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US Account of Black Sea Incident Unrealistic as Su-27 Would Have Sustained Serious Damages - Expert

© Sputnik / Vitaly Timkiv / Go to the mediabankSukhoi Su-27 multipurpose fighter
Sukhoi Su-27 multipurpose fighter - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.03.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The US account of events surrounding the fall of an American drone into the Black Sea after an encounter with a Russian fighter jet is unrealistic, as the Su-27 would have suffered considerable damage if it had hit the MQ-9 Reaper drone, French military expert Xavier Moreau told Sputnik.
"The Russian SU-27 fighter could not have hit the American MQ-9 drone," Moreau said. "The Reaper drone has a significant mass: about 4.5 tons. Its force of inertia is enormous and makes it very difficult to overturn it."
"It is a safe bet that the Russian fighter that would have tried to physically destabilize the Reaper with its aircraft body or wings, would have put itself in absolute danger. The wings also contain fuel. And taking the drone from behind – as the US suggests – is almost impossible," the expert underscored.
"The nose of a hunter-fighter plane is stuffed with fragile electronics, such as radar, pitot tubes, etc. under a hood in composite materials or polyester. It cannot be used to ram into an aircraft. The US version is simply impossible."
The expert believes that the drone could have crashed as a result of the use of electronic warfare by the Russian military, or its genuine malfunction.
He also finds it strange that the US military has published neither drone footage nor satellite photos, whereas the Russian military published video footage of the encounter showing that the US drone was equipped with the Gorgon Stare advanced surveillance system, which is possibly the true cause of the US's "overreaction."
Airman 1st Class Steven (left) and Airman 1st Class Taylor prepare an MQ-9 Reaper for flight during exercise Combat Hammer, May 15, 2014, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Reaper crews flew a week-long mission, where they released the GBU-12 Paveway II and AGM-114 Hellfire munitions. Steven and Taylor are MQ-9 Reaper crew chiefs from the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.03.2023
What Message Does Black Sea Reaper Crash Send About US Spying Missions and Double Standards?
"The US refused to deliver it [Gorgon Stare] to Ukraine, for fear of seeing it falling in the hands of the Russian army. Russia has retrieved parts of the downed drone, it seems, and could study its new system. That is maybe what explains the American overreaction," Moreau said.
Moreau also believes that this incident will not lead to an escalation between the countries, even though Washington has repeatedly used such cases to start conflicts. He cited the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which led to the rapid escalation of US military involvement in the Vietnam War, and the bogus discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which Washington used as a pretext to start its invasion.
"The American MQ-9 Reaper destruction will probably be limited to a diplomatic incident with strong statements from both sides and no military retaliation on the part of the US. No one has any interest in an extreme rise in tensions," Moreau concluded.

The Russian Defense Ministry explained earlier Tuesday that a Su-27 fighter had been scrambled to follow an unidentified MQ-9 Reaper drone, which was moving toward the Russian border and ended up falling in the Black Sea as a result of sharp maneuvering. The ministry stressed the Russian jet neither communicated with the drone nor used force against it.

The US European Command, on the other hand, claimed the Russian jet had struck the drone's propeller during an "unsafe and unprofessional intercept," which resulted in its fall. The US is now trying to retrieve the drone's debris.

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