2 Russian Fighter Jets Mess With, Damage US Drone

One struck MQ-9 Reaper drone's propeller, forcing it down in international waters
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2023 12:45 PM CDT
2 Russian Fighter Jets Mess With, Damage US Drone
The rear-located propeller of a US MQ-9 Reaper drone was struck by a Russia fighter jet.   (Getty Images / rancho_runner)

The US military says it was forced to bring down an Air Force drone in international waters on Tuesday after a Russian fighter jet struck its propeller while harassing the spy drone. The incident happened over the Black Sea, with US European Command issuing a statement that said two Russian Su-27 fighter jets "conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept," per the AP. Prior to the MQ-9 Reaper drone's propeller being struck, the Su-27s dumped fuel on it and flew in front it in "a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional," per the statement.

  • CNN gives context: "Russian and US aircraft have operated over the Black Sea during the course of the war, but this is the first known such interaction, a potentially dangerous escalation at a critical time in the fighting."
  • NBC News has the perspective of Air Force Gen. James B. Hecker, commander of US Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa: "US and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely."
(More Russia stories.)

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