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Russian Fighter Jet Dumping Fuel, Colliding with US Drone

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a Russian Su-27 collides with the MQ-9 and the MQ-9’s camera feed is lost for approximately 60 seconds. (Photo: Twitter)

Amid heightened tensions, Russia said that it would react “proportionately” to any future US “provocations”

The US has released a video of Russian fighter jets intercepting its drone over the Black Sea, causing it to crash earlier this week.

US European Command released declassified 42-second footage of a Russian Su-27 aircraft conducting an “unsafe/unprofessional intercept” of a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 in international airspace over the Black Sea, March 14. In addition to the footage,

According to a storyboard of the events with declassified stills from the MQ-9 footage, a Russian Su-27 collides with the MQ-9 and the MQ-9’s camera feed is lost for approximately 60 seconds.

A Russian fighter jet clipped the propeller of a US surveillance drone making it crash over the Black Sea on March 14 and triggering a US diplomatic protest and raising concerns about the possibility Russia could recover sensitive technology.

ALSO READ: Russian Jet Forces Down US Drone Over Black Sea; All About MQ-9 Reaper and Sukhoi Su-27 | Explained

The Pentagon said two Russian Su-27 aircraft dumped fuel on the MQ-9, which was conducting a routine surveillance mission over the Black Sea in international airspace. They said the Russian jets flew around and in front of the drone several times for 30 to 40 minutes and then one of the Russian aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing the MQ-9 fall in international waters.

However, the Russian defence ministry said that Moscow “views this incident as a provocation” involving a US MQ-9 drone and Russian Su-27 fighter jet.

Following the incident, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke to his US counterpart Lloyd Austin.

“At the initiative of the American side, telephone talks were held between Russian Defence Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin,” the Russian defence ministry said without providing further details.

Meanwhile, Russia said that it would react “proportionately” to any future US “provocations”. “Flights of American strategic unmanned aerial vehicles off the coast of Crimea are provocative in nature, which creates pre-conditions for an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea zone,” the Russian defence ministry said.

“Russia is not interested in such a development of events, but it will continue to respond proportionately to all provocations.”

WHAT HAPPENED on March 14?

Two Russian Su-27 jets carried out a reckless intercept of the American spy drone while flying in international air space, according to the US. It said the Russian fighter jets dumped fuel on the MQ-9 – possibly trying to blind or damage it – and flew in front of it in unsafe manoeuvres.

After around 30 to 40 minutes, at 7:03 am (0603 GMT), one of the jets then collided with the drone, causing it to crash, the US military said. Russia has not recovered the drone and the jet was likely damaged, the Pentagon said.

Russia’s defence ministry denied that its aircraft had come into contact with the American drone, which it said had crashed after “sharp manoeuvring”. It said the drone had been detected near the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

“The Russian fighters did not use their onboard weapons, did not come into contact with the UAV and returned safely to their home airfield,” the defence ministry said.

The accounts of the incident in the Black Sea, which is bordered by Russia and Ukraine among other countries, could not be independently verified.


The MQ-9 Reaper is a large unmanned aircraft (UAV) that is remotely operated by a two-person team. Manufactured by General Atomics, it includes a ground control station and satellite equipment and has a 66-foot (20-meter) wingspan.

The team includes a rated pilot who flies the aircraft and an enlisted aircrew member who is charged with operating the sensors and guiding weapons.

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