The United States has accused a Russian Su-27 fighter jet of allegedly colliding with one of its Reaper surveillance drones in a recent incident. As per the accusation, the fighter jet caused the drone to crash into the Black Sea. This incident has been a cause of concern for the US military, as it potentially jeopardizes their surveillance capabilities in the region.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as the Reaper drone has become increasingly common in modern warfare, providing valuable intelligence and reconnaissance data to military forces. The incident involving the Russian fighter jet and the US drone highlights the vulnerability of UAVs to hostile actions from opposing forces, as well as the potential for accidents during high-stress military operations.
Will Russia respond?
During a phone conversation on Wednesday, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense chief, informed Lloyd Austin, the US Pentagon boss, that intensified surveillance activities by American drones in the vicinity of Ukraine could result in an escalation of tensions. Shoigu cautioned that if the US continues to conduct intelligence-gathering operations in the region, Russia would respond proportionally to such actions, according to Aljazeera.
Unsurprisingly or not, Russia denied that it deliberately brought down the unmanned aerial vehicle in question.
A statement supposedly coming from the defense ministry and quoting Shoigu says:
It was noted that flights by American strategic lethal drones by the Crimea coastline were provocative in nature and created pre-conditions for an escalation of the situation in the Black Sea zone,
[Russia] has no interest in such a development, but it will continue to respond proportionately to all provocations.
An interesting fact about the Reaper surveillance drone is that it is one of the most heavily armed UAVs in the world. The drone can carry up to four Hellfire missiles, which are air-to-ground missiles used for precision strikes against ground targets. The Reaper can also carry GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, which are capable of destroying armored vehicles and other hardened targets.