Russian ForPost citing Russian Defense Ministry sources claims that the US MQ-9 Reaper UCAV was found near Sevastopol at a depth of about 900 meters.
The American drone that fell to the bottom of the Black Sea may be storing important intelligence data for the Russian military.
“There are not only fragments, but also some of its structural elements, for example, optical-electronic equipment that deals with recognition. We will find out which objects were of most interest," military analyst Viktor Litovkin told Russian media.
“Maybe there is electronic warfare equipment, control equipment, weapons control equipment. What was salvaged from it [the UAV] will be interesting,” he said.
Defense Ministry specialists discovered a US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that crashed into the Black Sea on the day of the incident on March 14, a source close to the military department told ForPost. According to the interlocutor of the publication, the drone was found 60 kilometers from Sevastopol with the help of an underwater robot at a depth of about 850-900 meters near the deep-water branch of the South Stream gas pipeline.
The United States remotely destroyed information about the downed drone, General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a press conference, TASS reports. The White House also talked about measures to protect the device from falling into the wrong hands.
According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Russian military can acquire a drone if they deem it necessary in the interest of security. On March 15, the country's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev announced plans to recover the wreckage of the device.
The US Air Force has released a map of the approximate locations where the MQ-9 Reaper drone collided with a Russian fighter jet and crashed in the Black Sea. US Air Forces Europe said in a tweet that "the dots on the map are an estimate of the location of the incident."
Earlier, the US military released video of the incident between the drone and the Russian fighter.
While US officials say they likely won't be able to recover the downed aircraft, Russia is trying to find the US drone. Ukrainian officials say there is "unusual Russian activity" in the Black Sea, which could mean Russian ships are trying to find the wreckage of a US drone shot down by Russian jets.
The drone went down in a part of the Black Sea that is likely more than 1,600 meters deep, General Mark Milley said, making any recovery efforts extremely difficult.
The US remotely deleted sensitive software data from the MQ-9 drone that crashed in the Black Sea to prevent Russia from collecting classified information, two US officials told CNN on Wednesday.