(JustPatriots.com)- The United States Air Force said on Tuesday that a United States MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down by Russian fighter planes over the Black Sea.
A Military spokesman revealed at a news conference that one of the two Russian planes had clipped the drone’s propeller, causing the Americans to ditch the aircraft in the water.
19FortyFive reports that one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft collided with the MQ-9’s propeller at about 7:03 AM (CET), forcing U.S. troops to compel the UAV to make an emergency landing in international seas.
U.S. Air Force General James V. Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa, said in a statement that the Su-27s “dumped gasoline on and flew in front of the MQ-9 many times in a reckless, ecologically unsound, and unprofessional way” before the crash.
According to Hecker, Russia has shown its “lack of competence” and unprofessionalism in this episode.
The United States and Russia issued contradictory statements, each blaming the other. The Defense Department may ultimately declassify and disclose the crash footage, according to a Military spokeswoman.
On Wednesday, Russian officials said they would attempt to retrieve the drone’s pieces. John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, said that the Reaper had fallen into very deep water and that it was unclear whether or not it could be recovered.
Both the Pentagon and U.S. European Command have claimed that two Russian Su-27 aircraft spilled gasoline on a MQ-9 while it was doing a regular surveillance mission over the Black Sea in international airspace. They said that the Russian planes circled the drone multiple times over the course of 30–40 minutes until one of them “hit the propeller of the MQ-9,” forcing U.S. troops to force the drone to make an emergency landing in international seas.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the US drone crossed into a restricted zone while flying close to the country’s border. Combat aircraft from the Russian military were reportedly sent in an effort to intercept the US drone. According to the report, “the U.S. drone went into erratic flight, lost height, and crashed into the ocean surface after a quick turn.”