MEDIA ADVISORY: Camera footage release from U.S. Air Force MQ-9 interaction with Russian SU-27 in Black Sea

U.S. European Command released declassified footage of a Russian Su-27 aircraft conducting an unsafe/unprofessional intercept of a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 in international airspace over the Black Sea, March 14, 2023.



By U.S. European Command Public Affairs Germany Mar 16, 2023

STUTTGART, Germany - U.S. European Command released declassified footage of a Russian Su-27 aircraft conducting an unsafe/unprofessional intercept of a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 in international airspace over the Black Sea, March 14. In addition to the footage, a storyboard of the events with declassified stills from the MQ-9 footage is also released.

The following is a summary of 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]

For additional details on the incident, please contact U.S. Air Forces Europe at usafepao.pao@us.af.mil.

(Editor's Note: This declassified video has been edited for length, however, the events are depicted in sequential order.)

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