The US today released a minute-long declassified video footage of an armed Russian Su-27 aircraft conducting what it called "an unsafe/unprofessional intercept" of a US Air Force MQ-9 in international airspace over the Black Sea on March 14.
The footage, posted on Twitter by the US European Command, shows the Russian jet approaching the rear of the US Air Force MQ-9 unmanned drone, which begins to release fuel as it passes over it. The video transmission abruptly stops just as the Russian jet passes by. The propeller of the drone can be seen intact, and the Russian jet begins a second approach towards it seconds later. It releases fuel over it again, while passing by even closer this time. One of the propellers could be seen damaged after the second manoeuvre.
VIDEO: Two #Russian Su-27s conducted an unsafe & unprofessional intercept w/a @usairforce intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance unmanned MQ-9 operating w/i international airspace over the #BlackSea March 14. https://t.co/gMbKYNtIeQ@HQUSAFEAFAF@DeptofDefense@NATOpic.twitter.com/LB3BzqkBpY— U.S. European Command (@US_EUCOM) March 16, 2023
The Russian fighter jet had on Tuesday dumped fuel on the American drone and then collided with it, causing the drone to crash, the US military had said, slamming the manoeuvre as "reckless".
The US military had said that "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."
Moscow had denied causing the crash of the drone, which the Pentagon said was on a routine ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) mission.
"As a result of a sharp manoeuvre... the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle entered an uncontrolled flight with loss of altitude and collided with the surface of the water," the Russian Defence Ministry said, adding that the two Russian jets had no contact with the US aircraft and did not use their weapons.