USAF MQ-9 Video of Russian Su-27 Black Sea Intercept March 14 2023 (SOURCE: US Air Force declassified video edited for length with events depicted in sequential order). YouTube Tips ⓘ
The U.S.. European Command on Thursday, March 16, 2023 released video from an unmanned MQ-9 aircraft showing captured images of a Russian intercept over international waters of the Black Sea.
According to the U.S. European Command, two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft operating within international airspace over the Black Sea on March 14, 2023. Russian Su-27s dumped fuel upon and struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters.
Plume from Su-27 is jet fuel dump.
Two Russian Su-27 aircraft conducted an unsafe and unprofessional intercept with a U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 aircraft that was operating within international airspace over the Black Sea, on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, which required U.S. forces to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on the MQ-9 and then flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.
“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 B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”
“U.S. and Allied aircraft will continue to operate in international airspace and we call on the Russians to conduct themselves professionally and safely,” Hecker added.
This incident follows a pattern of dangerous actions by Russian pilots while interacting with U.S. and Allied aircraft over international airspace, including over the Black Sea. These aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa routinely fly aircraft throughout Europe over sovereign territory and throughout international airspace in coordination with applicable host nation and international laws. In order to bolster collective European defense and security, these missions support Allied, partner, and U.S. national objectives.
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The Black Sea is located south of Ukraine, southwest of Russia and north of Turkey.