The US immediately despatched UH-60M Black Hawk and P-8A Poseidon helicopters to the Black Sea after the MQ-9A Reaper went down, but they were unwilling to approach the accident site.
A US MQ-9A Reaper reconnaissance-attack drone (UCAV) collided with a Russian Su-27 Flanker on March 14, and then crashed into the Black Sea.
The US side alleges that two Russian Su-27 jets came, crossed and dumped fuel on the American UCAV in international seas.
According to reports, a flanker damaged the drone’s propeller after colliding with it, causing the control center to have to crash-land the aircraft.
The Su-27 aircraft did not collide with the drone, did not interfere with the US UCAV, and did not fire air-to-air missiles, according to Moscow authorities, who also refuted all other charges. According to Russia, the US plane made a fast turn before crashing on its own after losing control.
The US Boeing P-8A “Poseidon” anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and the UH-60M “Black Hawk” transport helicopter were flown into Black Sea airspace by the Pentagon shortly after the event.
The first American aircraft made their way to the MQ-9 accident site, but none of them has since ventured to venture outside of Romanian airspace to approach the MQ-9A crash site.
The US despatched two more UH-60M “Black Hawk” helicopters the following day to patrol Romania’s territorial seas around the Black Sea, but the two “Black Hawks” could not venture outside of the nation’s airspace due to the presence of Russian warplanes and ships in the vicinity of the MQ-9 crash site.
On March 17, John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, acknowledged during a press conference that Russia had recovered some fuselage fragments of the unmanned attack drone MQ-9A Reaper, but the shell fragments are only control wings made of fiberglass, offering Moscow no technological advantage.
According to the official, the Pentagon immediately after the Reaper crash implemented the appropriate security procedures to stop critical intelligence information and cutting-edge technology from ending up in the hands of Moscow. He also left open the prospect that specialized forces may obliterate the MQ-9A before Russian forces carried it to the surface.
Despite the US declaring that additional security measures were required, the Russian newspaper Lenta.ru confirmed, citing a military source in Crimea, that the Russian navy had sent out submersibles and found the MQ-9A wreckage nearby, at a depth of 850–900 meters, 60 kilometers from Sevastopol city.
Russian experts devised a plan to recover the MQ-9A as a large number of Russian warships and planes were stationed nearby to blockade the area. Moscow is reportedly particularly interested in the Reaper’s engine and avionics right now.