Military Capabilities

US flies Crimea surveillance missions

29 November 2018

US aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have flown daily surveillance missions around the Crimean peninsula since the incident on 25 November in the contested Kerch Strait involving Russian and Ukrainian naval forces.

Open source tracking of the ADS-B transponders on US Air Force (USAF) RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft, RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs, and US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft show them operating over the Black Sea and eastern Ukraine.

No US aircraft appeared to be airborne in the vicinity of the incident on 25 November in the Kerch Strait, which saw Russian naval forces seize three Ukrainian Navy vessels, but a USAF Global Hawk was tracked to the north over eastern Ukraine, which is occupied by Russian-supported separatist groups.

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