pilots’ behavior ‘unsafe and unprofessional’

By Liz Friden , Timothy H.J. Nerozzi 

A Russian Su-27 jet collided with a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea Tuesday, a U.S. defense official told Fox News.

The jet in question was one of two Su-27’s flying in tandem when the collision occurred in international airspace over international waters. The propeller to the drone was damaged and the drone landed in the Black Sea, west of Crimea, the U.S. defense official told Fox News. 

An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is parked in a hanger at Creech Air Force Base on Nov. 17, 2015, in Indian Springs, Nevada.  (Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)

The Russian Su-27 was headed toward Crimea and landed there after this incident, the official added. It is unknown if there was any damage to the Su-27. 

U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces Europe issued a statement on the incident in which they reported the events leading up to the collision and admonished the Russian military for “a pattern of dangerous actions” in international airspace.

The statement reads, “At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. 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. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional.”

A Russian Su-27 fighter as seen in this handout photo. (Reuters)

“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,” the statement warned.

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“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 Gen. James B. Hecker, Commander, USAFE-AF. “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 continued.

By don

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