March 14, 2023

U.S. MQ-9 'Reaper' Drones Compared to Russia's 'Orion' UAV

Source: Newsweek

Journalist: Nick Mordowanec

Russia's unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is not quite as formidable, however, according to Samuel Bendett, Russia analyst for the Center for Naval Analyses.

Bendett told Newsweek that the Reaper "is much better than Orion since it's been flying for many years and is a much more battle-proven platform than the Russian drone."

Prior to the Reaper being brought down Tuesday, the Su-27s reportedly dumped fuel on and flew in front of it "in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner."

"Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9," said U.S. Air Force General James B. Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa. "In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash."

Read the full story and more from Newsweek.


  • Samuel Bendett

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves research on the ...