The Daily Retina
This morning, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with a US MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone over the Black Sea. The aircraft struck the drone’s propellors, and US forces brought the Reaper down in international waters.
US general James Hecker said the drone was conducting ‘routine operations’ when two Russian jets ‘dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner’. He also said that ‘this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash’.
The collision follows some close shaves: John Kirby of the US National Security Council said that ‘in recent weeks, there have been other intercepts but this one is noteworthy because of how unsafe and professional it was’.
The US said that ‘these aggressive actions by Russian aircrew are dangerous and could lead to miscalculation and unintended escalation’. Joe Biden and Nato members were briefed about the incident earlier. Moscow is yet to comment.
This is not the first time Russian pilots have acted provocatively around western aircraft. A Russian Su-27 fighter jet fired a missile near an unarmed Royal Air Force plane during its routine patrol over the Black Sea on 29 September last year. Back then, Ben Wallace described the incident as a ‘potentially dangerous engagement’ and said it did show the Russian military is ‘not beyond’ deciding ‘the rules don’t apply to them’.
The collision occurred in international waters, but it’s a close shave that both sides would do well to learn from.
More to come.
Source: World – The Spectator Australia