Two Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted a MQ-9 Reaper surveillance and reconnaissance UAV of the US Air Force over the Black Sea. During the implementation of dangerous maneuvers by Russian pilots around the UAV, a collision occurred, which led to the fall of the MQ-9 Reaper. The Russian Su-27 was also damaged but returned to the base. This is reported in the official summary of the US Department of Defense.
The MQ-9 was performing a routine reconnaissance flight in international airspace. Even before the start of the full-scale invasion, NATO reconnaissance planes began to closely patrol the space around the borders of Ukraine and Russia.
“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,” said General James B. Hecker, commander of the U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa.
It is known that the Russians “attacked” this MQ-9 Reaper 19 times. The cost of the destroyed reconnaissance UAV with the corresponding equipment is more than $30 million.
Most likely, the incident will not lead to an escalation of the conflict and the involvement of NATO in it. Ever since the Cold War, dangerous unarmed maneuvers in the air and at sea have become normal practice for Soviet pilots and sailors. Dangerous maneuvering resumed in 2010, after the final establishment of a ruscist regime in Moscow.
Destruction of the MQ-9 Reaper is formally not a downing, because the weapon was not used, but in fact, the Russians got their way, the American UAV was destroyed, and NATO was “humiliated”. If the Russians are not put in their place, they will not stop testing the limits of NATO’s tolerance.
Currently, it is known that the representative of Russia in the United States was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United States for a preventive conversation. In the meantime, the NATO Navy is trying to find the wreckage of the MQ-9 Reaper so that it does not fall into the hands of the Russians.
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper specifications
Crew – 2 at the ground station
Length – 11 m
Wingspan – 20 m
Height – 3.81 m
Empty weight – 2,223 kg
Maximum take-off weight – 4,760 kg
Weight of the fuel – 1,800 kg
Carrying capacity – 1,700 kg
Powerplant – 1 × Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop
Power – 900 hp. (671 kW)
Maximum speed – 482 km/h
Cruising speed – 313 km/h
Range – 1,900 km
Endurance – 14 hours
Maximum operating ceiling – 15,420 m
Working altitude – 7,500 m