A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle drone.InternationalIndiaAfricaEarlier, amid the back-and-forth blame game over the downing of an American MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea near Crimea on March 14, the US Air Force released declassified footage allegedly depicting the encounter. The video does not seem to substantiate the previous US claim about the drone going down due to a collision with the Russian jet.The US military sent another unmanned aerial vehicle, an MQ-9 Reaper drone – the same model as the one that crashed in the Black Sea on Tuesday – shortly after the incident, US media has reported. The UAV was reportedly dispatched in the hopes of surveying the crash site and monitoring Russia’s efforts to recover the wreckage, according to cited American officials.Furthermore, the US is mulling another drone flight over the Black Sea in the coming days, the officials added, echoing earlier statements made by the US State Department, which declared that its drone missions in international airspace would continue.
And at the same time, the incident has prompted the US to “take a close look” at its surveillance drone routes, and is generally conduct an assessment of its drone operations in the Black Sea area, the same US officials were quoted as saying. The media report reveals that the Pentagon, together with its European Command, for all their brazen statements about continuing the drone missions, intends to analyze and weigh overall costs and benefits of such surveillance missions.As part of this assessment, an attempt will purportedly be made to weigh the intelligence value of the particular route, and, accordingly, justify pushing ahead with surveillance flights in an area fraught with further escalation with Russia.While a number of American officials have insisted that the drone’s operators had remotely wiped all sensitive information from the it before it went down in the sea, US media reported on Wednesday that Russia had allegedly recovered some debris, including pieces of fiberglass or small bits of the UAV.WorldUSAF Released Video of Black Sea Drone Being Approached by Russian JetsYesterday, 15:54 GMTThe US MQ-9 Reaper drone fell in the Black Sea after engaging in a sharp maneuvering as Russian fighter jets were scrambled to identify the aircraft flying in the direction of Crimea with its transponders turned off. The fact of the matter is, the US does not recognize Russia’s claim to Crimea, which was reunited with Russia in 2014. In a nationwide referendum held on March 16 that year, more than 95% of the voters in Crimea and Sevastopol were in favor of reunification with Russia after decades of severance. The US stance means that it does not recognize any claim regarding the establishment of no-fly zones by Russia in support of its ongoing military operations against Ukraine.Referring to Tuesday’s incident, the Russian Defense Ministry said a Su-27 fighter jet had been scrambled to follow an unidentified MQ-9 Reaper drone moving toward the Russian border. The US unmanned aerial vehicle fell in international waters in the Black Sea, off the coast of Crimea, as a result of engaging in sharp maneuvering. The Russian aircraft sent to intercept it did not come into contact with the drone, nor did they use weapons against it, the Russian Defense Ministry explained. However, the US European Command claimed the Russian jet had struck the drone’s propeller during an “unsafe and unprofessional intercept,” which resulted in its fall. Sputnik ExplainsFrom Raven to Coyote: How Many Military Drones Does the US Have?15 March, 13:56 GMT