A day after a collision between a U.S. MQ-9 and a Russian Su-27, new footage appears to show a close-in pass between the two types.
A video has surfaced that allegedly shows a close pass involving a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper and a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet, the two types that were involved in a collision over the Black Sea yesterday. Readers of The War Zone can get fully up to speed on what is known about this incident in our initial reporting here. Since then, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has added his comments on the incident, describing it as a “hazardous episode [that] is part of a pattern of aggressive, risky, and unsafe actions by Russian pilots in international airspace.”
The video, just four seconds long, was apparently first posted to the Telegram Messenger service by the popular pro-Russian Fighterbomber account earlier today. Seemingly taken from the cockpit of a Flanker-series fighter — likely a first-generation Su-27, although that can’t be confirmed — the video shows a close flyby of a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 off the port side of the jet.
The Reaper itself is a later-model MQ-9A with a four-bladed propeller, winglets, a range-extending underwing fuel tank, and a large vertical blade antenna that we have seen before but the purpose of which remains unclear. We have also seen this general arrangement on MQ-9As operating out of Romania in the past, though we still don’t know where the drone involved in the incident was flying from.