Russian Su-35 damages USAF MQ-9 Reaper propeller over Syria: video

U.S. Air Forces Central

A Russian Su-35 fighter intercepted a USAF MQ-9 Reaper drone over Syria and damaged its propeller by releasing flares. 

The incident took place during a “defeat-ISIS mission” on July 23, 2023, according to the US Air Forces Central (AFCENT).

“One of the Russian flares struck the U.S. MQ-9, severely damaging its propeller,” CENTCOM said in a press release. “Fortunately, the MQ-9 crew was able to maintain flight and safely recover the aircraft to its home base.” 

Both the United States and France have reported an increase in reckless and aggressive Russian air force behavior in the Middle East, a phenomenon that AFCENT suggested could be a compensatory strategy linked to the Ukraine crisis

“The Russian fighter’s blatant disregard for flight safety detracts from our mission to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS. We call upon the Russian forces in Syria to put an immediate end to this reckless, unprovoked, and unprofessional behavior,” AFCENT concluded. 

A similar interaction between a USAF MQ-9 Reaper and two Russian Su-27 fighters over the Black Sea in May 2023 led to the crash of the drone. 

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