The U.S. has released declassified footage of the U.S. Reaper drone that crashed after colliding with Russian jets. It was reported that the two Russian Su-27 jets were toying with the unmanned drone. In the video, you can see the Russian fighter planes dumping jet fuel on the MQ-9 reaper drone.
BREAKING: U.S. military releases dramatic declassified video taken by MQ-9 Reaper drone that shows the moment that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet collided with it after attempting to spray the drone with jet fuel. https://t.co/XGoVQN7ppJ pic.twitter.com/X9vH6qtFGf
— ABC News (@ABC) March 16, 2023
The MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used primarily by the United States Air Force for surveillance and strike missions. The cost of an MQ-9 Reaper drone varies depending on the configuration and equipment, but generally, a fully equipped Reaper costs around $64 million. This includes the drone itself, ground control equipment, and support systems.
The cost of operating the drone over its lifetime can be much higher than the initial purchase price, as it requires regular maintenance, fuel, and trained personnel to operate and maintain it. However, the MQ-9 Reaper is considered one of the most cost-effective unmanned aerial systems for its capabilities, as it can perform a wide range of missions and has a long flight time of up to 27 hours.
The act of Russian Su-27s dumping jet fuel on a drone in a flyby is a dangerous and provocative action. It is unclear why the Russian pilots did this, but it could be interpreted as an attempt to interfere with or disable the drone, which could have serious implications for political relations between the two countries.
The act of dumping jet fuel on a drone during flight could potentially cause a fire or explosion, which could be catastrophic for both the drone and any nearby aircraft. Additionally, the fumes from the fuel could have an impact on the environment and human health if they were to be released in a populated area.
The incident in question is not an isolated one, and there have been multiple incidents of similar provocations and unsafe maneuvers by both Russian and NATO forces in recent years. While these incidents have not led to a major escalation of conflict, they do highlight the potential for misunderstandings and miscalculations that could lead to more serious incidents in the future.
Incidents like this can certainly put pressure on the Biden administration to take a strong stance against Russia, particularly if there are concerns about Russian aggression towards US military assets or personnel.