On Tuesday morning above the Black Sea, a Russian fighter sprayed it with jet fuel before colliding with a $32 million US Reaper drone, as seen in a spectacular video supplied by the Military.
The uncrewed drone is shown being harassed by a Su-27 Flanker aircraft, which American analysts claim has never been seen before, during two extremely near passes. Fuel is being sprayed in front of the drone.
The Su-27 approaches the MQ-9 Reaper so closely during the second pass that the screen temporarily turns pixelated, implying a collision.
A bent propeller wing is seen when the camera returns, which indicates damage severe enough for the US Air Force to order the drone to come to a stop. Senior Russian officials have stated that they want to rescue it after it fell into Black Sea international waters.
The Su-27 was equipped with at least four missiles, which may be seen by stopping the imagery. The Reaper was unarmed, according to the US, and was likely doing surveillance and reconnaissance in relation to the crisis in Ukraine.
The Pentagon Footage
The video, which lasts for roughly 40 seconds, according to the Pentagon, was edited by the US military for length but revealed the sequential order of events during a protracted period of harassment by two Russian jets.
The drone was allegedly damaged after a pair of Su-27 aircraft spent at least 30 minutes attempting to interfere with it by fuelling it and flying in front of it, according to prior statements made by the US.
Officials from the US air force stated earlier this week that the jets came close to the drone 19 times, pouring fuel on the final three or four of those flights.
Following the incident, four US sources tell CNN that the US is evaluating its drone activities in the Black Sea region.
The military sent the same drone model, an MQ-9 Reaper, on a mission in roughly the same area over the Black Sea shortly after the collision occurred. This was done in an effort to survey the crash site and monitor Russian efforts to look for the debris. However, the military has not entirely stopped the flights during the assessment.
The officials stated that the US is thinking about flying another drone over the Black Sea in the near future. They continued by saying that this is often compatible with the drones’ variable normal operation schedule.
Authorities also intend to weigh the possible intelligence value of a particular route against the risk of escalation with Russia when weighing the total costs and advantages of flying these missions.