Un Russian SU-27 fighter jet shot down a US Reaper drone in the Black Sea on Tuesday, an area closely monitored by NATO since the start of the war in Ukraine, the US military said.
“Our MQ-9 drone was conducting routine operations in international airspace when a Russian aircraft was intercepted and attacked, resulting in the crash and loss of the MQ-9,” said General James Hecker, commander of US Air Forces in Europe. and Africa. “It was a dangerous and unprofessional action on the part of the Russians that almost caused the crash of two planes,” he added, referring to the incident in the region, which has been closely monitored by NATO since the start of the war. In Ukraine.
The US report confirms an earlier report by AFP about an incident involving a US-made drone in the Black Sea. “US and allied drones will continue to operate in international airspace, and we call on the Russians to behave professionally,” he added.
According to a NATO official, US General Christopher Cavalli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SAC) briefed the Allies. According to a Western military source speaking on condition of anonymity, diplomatic channels between Washington and Moscow will be activated to avoid any escalation.
The skies over the Black Sea are the scene of more regular interactions between drones and aircraft of NATO countries and the Russian armed forces.
The Reaper drone, manufactured by the American company General Atomics, is a MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) type remotely piloted aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art on-board sensors (optronic ball and radar) to carry out surveillance operations. The cruising speed is 335 kmph. With a wingspan of 20 meters, it is capable of sustaining flight for more than 24 hours.
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