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US Drone's Flight Near Crimea Could Aim to Test Russian Air Defenses - Military Analyst

CC0 / / U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk
U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.06.2024
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The US has flown its reconnaissance drones over the Black Sea more than once, with the Russian Foreign Ministry warning of possible retaliation if the UAVs violate Russia’s airspace.
The US­­-made Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is specifically designed to track down targets, Dmitry Drozdenko, a military analyst and chief editor of the Fatherland Arsenal Internet portal, told Sputnik when commenting on information about such a drone flying over neutral waters of the Black Sea near Russia's Crimean Peninsula for a second day in a row.
He explained that the drone earlier turned off its transponder, a control device that picks up and automatically responds to an incoming signal, something that he said resulted in the UAV temporarily vanishing from the Flightradar24 tracking website.

Drozdenko also suggested that the Global Hawk changing its route on Tuesday could indicate the UAV’s "provocative attempt to uncover Russian air defense systems in this area" to help the Ukrainian Army subsequently strike them.

The Utyos stationary coastal missile system launches a P-35 cruise missile during the Black Sea Fleet's tactical drill in Crimea - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2024
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The analyst added that no actions against the drone are expected because it remains in international waters, but when it comes to rationale, the UAV should have been shot down.

According to Flightradar24 data, the Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk is currently tracked southeast of Crimea at an altitude of about 16.7 kilometers. On June 4, the drone briefly left the area for Romanian airspace before flying back.

Flying reconnaissance drones to the Black Sea has not been uncommon for the US in the past amid Russia’s warnings of retaliation. Last year, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that a US MQ-9 drone fell in the Black Sea after engaging in sharp maneuvering and that fighter jets scrambled to intercept the UAV but did not use weapons against the drone, which flew towards the Russian border.
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