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US halts surveillance drone flights over Black Sea


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Moscow, April 20 – The United States has completely suspended flights of its Global Hawk strategic drones over the Black Sea due to an incident with another American Reaper drone, according to data from the Flightradar24 portal analyzed by the News Agency. An informed source confirmed this information to the agency.
As follows from the tracks in the Flightradar24 archive, the last time the American Global Hawk flew over the Black Sea, off the coast of Crimea, was on March 21. Since then, US drones based in Sicily no longer enter the airspace over the Black Sea. At the same time, over the entire previous period, from the very beginning of the military special operation, they made an average of 8-10 reconnaissance flights per month over the sea area corresponding to the Russian Peninsula.
According to information from Flightradar24, from March 21 to April 20, Global Hawk drones made only 3 flights from an air base in Sicily, but all of them took place within the borders of Romanian airspace at a distance of more than 400 km from Crimea, i.e. Outside the coverage area of ​​the drone’s radar station, which is capable of receiving radar images of the terrain with a maximum range of up to 200 km.

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An informed source confirmed to the News Agency that the last time a US Global Hawk drone flew over the Black Sea off Crimea was on March 21.
“After the incident with the American Reaper drone, which fell in the waters of the Black Sea on April 14, only two more flights of Global Hawk aircraft have been carried out over the Black Sea – on March 17 and March 21 – both at a distance of no more than 140 kilometers from Southern coast of Crimea… Apparently, on the one hand, the amount of information received by UAVs has sharply decreased, on the other hand, after April 14, there was a risk on the American side of losing such a device, and the Global Hawk is several times more expensive than Reaper and saturate with the latest equipment, “explained the agency’s interlocutor.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a strategic UAV of the largest class. The wingspan is up to 40 meters, depending on the version (for comparison: the wingspan of the SuperJet 100 passenger airliner is about 28 meters). The take-off weight of the device exceeds 14 tons, and the maximum flight range of the drone is 20 km. The Global Hawk can stay in the air for up to 36 hours and fly over 22,000 km. The drone is equipped with various reconnaissance equipment, including radar, optical positioning system, and infrared sensors.

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