The United States has changed the flight routes of its reconnaissance drones after an MQ-9 Reaper drone collided with a Russian fighter jet over the Black Sea. This limited Washington’s ability to collect intelligence on Ukraine, writing CNN, quoting a senior US military official.
March 21 TV channel citing sources informed that after the incident with the drone, the Americans decided to send their drones further from Crimea, that is, to the south over the Black Sea. According to one of the American officials, such actions are taken in order not to provoke Russia too much and to avoid a direct confrontation between the Russian and American military.
However, the rerouting “definitely limits” the Americans’ ability to collect intelligence related to the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as drone flights over longer distances reduce the quality of information collected, the military official said. .
He noted that spy satellites can compensate for the decline in data quality, but their use also imposes certain limitations, as they are able to observe targets for a shorter period of time than drones.
At the same time, according to one of CNN’s sources, Washington wants to return to routes that pass near Russian-controlled territory.
Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder, “for operational security reasons,” declined to tell the broadcaster if the United States had changed the routes of drone flights.
US drone incident over the Black Sea
On March 14, the United States European Command reported that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. The Pentagon said the plane crashed into a drone, after which the aircraft had to be flooded in international waters.
The Russian Defense Ministry, in turn, said that on the morning of March 14 over the Black Sea in the region of the Crimean Peninsula, airspace control devices registered an American drone that was flying towards the Russian border. To identify the intruder, Su-27 fighters were lifted into the air, and the drone began to maneuver sharply and fell into the water. According to the military department, the Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons and did not come into contact with the drone.
March 22 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reward Courage orders for Su-27 pilots who participated in the MQ-9 intercept operation. The agency noted that the pilots prevented the US drone from violating “the borders of the region of the temporary regime for the use of airspace”, which was established in the context of the military conflict with Ukraine.
However, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby called one of the Russian pilots given the order an “idiot”. “I don’t know of any other army in the world <...> that would reward a pilot for (he) crashed into a drone," Kirby noted. 1CNN, citing sources, reported that the United States, after the incident with the MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea, also plans to analyze the costs and benefits of such missions. According to the chain, Washington will compare "the potential intelligence value of this route with the risk of escalation in relations with Russia".
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