On the morning of March 14, 2023, two Russian Su-27 fighter jets spotted an American MQ-9 Reaper drone flying in international airspace over the Black Sea while it was on a reconnaissance mission. They went on to purposely harass the unmanned aircraft by dumping fuel on it several times, finally clipping its propeller and forcing it down into the Black Sea.
Shortly after the incident, Russia stated that it is seriously considering recovering the wrecked surveillance drone and reverse-engineering it as it “is of interest” to the nation’s defense industry.
The Russian State-owned Rostec corporation, via a representative, told reporters that the country considers every bit and bolt of the Reaper as an object for “thorough examination.”
“Of course, the debris of the US MQ-9 Reaper drone are of interest to the Russian defense industry. Any find of that magnitude should be stripped down and studied to the last bolt,” a Rostec representative said via TASS.