Russian forces are on the verge of starting a recovery attempt on a downed U.S. Air Force drone that crashed into the Black Sea this week, pro-Kremlin publishers claim.
An MQ-8 ‘Reaper’ drone was a “total loss” this week, the Pentagon said this week after it was rammed by a Russian jet, damaging its propeller and causing it to lose power. Despite the U.S. releasing footage of Russian jets harassing the drone by spraying jet fuel on it, and even colliding with the drone to damage it, Russia is still maintaining its position that the drone fell out of the air spontaneously and they were not responsible.
Yet a race appears to be on to recover the remains of the unmanned vehicle, which may be valuable to Russia or its allies China and Iran for reverse-engineering technology, or if the data recording onboard didn’t successfully erase itself before it hit the water.
The United States poured cold water on the recovery on Wednesday, saying the water the drone would have landed on would be too deep. But as reported, Russia made a pretense, at least, at being willing to give it a go with one spokesman saying “I am hoping that it will be a success”.
Now reports from pro-Russian sources are making the claim they are reaching the drone and are nearly ready to attempt a recovery. Kremlin-linked source Sputnik asserted that Russian forces “may retrieve the US MQ-9 Reaper drone from the Black Sea, despite reports from Washington that the Pentagon has already erased all sensitive information from it”. They added that it was considered worth trying as nobody could be sure there was nothing valuable to be retrieved until someone had gone down to have a look.
The report from the propaganda outlet cited what they described as a “military expert” who said it was his understanding that a search ship had already reached the area and that it was likely that Russian “specialists” would be the first on the scene because the United States had no maritime assets in the area.