Second US drone intercepted over Crimea

mq5b_g2mAn American scout-attack drone was intercepted in the Crimean sky, the Rostec state corporation reports. “Judging by side marking, the MQ-5B drone was part of the 66th US brigade of military intelligence with the main location in Bavaria,” the report on the website of the corporation reads.

According to the report, at the beginning of March, the American brigade was relocated to the Ukrainian Kirovohrad, from where drones commit reconnaissance raids in the direction of Crimea and Russian border areas.

Earlier, they reportedly appeared in the Kherson region, in the area of the Crimean roadblock Chongar.

The 66th Military Intelligence Brigade is a United States Army brigade, subordinate to United States Army Intelligence and Security Command and based at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Wiesbaden, Germany. After years of history as a counter intelligence/intelligence group with headquarters in Munich and geographically dispersed detachments, it became a brigade on 16 October 1986, but was inactivated in July 1995. Reformed again as an intelligence group in 2002, it became a brigade again in 2008.

The unit’s mission is to provide intelligence support to U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa.

Part of the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade supports near real-time missions for deployed soldiers such as operations in Afghanistan and also Iraq.

“According to some data, the American reconnaissance brigade had 18 MQ-5B drones in its arsenal. This is the second time the American UAV is intercepted over Crimea,” the report says.

“The drone was at the height of about 4 thousand meters and was practically invisible from the earth. It was possible to break the drone’s link with its American operators with the help of the EW (electronic warfare) complex Avtobaza. As a result, the device made an emergency landing and passed into the possession of the self-defense forces almost unbroken,” the report says.

Ten years ago a German drone nearly collided with a passenger plane over Afghanistan. The classified drone camera footage drew public attention after the German defense ministry scrapped a drone program for its lack of anti-collision technology.

Footage taken by an EMT Luna X-2000 reconnaissance drone as it passed mere meters under the left wing of an Airbus A300 passenger plane surfaced on YouTube several years ago. After the encounter, the drone was caught in the plane’s wake turbulence, lost control, and crashed over the Afghan capital Kabul, Der Spiegel reported.

The Ariana Afghan Airlines plane was carrying about 100 people on board, the magazine said. The manufacturer of the 40kg drone has claimed that the near-collision occurred after the passenger jet veered off-course without informing ground control.

The video was leaked a week after German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière decided to scrap the $652 million EuroHawk program meant to be a replacement for existing reconnaissance aircraft. EuroHawk is part of the NATO Global Hawk project.

Local German communities have expressed apprehension about US drones being in German airspace. Germans are concerned about potential violation of their freedoms after the drones come into operation. The recent scandal surrounding NSA spying activities in Germany and the protests that followed, has heightened public skepticism.

“It’s a big issue here in general, and it’s a very German topic,” Constanze Schulze, a reporter for ARD Bavaria stated. “There are many discussions going on about unmanned units, and of course there is some concern. I think that’s why you see so many reporters here. Everyone is talking about it.”

Politicians have also expressed concerns. Reinhold Strobl of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) said that the public was informed “too late” and that there was “inadequate” information provided by the German authorities and US military ahead of the deployment. If it was not for test flights conducted in July, the politician says, Germans would have been left completely in the dark.

Richard Reisinger from the Christian Social Union Party (CSU) also said that the way the public was informed about the issue lacked transparency. “What happens to the collected data?” he asks, expressing concern of potential risk of information misuse.

Source: Voice of Russia/BBC/RT