By Chris King • 14 March 2023 • 19:48
Image of a US Reaper drone
Credit: Wikipedia - By Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt - commons file, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68095681
Tuesday, March 14 at 7:45pm
Following the incident involving a Russian SU-27 fighter jet and a US Reaper drone above the Black Sea, the White House has summoned the Russian ambassador to face the State Department in Washington this afternoon, Tuesday, March 14. This was revealed by State Department spokesperson Ned Price, as reported by reuters.com.
The Pentagon confirmed in a press conference that the US drone intercepted over the Black Sea was on a reconnaissance mission, but did not specify if it carried a weapon.
In a statement posted on Telegram, the Russian MOD wrote:”The drone flew with its transponders off, violating the boundaries of the temporary airspace regime established for the special military operation, communicated to all users of international airspace, and published in accordance with international standards”.
“Fighter jets of the air defence force on duty scrambled to identify the intruder. As a result of quick manoeuvring around 9.30 a.m. (Moscow time), the MQ-9 drone went into an unguided flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface”
“The Russian aircraft did not use onboard weapons, did not come into contact with the unmanned aerial vehicle, and returned safely to their home airfield”.
Tuesday, March 14 at 6:24pm
An incident occurred over the Black Sea earlier today, Tuesday, March 14, involving a US-made MQ-9 Reaper drone and two Russian SU-27 fighter jets.
According to a US military spokesperson, the action resulted in the drone coming down in international waters. The Russian Su-27 suffered ‘unknown damage’, and is reported to have landed at an Airbase in Crimea.
In a statement, US Air Force Gen. James B.Hecker, the commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, wrote: “Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea today”.
“At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional”.
“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9. In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash”.
“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely”, Hecker added.
This incident follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft over international airspace, including over the Black Sea. These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa routinely fly aircraft throughout Europe over sovereign territory and throughout international airspace in coordination with the applicable host nation and international laws. In order to bolster collective European defence and security, these missions support Allied, partner, and U.S. national objectives.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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