Sourced and translated from https://www.gazeta.ru/army/2017/07/17/10791200.shtml 
‘Беспилотник США следит за Россией из Донбасса’

A US strategic drone was spotted circling above the Donbass

File:Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk USAF.jpg

An American strategic UAV spent many hours on a reconnaissance flight along the demarcation line in the Donbass. The aircraft, a model RQ-4A Global Hawk, is able to conduct reconnaissance up to a distance of 300 km, allowing the US aircraft to observe not only the territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk Republics, but also the border regions of Russia.

 

The US Air Force RQ-4A Global Hawk strategic drone – with call-sign UAVGH000 – spent many hours yesterday on a reconnaissance flight along the demarcation line in the Donbass. The UAV was flying at an altitude of 16.7 kilometres.

The RQ-4A Global Hawk UAV has the ability to conduct reconnaissance up to a distance of 300 km. It was thus able to see the entire territory uncontrolled by Kiev – located in the jurisdiction of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, as well as the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In addition, it could see the border regions of Russia.

The drone took off from the Sigonella air base in Sicily, entered the airspace over the Mykolaiv region of Ukraine, and then headed in the direction of Mariupol. Having performed a combat mission in the Donbass, it “withdrew” from Ukrainian airspace, to the north of Moldova.

The Donbass region of Ukraine

Regular reconnaissance flights of US strategic UAV Global Hawk over the Black Sea have been observed since January 2015. A similar incident occurred on May 14th this year. That time, the US Air Force strategic drone RQ-4A Global Hawk also made a reconnaissance flight along the demarcation line in the Donbass. That flight lasted a total of ten hours.

This time, the drone took off from the air base in Sicily, and cruised along the demarcation line in the Donbass during the day. At some moments, while over territory of the Luhunsk region, it approached the Russian borders (in the regions of Belgorod, Voronezh and Rostov) at a distance of about 70-80 km.

NATO planes, flying from the air base in Sicily, regularly carry out reconnaissance flights along Russian borders – in both the Baltic, and southern borders.

In all of 2016, radio engineering troops from the Russian Aerospace Forces found more than 800 foreign spy planes. In total, over 600,000 objects were discovered and escorted during the year, more than 2,000 of which were foreign combat aircraft. In the same period over the past year, the gunners of the Radio Technical Troops were brought to the highest level of alert more than 4,000 times.

During the period from June 26th to July 2nd, Russian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept foreign aircraft six times. During that week, planes from the US, Sweden, Norway and Japan completed 15 reconnaissance flights near Russia’s borders. As reported by the Russian Ministry of Defence, the strategic drone Global Hawk, the aircraft RC-135 and Gulfstream were all observed in this time. At the end of June (the week from the 16th to the 22nd), the Armed Forces of Russia carried out 14 missions aimed at intercepting foreign military aircraft.

File:Northrop Grumman contractors and members of the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron, Edwards Air Force Base, California, perform final maintenance on the RQ-4A Global Hawk before it's flight from RAAF Base 010513-F-JQ435-019.jpg
US Air Force RQ-4A Global Hawk strategic drone

The border territories of Russia are not the only ​​areas of Russian interest under the observation of US intelligence aircraft. Among other things, reconnaissance flights were regularly carried out near the coast of Syria, the Russian base in Tartus, and the Hmeymim airbase.

According to information from Western sites tracking the movement of military aircraft, on July 10 a US Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft made a flight, departing from the same Sigonella airbase in Sicily on Monday evening, and flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.

And again a week before that, another American Air Force reconnaissance flight was carried out next to the Russian naval base in Syrian city of Tartus. The reconnaissance was conducted by US Navy P-8A Poseidon antisubmarine aircrafts, with flight numbers 168756 and 168853, also departing from the Sigonella airbase in Sicily. During the day, they carried out flights, one after the other, near the Syrian coast and the Russian base in Tartus.

As part of the morning reconnaissance, the plane with flight number 168756 approached the Russian base at a distance of 35-40 km. An American long-range radar detection and control aircraft E-3A AWACS was also flying in the Eastern Mediterranean area off the coast of Syria.

On June 28, a US strategic reconnaissance aircraft conducted four overnight flights near the coast of Syria and the Russian naval base in Tartus. At that time, the flights of two US Air Force strategic scouts, RC-135V and RC-135U, were recorded. These planes flew from the Souda Bay airbase on the Greek island of Crete, with a P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft from the US Navy, which flew from Sicily.

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