On Thursday, the Military released a video of a Russian aircraft dumping fuel on a U.S. aircraft.
Above the Black Sea, an Air Force surveillance drone was clipped by its propeller while flying in international territory.
According to the Pentagon, the 42-second video depicts a Russian Su-27 approaching the MQ-9 drone’s rear and starting to discharge fuel as it passes. Dumping the fuel seems intended to disable its optical equipment and force it to flee the region.
The U.S. military claims that during a second approach, the same jet or a different Russian fighter following the MQ-9 hit the drone’s propeller, breaking one blade.
According to the U.S. military, the Russian aircraft made a dangerous attempt to intercept the uncrewed aerial vehicle; therefore, it decided to abandon the MQ-9 Reaper in the water.
The Pentagon’s video sample does not show what happened before or following the suspected fuel-dumping altercation.
The destruction of the US drone following the run-in with Russian fighter jets has been discussed with their Russian counterparts by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
The conversations on Wednesday were the first since October with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian
General Staff Chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov.
Although intercept attempts are routine, there are concerns that the occurrence during the Ukrainian conflict could push the US and Russia closer to a confrontation.
The incident’s significance was highlighted because top defense and military officials from the two nations spoke just after the contact over the Black Sea.
Shoigu accused the United States of inciting the situation by disobeying the Kremlin’s flight restrictions due to its military operations in Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry’s report on the contact with Austin.
The “intensification of intelligence efforts against the interests of the Russian Federation” was another reason Russia gave.
The Russian Defense Ministry warned that such U.S. measures “are fraught with aggravation of the situation in the Black Sea area” and that Moscow “would respond in kind to such provocations.”
The 66-foot (20-meter) wingspan MQ-9 features satellite gear and a ground control center. Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon official, would not confirm if the drone that was dropped had been armed even though it could carry weapons.
According to a Pentagon spokesperson, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the event happened at 7:03 in the morning.
After the Russian jets had flown above the drone for 30 to 40 minutes, Central European time (0603 GMT; 2:03 a.m. EST), over international waters and far from Ukraine.
Ryder continued that there didn’t seem to be any communication between the planes before the crash.
According to a statement from Air Forces-Europe, the U.S. and Russia have not found the wrecked drone hasn’t, and Ryder agreed.
Officials from Russia declared on Wednesday that they would try to recover MQ-9 pieces from the Black Sea.
Officials from the United States have not ruled out the prospect of trying to salvage some of the $32 million downed drone, which they claim fell into 4,000 to 5,000 feet (1,200 to 1,500 meters) of water.
Other US officials stated that since there are no American military vessels in the area, no efforts will probably be made to recover the wreckage.
If Russia can recover the debris, they expressed confidence that nothing of military importance will still be aboard the drone.
U.S. military releases video showing a Russian Su-27 fighter jet colliding with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone above the Black Sea earlier this week. pic.twitter.com/4wrHauzObC
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) March 16, 2023