A Russian fighter jet flew inside just a few meters of a US drone over Syria and fired flares at it, putting the American plane and damaging it, the most recent in a string of aggressive intercepts by Russia within the area.
A senior air pressure commander mentioned the Russians tried on Sunday to knock the MQ-9 Reaper drone out of the sky. It got here only a week after a Russian fighter jet flew dangerously near a US surveillance plane carrying a crew within the area, jeopardizing the lives of the 4 Individuals on board.
“One of many Russian flares struck the US MQ-9, severely damaging its propeller,” Lt Gen Alex Grynkewich, the top of US Air Forces Central, mentioned in a press release on Tuesday. “We name upon the Russian forces in Syria to place an instantaneous finish to this reckless, unprovoked and unprofessional habits.”
Grynkewich mentioned one of many crew members working the drone remotely saved it within the air and flew it again to its residence base.
The Sunday incident is the most recent in a collection of encounters between Russian fighter jets and US plane flying over Syria. In all however the one occasion every week in the past, the US plane have been MQ-9 drones with out crew members. On that Sunday, nevertheless, the Russian Su-35 jet flew near a US MC-12 surveillance plane with a crew, forcing it to undergo the turbulent wake.
US officers on the time known as it a big escalation within the ongoing string of encounters between US and Russian plane that would have resulted in an accident or lack of life. They mentioned the Russian transfer hampered the crew members’ capacity to soundly function their airplane.
In current weeks, US officers mentioned, Russian fighter jets have repeatedly harassed US MQ-9 drones, that are conducting anti-Islamic State group missions, largely in western Syria.
On a number of events prior to now three weeks, the officers mentioned, Russian fighter jets flew dangerously near the US Reapers, setting off flares and forcing the drones to take evasive maneuvers.
US and Russian army officers talk often over a deconfliction telephone line through the encounters, protesting the opposite aspect’s actions.
There are about 900 US forces in Syria, and others transfer out and in to conduct missions concentrating on Islamic State group militants.