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Post: “They didn’t expect that.” Russia puts the US ahead of an option


American drone MQ-9 Reaper. archive photo

MOSCOW, March 16 – RIA Novosti, David Narmania. Americans fear the fate of the MQ-9 Reaper (“Reaper”) drone that crashed into the Black Sea: military technology may fall into the “wrong hands.” Also, the Pentagon will apparently reconsider its tactics in the region. This poses a problem for Washington’s allies. About the unexpected consequences of the event – in the material of RIA Novosti.

“Environmentally harmful activities”

According to the US military department, two warplanes intercepted the UAV in international airspace. At 09:03 Moscow time, one of the planes allegedly crashed into the MQ-9 propeller, causing the drone to sink in neutral waters. “Several times before the collision, fuel was poured into the Su-27 and flew in a reckless, environmentally dangerous and unprofessional way,” the Pentagon said. Said.

CBS television channel presented a simulated version of the drone crash.

It was promised that the video from the drone cameras would be released after it was declassified.

The Russian version is different. The Ministry of Defense emphasizes: the UAV acted with the transponders turned off. Moreover, it entered an area closed to flights.

“The fighters of the air defense forces on duty were lifted into the air to identify the person who entered the airspace. As a result of the sharp maneuver made at around 09:30 (Moscow time), the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle went into an uncontrolled flight. loss of altitude and collided with the water surface. The Russian fighters did not use airborne weapons, did not touch the drone, and returned safely to the main airspace.”

not cause for war

Immediately after the incident in the Black Sea, Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and protested. The diplomat described the incident as a US provocation and called for an end to flights close to Russia’s borders.

Analysts believe that Americans will act more carefully in the future. “This will affect their piloting program – they will no longer send drones too close to us. The Americans have a Global Hawk that can scout farther from our borders. Unlike the Reaper,” military expert Alexei Leonkov explains. ” Who knew his real plans: what if he were to attack Sevastopol? If this happens again, it may have to be shot down by our air defense forces in the Crimea. At such a distance, the Buk-M2 or Buk-M3 air defense systems will capture him.

Anti-aircraft missile system Buk-M2 - RIA Novosti, 1920, 15.03.2023
Anti-aircraft missile system “Buk-M2”. archive photo

According to the expert, the incident cannot be qualified as an excuse to declare war. But American analyst Stephen Collinson even claims in an article on CNN that Ukraine will be harmed by the event.

He believes what happened will be a point of contention for Republicans who criticize aid to Kiev. They have repeatedly argued that the arms supply brought the third world war closer and threatened US national security.

started to be more careful

And if theoretically possible changes in Washington’s foreign policy will take time, then the military’s behavior over the Black Sea has already changed.

Immediately after the incident, the UH-60M Black Hawk transport helicopter and Boeing P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft were lifted from airports in Europe. The MQ-9 headed for the crash site, but none of them left Romanian airspace.

The next day, two more “Black Hawks” patrolled the Black Sea coast without leaving the country’s borders.

Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk, archive photo - RIA Novosti, 1920, 15.03.2023
Sikorsky UH-60. archive photo

It is noteworthy that American drones play an important role in ensuring the combat capability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It is they, along with the satellites, who gather intelligence on the Russian troops. Drones circled in the air during all of Kiev’s resounding actions, from the attack on the Moscow cruiser to the attacks on Sevastopol.

At the same time, US activity in the Black Sea region has been attracting attention for a long time – at least since 2014. The equipment allows the MQ-9 to stay in the air for nine to ten hours, the RQ-4 Global Hawk can fly for up to a day and a half. Washington uses them for reconnaissance all along Russia’s southern coast, from the Crimea to the Krasnodar Territory. And since last February he has been actively sharing information with Kiev.

for war and exploration

“Reaper” is one of the most “running” reconnaissance and attack aircraft. He enlisted in the military in the mid-2000s.

The cost of each such UAV, together with ground control stations, reaches $ 56.5 million. You can hang various weapons on it.

At the same time, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder, in a briefing after the incident, declined to answer whether this particular device was armed. And he ensured that the equipment was used for reconnaissance purposes. Similarly, the publication said, referring to “high-ranking officials”: New York Times and GIS. True, the latter modeled a version of events depicting a UAV with suspended GBU-12 bombs.

Anti-aircraft missile and weapons complex (ZRPK) Pantsir-S1 Russian Aerospace Forces at the field airfield - RIA Novosti, 1920, 03/15/2023
Anti-aircraft missile and weapon system (ZRPK) “Pantsir-S1” at the field airfield of the Russian Aerospace Forces. archive photo

The history of the combat use of “Reapers” is rich. The most high-profile incident was the airstrike on Baghdad International Airport in January 2020 that killed Qassem Soleimani, the special forces unit commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Similarly, the drone was used in neighboring Syria.

Reapers also flew over Libya. As the media wrote, in 2019 one of the drones was shot down by the crew of the Russian Pantsir-S1. But American officials did not mention it.

And now the Pentagon says “nothing has changed” – American planes will continue to operate “wherever international law allows.” True, the military is faced with a much more pressing task: finding the wreckage. Or make sure they don’t get rivals.

According to Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Russia is already looking for the fallen Reaper. Earlier only relics fell into the hands of our army. There is now a unique opportunity to examine a nearly undamaged specimen.

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Source: Ria

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