US deploys another drone to Black Sea despite recent incident
RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (Photo:US Air Force/flickr)
The United States has dispatched another reconnaissance drone towards Russia-occupied Crimea on March 17, according to aircraft tracking website Flightradar.
According to the data, a RQ-4 Global Hawk drone bearing call sign FORTE10 entered airspace over the Black Sea. According to a post in Crimea Reality Telegram channel, ran by Radio Liberty, the drone departed from Sigonella Air Base in Italy, and subsequently circled in Romanian airspace.
The U.S. European Command for Armed Forces has released a statement confirming that on the morning of March 14, two Russian Su-27 fighter jets conducted an unsafe interception of an MQ-9 Reaper drone engaged in routine operations over international airspace in the Black Sea.
The incident resulted in one of the Su-27s colliding with the drone's propeller, forcing the operators to make an emergency landing at sea.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense claims that they “did not come into contact” with the drone, and that it went into an “uncontrolled descent” with “loss of altitude” following some “abrupt maneuvers.” However, the United States has countered these claims by releasing a video on March 16, disproving Moscow’s account of the encounter.
Following the incident, U.S. State Department has summoned the Russian ambassador to address the situation. According to the Pentagon, the Su-27 fighter may have been damaged during the attack on the drone. To prevent the MQ-9 Reaper from being acquired by unauthorized parties and to minimize its intelligence value, the United States has taken appropriate measures. However, the White House has expressed uncertainty about the possibility of recovering the drone.
According to a CNN report, the United States remotely wiped sensitive data from the MQ-9 Reaper drone before it crashed into the water, preventing Russia from potentially retrieving any valuable intelligence from it.
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