The United States Air Force released footage recorded by the MQ-9 Reaper drone that was intercepted by two Russian Su-27 fighters and eventually brought down by one of them.
On March 14, 2023, a patrol of two Russian Su-27 Flankers intercepted a USAF MQ-9 Reaper drone conducting an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission within international airspace over the Black Sea.
The footage confirms the events previously reported by the US European Command. One of the Su-27 aircraft can be seen performing a close pass near the drone, dumping fuel on it. Another pass results in a collision, damaging the UAV’s propeller. The Reaper eventually crashed into international waters.
The USAF also provided a summary of the events seen in the video:
- 00:00: [Start of video] A Russian Su-27 approaches to the rear of the U.S. Air Force MQ-9.
- 00:05: A Russian Su-27 begins to release fuel as it passes.
- 00:09 A Russian Su-27 passes over the U.S. Air Force MQ-9 while releasing fuel. As the Su-27 passes over the top of the MQ-9, it also disrupts the video transmission.
- 00:11: The propeller of the U.S. Air Force MQ-9 can be seen and remains undamaged.
- 00:22: A Russian Su-27 begins a second approach toward the MQ-9.
- 00:27: A Russian Su-27 begins to release fuel on the approach toward the
- MQ-9. The Su-27 proceeds to pass even closer.
- 00:29: A Russian Su-27 collides with the MQ-9 and the MQ-9’s camera feed is lost for approximately 60 seconds.
- 00:39: The MQ-9’s camera feed has returned to working order. At this time the propeller can be seen again and one of the props can be seen damaged.
- 00:42: [End of video]
Contradicting the version of the US European Command, the Russian Ministry of Defense previously stated that the fighters did not come into contact with the MQ-9 drone.