“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,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa.
Prior to the collision, two Russian aircraft harassed the drone, he said.
“Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner,” the statement added.
Two Sukhoi Su-27 fighters perform during celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Russian air force base of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Kant, about 20 km outside Bishkek on October 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO / VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO (Photo credit should read VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP via Getty Images)
Vyacheslav Oseledko | Afp | Getty Images
The incident “demonstrates a lack of competence” by Russia, the European Command said. The U.S> called the behavior “unsafe and unprofessional,” and part of a pattern of dangerous behavior by Russian pilots.
The MQ-9 Reaper drone system is designed to collect intelligence and carry out reconnaissance missions and is manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.
The remotely piloted system can carry a combination of Hellfire missiles, Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and Laser Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
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