Russian aircraft takes big fat fuel dump on US drone in newly-released footage

The US Pentagon has released the footage of a Russian aircraft taking a big fat fuel dump on a US surveillance drone. The footage shows the drone’s propeller was also clipped leaving it to come crashing down into the Black Sea.

According to Khaosod English, the incident took place in international airspace. The 42-second video shows a Russian Su-27 coming up on the back of the MQ-9 Reaper drone. It then shows the aircraft dumping fuel as it passes, apparently aiming to blind the drone’s optical instruments and drive it out of the area.

The US military says the video shows another aircraft, or possibly the same one, striking the drone’s propeller, damaging one blade.

It then says the Russian fighter jet attempted to make an unsafe intercept of the drone, leaving the US to ditch the drone into the sea.

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The incident raised concerns that it could bring the two countries closer to conflict, amid the already controversial war in Ukraine. The two countries’ top defence and military leaders quickly talked about the incident, further emphasizing the seriousness of the incident.

For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry accused the US of provoking the incident by ignoring flight restrictions that the Kremlin had imposed due to its “military operations” in Ukraine.

As the drone is capable of carrying ammunition, the US has not specified whether it was armed. In response, Russia said it “will respond in kind to all provocations” and then blamed such surveillance measures as being “against the interests of the Russian Federation.”

The US says it has not recovered the crashed drone but has left open the possibility. The US$32 million drone crashed into waters that were 1,200 to 1,500 metres deep. Russia has also expressed that the idea to salvage the drone pieces was not out of the question.

But, the US says there would be nothing left of military value if Russia, indeed, intercepted pieces of the drone.


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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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