An American MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle intercepted by Russian fighters over the Black Sea was not carrying weapons. This statement was made on Tuesday by The New York Times, citing a source from among senior Pentagon officials.
“While the drones known as the Reaper are capable of carrying Hellfire missiles, this craft was not armed and was on a reconnaissance mission 75 miles (about 120 km) southwest of Crimea,” – writes the publication, citing a source.
According to a Pentagon spokesman, the device took off on Tuesday morning from an air base in Romania. Typically, such reconnaissance missions last 9-10 hours, said the source of The New York Times.
Earlier Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman General of the US Air Force Patrick Ryder confirmed at a briefing that an American UAV over the Black Sea was carrying out a reconnaissance mission. However, he did not specify whether the drone was carrying a weapon.
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the means of control of the Russian Aerospace Forces recorded on Tuesday morning the flight of an MQ-9 in the region of the Crimean peninsula, it moved in violation of the boundaries of the area of the temporary regime for the use of airspace established for the purpose of conducting a military defense. As clarified in the department, the flight was carried out with the transponders turned off. The ministry added that the drone, as a result of sharp maneuvering, went into uncontrolled flight with a loss of altitude and collided with the water surface. The ministry emphasized that the Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons, did not come into contact with the drone and returned safely to their base airfield.
The MQ-9 Reaper is a modular reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. It is equipped with a turboprop engine that allows it to reach speeds of over 400 km/h. The maximum duration of the drone flight is 24 hours. It is capable of carrying air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles, as well as laser-guided bombs.
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