DOD Says “Total Loss” After “Reckless” Russian Jets Collide With USAF Drone Over Black Sea

 March 15, 2023

On Tuesday, after a pair of Russian fighter jets flew dangerously close to the aircraft, dumping fuel onto the drone and striking its propeller, a U.S. drone was lost over international waters over the Black Sea.

An unmanned aerial surveillance and attack drone, an MQ-9 ‘Reaper’ drone, was lost over the Black Sea according to the U.S. European Command (EUCOM). U.S. Air Forces, Europe, blamed the loss, on what amounted to an attack by Russian fighter jets. According to an account of the interaction leading to the loss, of the U.S. drone, no weapons were fired in the confrontation.

Reportedly, two Russian Sukhoi 27 fighter jets used an unconventional means to push the aircraft out of the sky. EUCOM said of the incident:

 “Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept… 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”.


In the EUCOM statement, the Russians were accused of being “unsafe and unprofessional”, and furthermore that their tactics were “environmentally unsound”. This accusation is based on the fact that, the USAF says, the Russian fighters at times flew directly in front of the drone and dumped jet fuel into its path.

Gen. James B. Hecker, U.S. Air Force, Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa said the drone was on “routine operations” at the time of the intercept, when the strike on the propeller caused a “total loss”. He added that the collision between the Russian jet and the U.S. drone nearly caused the loss of both aircraft. Hecker added-

“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,”

-Gen. James B. Hecker, U.S. Air Force

Russian state media has reported the United States’ statement in terms of being alleged, claims, and accusations.

However, the Russian government has yet to release their own statement on the incident.

“Aircraft do not crash of themselves. They come to grief because men are foolish, or vain, or lazy, or irresolute or reckless. One crash in a thousand may be unavoidable because God wills it so - not more than that.”

-Nevil Shute
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