The MQ-9 Reaper is a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) that is used by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, and the Royal Air Force. It is primarily used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), as well as for strike missions. The MQ-9 has a wingspan of 66 feet and can fly for up to 27 hours at a time. It is equipped with a variety of sensors, including infrared cameras, synthetic aperture radar, and laser rangefinders, which allow it to perform a wide range of missions. The MQ-9 has been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has also been used in other countries, including Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.
CBS News reported:
A Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, the U.S. military said. U.S. forces brought down the drone in international waters, the U.S. military’s European Command said in a statement, and the White House called the Russian plane’s intercept of the unmanned aircraft “reckless.”
“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” U.S. Air Force General James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa, said in a statement.
“In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash,” Hecker said.
Russian intercepts in the area are common, but this one “is noteworthy because of how unsafe and unprofessional it was, indeed reckless that it was,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists.
Two Russian fighter jets were involved in the incident, European Command said. During what the military called “an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” Tuesday morning, one of the Russian jets struck the drone’s propeller, which led to U.S. forces taking the drone down.