The American MQ-9 Reaper drone, which crashed in the Black Sea, took off from its base in Romania on the morning of March 14 to carry out a planned reconnaissance mission. The New York Times writes about it, quoting a senior US military official.
The newspaper’s interlocutor said reconnaissance missions usually lasted 9-10 hours. And, although the MQ-9 Reaper could carry Hellfire missiles, this drone was unarmed. According to the publication, the drone carried out reconnaissance 120 km southwest of Crimea.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone is one of the main elements of the US Air Force, it is used both for surveillance and for attacks, writes the NYT. The unmanned vehicle is capable of reaching speeds of over 400 km/h and flying at an altitude of around 15 km.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., said the MQ-9 Reaper is designed for long missions, with some models able to fly for up to 34 hours.
On the eve of the Russian Defense Ministry reported that on the morning of March 14, over the water zone of the Crimean region, the airspace control means of the Aerospace Forces detected an air vehicle unmanned vehicle heading for the border of the country with the transponders turned off.
To identify the drone, according to the agency, serving air defense force fighters were lifted into the air. “As a result of sudden maneuvers, the US drone entered uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the surface of the water,” the Department of Defense said.
The ministry also stressed that the Russian fighters did not use military weapons against the US drone, did not make contact with it and “returned safely to the airfield of origin”.
The US European Command previously reported that a Russian Su-27 collided with a US drone over the Black Sea, after which the drone fell in international waters.
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