A Russian fighter jet harassed and then collided with a U.S. drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday.
The Reaper drone and two SU-27 Flanker jets were operating over international waters over the Black Sea when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of and dumped fuel in front of the unmanned drone, according to the official.
One of the jets then damaged the propeller of the Reaper, which is mounted on the rear of the drone, the official said.
At about 7 a.m., one of the jets struck the drone’s propeller, forcing the U.S. to bring it down.
“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 of 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.”
The incident marks the first time Russian and US military aircraft have come into direct contact since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.