The Russian military on Tuesday scrambled three MiG-31 fighters to "intercept" a single US Air Force RQ-4A Global Hawk drone in the skies over Chukchi Sea as it approached the Russian border.
After the intercept, the American strategic Global Hawk drone flew away from the border, the Russian National Defense Control Center reported in a message sent to local media.
“After the RQ-4B Global Hawk turned from the state border of the Russian Federation, the Russian fighters returned safely to the home airfield,” the Russian military said.
"All flights of Russian MiG-31 aircraft took place strictly in accordance with international rules for the use of airspace. The US Air Force RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV was not allowed to violate the state border of the Russian Federation," the National Center said in a statement.
The RQ-4A Global Hawk drone is designed to conduct strategic aerial reconnaissance deep into enemy territory for a long time. When flying at high altitudes, it is able to survey large areas, carry out high-resolution reconnaissance of point targets and transmit reconnaissance information to the command in real time. The Global Hawk, which has a takeoff weight of 15 tons and a wingspan of about 40 m, can patrol for 30 hours at an altitude of 18 thousand meters. The cost of the drone is estimated at $ 140 million.
The MiG-31 is a long-range supersonic fighter-interceptor designed for long-term patrolling and combating high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and strategic bombers. The aircraft is capable of simultaneously hitting 6 and tracking up to 10 air targets. The Soviet era aircraft has been modernized and now carries the ‘Dagger’ hypersonic missile system.
Over the last three weeks, the Russian military has reported "intercepts" of US reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea. The intercepts occurred on August 10, 9, 7 and 5, as well as on July 23, 24, 27, 31. On August 7, the Russian military reported that three Su-35 fighters flew to "intercept" the American B-1B strategic bomber over the Sea of Okhotsk.