drones in the Black Sea since before the start of the war, using spy drones to monitor the area.
According to the Air Force, the Reaper drone can fly at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and has sensors and capabilities to gather information and conduct long-range reconnaissance, making it an ideal platform for monitoring movements on the battlefield and in the Black Sea. region.
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