Russian aircraft damages US drone
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On Sunday, a Russian fighter jet flew “dangerously close” to a U.S. drone flying over Syria, firing flares at it, damaging its propeller, U.S. officials said.

U.S. Air Forces Central said Tuesday that the incident occurred while the Reaper, an unmanned aerial vehicle, was combating ISIS.

A Russian fighter aircraft flew dangerously close to a U.S. drone at 12:23 a.m. (EST) on 23 July 2023. According to Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, commander of the 9th Air Force and commander of the combined forces air component for the U.S., the aircraft harassed the MQ-9 and deployed flares directly overhead. A statement was released by Central Command. One of the Russian flares hit the U.S. MQ-9 aircraft, severely damaging its propeller. Fortunately, the MQ-9 crew was able to maintain flight and safely recover the aircraft.

As a result of the fighters’ blatant disregard for flight safety, and our mission to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS, we call upon the Russian forces in Syria to stop this reckless, unprovoked, and unprofessional behavior immediately,” Grynkewich said.

Two Russian fighter jets harassed U.S. drones over Syria within 24 hours of each other earlier this month.

MQ-9 Reapers have been used in combat operations by the U.S. military

A Russian military aircraft engaged in unsafe and unprofessional behavior Thursday morning while interacting with U.S. MQ-9 drones carrying out our D-ISIS mission in Syria, Grynkewich said. Russian aircraft dropped flares in front of the drones and flew dangerously close, endangering all aircraft involved.”

There have been two incidents of dangerous behavior by Russian pilots within the past 24 hours. The first occurred at approximately 10:40 a.m. local time on Wednesday.”

U.S. Air Forces Central remains committed to ensuring the safety and security of its personnel and assets, and will work closely with partners and allies to address these incidents and prevent any escalation of tensions,” Grynkewich stated. All forces operating in the region need to conduct themselves professionally and responsibly in order to ensure the safety of military personnel and the success of the mission against ISIS.