On Tuesday, March 14, a Russian jet collided with a large American drone. Russia denied that its Su-27 fighter jet clipped the propeller of the drone. However, the United States made public a video that appears to back up the allegations.
The administration of President Joe Biden released a video on March 16 showing the Russian plane approaching the MQ-9 Reaper drone from behind. Suddenly, the Russian jet dumps fuel on the drone, ostensibly to blind its optical instruments.
Another plane approached after the jet had dumped its fuel. It’s unclear whether it was the same jet that made the initial contact or another. That one hit the drone’s propeller and damaged it. The collision is not shown in the video, but the damage is. After that, the US military decided to let the drone crash into the Black Sea.
US Air Force has released the MQ-9 camera footage of the Russian Su-27 Black Sea interception 2 days ago.— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) March 16, 2023
Flightradar24 didn't track the drone involved. pic.twitter.com/ZOSddEnIXq
According to the Associated Press, Russia claimed that its jet did not collide with the drone and that it crashed on its own. The Biden Administration stated that it was unable to determine whether or not the collision was intentional. The Russian Defense Ministry accused the United States of ignoring flight restrictions imposed as a result of its war in Ukraine. US officials denied the claims, claiming that the drone was flying in international airspace.
Russian vessels rushed to the scene of the drone crash, most likely to collect debris for intelligence purposes. According to Fox News, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley stated on Wednesday that the unmanned aerial vehicle was most likely deep in the water at the time. The depth of the Black Sea in that area ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 feet.
According to John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, the military has taken steps to “protect [America’s] equities.” He stated that they do not want anyone “aside from the US government” to have access to the information.