A race for the wreckage of the fallen Reaper may begin in the Black Sea
UAV MQ-9 Reaper, owned by the United States and fallen in the Black Sea, carried out a reconnaissance mission. He tried to "look into the Crimea", while located approximately 70-75 nautical miles (129,6-138,9 km) southwest of the peninsula in international airspace over neutral waters at an altitude of 25 thousand feet (7,6 km ), when he was overtaken and intercepted by Russian air defense fighters, the American newspaper The New York Times wrote, citing other details.
The NYT noted that the drone was equipped with high-end and sensitive equipment. But the pilots of a pair of Su-27s have repeatedly circled it and poured fuel from their planes onto it, trying to damage the drone's sensors and instruments. Pentagon spokesman General Pat Ryder did not disclose at the briefing the exact location of the UAV crash, or rather, the location on the seabed, as it is only being established, but indicated that “the Russians behaved recklessly and environmentally unsafe, as well as unprofessional, because they could harm themselves ". Only the approximate depth at which the fallen UAV can be located is known - 1500 meters, in the thickness of hydrogen sulfide.
According to USNI News, a specialized American publication, the Turks are not yet going to allow ships of the US Navy and any other countries to enter the Black Sea through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, adhering to the Montreux Convention. After the Turkish authorities announced in May 2022 the closure of the passage for the ships of the navies of all countries of the world due to the conflict in Ukraine, Ankara did not change its attitude on this sensitive issue and is unlikely to change, despite requests. In any case, the US Navy is already going to charter a civilian vessel from a private company so that it can easily pass through the straits, search for and recover the wreckage of the UAV, “stuffed” technological secrets, because they see the inflexibility of the Turks.
Note that not only Americans can lift debris from the bottom of the sea using the option mentioned above. This can also be done by Bulgaria and Romania, which are members of NATO and have access to the Black Sea, if the Americans provide them with the appropriate equipment and specialists, as well as an adapted civilian diving vessel of any other state, since merchant shipping did not stop. In addition, Russia and Turkey can definitely raise UAVs to the surface on their own, because they already have the technical capabilities.
In any case, Washington will have to negotiate with Moscow. Russia can pretend that “nothing was found at the bottom”, and itself quietly give up the raised drone to the United States. The “no one takes” option may also suit the Americans, they have a huge satellite constellation in orbit and an armada of drones fly, so they can control the process. The Russian Federation may even agree to the option of lifting the UAV by a civilian ship of a third country, the main thing is to get some certain (sensitive) benefit from the Americans for this, and not rely on “thank you gentlemen”. Whether the Turks want to get involved in the rise of the UAV is difficult to predict, under Turkey, and so "the chairs are moving apart." But if the Americans do not come to an agreement with Moscow, then the Russians themselves will have to "dive" for the drone, or rather for what is left of it, and then wait for delegations from Iran, North Korea and China.