(TheRedAlertNews.com) – BREAKING NOW: A US military drone was forced down on Tuesday following a collision with a Russian fighter jet over the Black Sea.
The MQ-9 Reaper crashed in international waters after its propeller was hit by one of two Russian Su-27 aircraft during an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept,” according to a US European Command (EUCOM) statement.
EUCOM also noted that the Su-27s had repeatedly flown in front of the MQ-9 and dumped fuel on it, exhibiting reckless and unprofessional behavior. “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated that the drone had been carrying out a standard intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission over the Black Sea. He added that it is an essential and busy international waterway, with aircraft operations occurring even before the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, the commander of US air operations in Europe and Africa, said that the actions of the Russian jet almost caused both aircraft to crash. Ryder indicated that the Su-27 was likely damaged during the collision but landed safely soon after.
The US summoned the Russian ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, to protest the incident, state Department spokesman Ned Price revealed. However, Ryder mentioned that US military officials have not yet spoken to their Russian counterparts about the encounter, to his knowledge.
EUCOM stated that the collision occurred around 7 a.m. local time and is part of a series of dangerous actions by Russian pilots in interactions with US and Allied aircraft over international airspace, including the Black Sea. Ryder explained that the Russian pilots harassed the drone for 30 to 40 minutes before it went down.
As of Tuesday afternoon, neither the US nor Russia had recovered the drone, and Ryder did not comment on any potential recovery efforts.
White House spokesperson confirmed that President Biden had been briefed on the incident by national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby informed reporters that this is the first time a US aircraft intercepted by Russian jets has resulted in the loss of a drone. However, he emphasized that the US military would continue its operations in the region, stating that the Black Sea is not the property of any single nation.
This incident comes weeks after the US military intercepted eight Russian fighter jets near Alaska in two separate events.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) had to dispatch two F-35A fighter jets on two occasions in February to intercept four Russian flights, with the support of two F-16 fighters, an E-3 Sentry early-warning aircraft, and two KC-135 Stratotankers. NORAD noted that while Russian jet approaches to the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone were somewhat common, the back-to-back incidents in close proximity were noteworthy.
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