Pair of US Reaper Drones Goes Down Over Syria After Collision
Turkish-backed al-Qaeda rebels claimed them as shot down
The U.S. lost two drones over Syria Tuesday after a midair collision, a defense official tells Military Times.
Images of burning aircraft crashing to the ground were posted on Twitter Tuesday. There was speculation that the aircraft were MQ-9 Reapers — a remotely piloted aircraft used predominately as an armed hunter-killer drone, but also capable of surveillance and intelligence collection — and were shot down.
However, the defense official could not confirm the type of drone involved.
Reports indicate there was a collision, the defense official said, but whether they were shot at afterwards — and whether that caused the crash — is unclear.
BTW it seems there two big UAVs were shot down. As we can see above, one is MQ-9, second possible also MQ-9 or another big UAV. pic.twitter.com/f09EVMTyPL
— Yuri Lyamin (@imp_navigator) August 18, 2020
In short, tonight, the #Turkish Soldiers or supported militants from MANPADS shot down an #American (strike) UAV MQ-9.#Americans will not forgive, so we are waiting for the strikes of the Coalition Air Force on Idlib.#Syria pic.twitter.com/mkahU9UmIz
— Sukhoi Su-57 Felon 🇷🇺🇮🇳 (@I30mki) August 18, 2020
A shootdown of a Reaper is not without precedent.
CENTCOM said the MQ-9 Reaper was shot down by Houthi rebels with a SA-6 surface-to-air missile that was enabled with Iranian assistance, according that release.
The slow-moving aircraft, with a cruising speed of 230 miles per hour, according to the Air Force, costs about $64 million for a unit of four aircraft plus sensors.
It is mainly armed with munitions like AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
The weapon has been in use for some time, while its existence has been kept under wraps by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Spawned from the widely-used Hellfire missile, the R9X — also known as “the flying Ginsu” or “ninja bomb” — is equipped with a non-explosive warhead capable of pummeling its target with over 100 pounds of screaming metal.
The precision ninja bomb is also kitted out with six internal blades that can cut through buildings or cars with ease. These long blades deploy in the shape of a halo around the missile moments before it pulverizes its target like a heaven-sent anvil cheese grater, officials told the WSJ.
Source: Military Times