The $32million MQ-9 Reaper taken out of the sky by Russia trends now
The $32 million MQ-9 Reaper drone downed in the Black Sea after a run-in with Russian fighter jets on Tuesday is the same type of aircraft used by the CIA to kill Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul in July, 2022.
Equipped for long-range surveillance missions, the unmanned spy aircraft is controlled by two pilots on the ground - sometimes as much as 5,000 miles away -can fly for 20 hours, or 1,150 miles, and pick up intelligence from an altitude of up to 52,000 ft.
Pentagon officials said one was taken out of the sky by an 'unsafe and unprofessional intercept' by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets early Tuesday.
The encounter sent shockwaves around the world and has sparked a blame game between Washington and the Kremlin over who was responsible.
As tensions escalated, NATO fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian planes over the Black Sea on Wednesday.
Sometimes used for deadly, precision strikes, the drones can reach speeds of between 200 and 300 mph, and are armed with Hellfire missiles.
The explosives in the missiles are often swapped with switchblades to kill targets with such accuracy they can hit someone sitting in a particular seat in a car.
When modified, the missiles have been nicknamed the 'flying Ginsu' or the 'Ninja bomb'.