This Video Shows U.S. MQ-9 Reaper Drone Destroying a Russian-made T-72 Tank in Syria

The U.S. Air Force Central Command has released the video of a T-72 tank destroyed by a drone in Syria.

The following video shows a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone destroying a Russian-made T-72 main battle tank in Syria in what U.S. officials have defined a “defensive strike against pro-Syrian government forces”. The second one in less than a week.

According to Reuters the air strike took place near Al Tabiyeh, Syria, on Sunday. The U.S. military said the tank was destroyed after it moved within firing range of the U.S.-backed forces. Although the Pentagon said no U.S. or SDF forces were killed by the tank no detail about the type of weapon used in the strike – either a JDAM or Hellfire – has been provided.

The strike came few days after a major clash with pro-Assad forces and coalition forces overnight between Feb. 7 and 8 in Deir el-Zour Province: the U.S. launched significant air power to protect coalition advisors and Syrian Democratic Forces in a series of raids that may have left 100 or more of the pro-Syrian government personnel dead. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, head of Air Forces Central Command said the U.S. forces on the ground called in coalition strikes for more than three hours, involving F-22 stealth aircraft, F-15Es as well as MQ-9 Reaper drones, B-52 bombers, AC-130 gunships and AH-64 Apache helicopters.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. The same fate awaits Armata. Why? The U.S. and NATO will always control the air battlespace. In no small part thanks to stealth superiority.

    • Same old story, when you will finally manage to come with some less break out of reality? Where Russia has deployed its SAMs, especially the S-400, it means just one thing for the NATO figters, the no entry zone. Get over it.

      Armata? Well, let’s say Russia already finished its 21st century tank, does the NATO have anything comparable on its side? Tragically…

      • Russia is incapable of defeating American stealth. For the S-400 to produce high-resolution tracking, its fire control radar needs to use high-frequency bands such as the C, X and Ku bands. The F-22 and F35 easily defeat these signals, which means Russian SAMs will never be able to lock-on, and much less make a hit. Russia can only use the resonance effect of Low Frequency radars to have an awareness of the general presence of an American stealth fighter, but never know its precise location. Any Russian jet (such as the Su-35) sent to look for an American craft would be easily and quickly downed (thanks to the F-22’s super-long range sensors) long before the Russian pilots knew what was happening.

        Even better, larger stealth aircraft such as the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit or B-21 don’t have many of the airframe features that cause a resonance effect—and are, as such, much more effective against low-frequency radars. So in essence, a B-21 can spearhead an operation without being detected by Russian radars, triangulating the location of Russian SAMs, then passing the data to a B-2 flying behind, which will dispense the means (such as the AGM-158 JASSM radar-evading cruise missile) to neutralize said SAMs. The F-22s will take care of any threat and the F-35s will protect the rear. Complete domination of the air is achieved.

        Of note is the deep and long expertise of American stealth technology (flying in operational aircraft since the early 1980s) vs Russia’s deep lack of it. Russia’s 1st generation, and only stealth aircraft, the Su-57, is barely entering production in 2018. In contrast, America is on its third generation of stealth bombers (F-117, B-2, B-21) while Russia is still flying propeller aircraft as bombers. America is on its second generation of stealth fighter jets (F-22, F-35); and there is also the upcoming unmanned hypersonic SR-72. A third generation of stealth fighter jets is already under work (F/A-XX, and F-X).

        • Nonsense. First of all, Russia is not Libya or Iraq or any other military inferior country with decades old military equipment U.S. with its NATO vassal countries loved to confront in the past. There is no single evidence of how the American “stealth” would really stand against up to date, networked, jamming resistant radars such as for example the 96L6E, Nebo-M or Podsolnukh-E capable to operate through multiple bands, cover hundred kilometers and operate side by side EW systems. The pure laboratory and promotional RCS figures would not help much the F-22/35 in real combat situation while making such horrible mistake as flying in Russia’s airspace would be. The Russia’s vast radar network and irradiation from multiple angles would lead to obvious radar lock and the threat would be eliminated long before the Sukhois and MiGs of the Russian Air Force would have an opportunity to take care of it.

          “…a B-21 can spearhead an operation without being detected by Russian radars, triangulating the location of Russian SAMs, then passing the data to a B-2 flying behind, which will dispense the means (such as the AGM-158 JASSM radar-evading cruise missile) to neutralize said SAMs.”

          Meanwhile, when trying to eliminate one SAM site (that would be always well protected against cruise missiles by short and medium-range anti-aircraft systems such as the Pantsir-S1/S2 or Tor-M2) the intruder will be engaged by another SAM sites. This is also the big advantage of the SAM technology, it is cheap, easy to build and can be deployed in hundreds at the same time. The current USAF B-2 fleet would barely dominate something, surely not the Russian airspace, surely not when there is only 7 or 8 B-2s combat ready at any given time and at the time U.S. would manage to build enough B-21s they dream about (if ever), radar technology and SAMs will be once again a whole generation ahead. Not to mention when U.S. will introduce the B-21, the S-500, Su-57 and likely also new interceptor aircraft will be already in Russian ranks.

          As for the domination in the air, to not disclose its possition, the F-22/35 will always rely on AEW&C aircraft to be able of BVR dogfight in silent mode. But just the presence of such airborne systems in the area would itself pointing out a possible presence of enemy fighter aircraft. So the elimination of airborne command posts would be a key task, and that’s why there is the MiG-31 with its very long-range R-33 and R-37 missiles for this purpose. Considering the MiG-31’s capability to detect and engage targets at distance over 300 km, it would eliminate any airborne command posts long before F-22/35 would have a chance to use their AIM-120.

          To the history of stealth, it’s known the Lockheed applied theories of Soviet physicist and mathematician Petr Ufimtsev when designing the F-117 and B-2, so not sure how the Russia deep lacks in this field.

          When it comes to the USAF inventory, 4th generation fighters and Cold War era bombers are still represented from the most part. For example the U.S. nuclear triad still depends on dozens of B-52 built yet in 60’s rather than on the latest B-2s built only in limited number.

          As for the Russia and its experience with stealth, the Su-57 is not Russia’s first stealth aircraft at all. Before the Su-57, there were the Su-47, MiG-1.44 and Mikoyan Skat. Extensive studies on LO/VLO designs is done in Russia since at least 80’s.

          The Su-57 was born to the new age, it was designed and developed on whole new requirements than U.S. first stealth fighters, so it doesn’t really matter the Su-57 will be Russia’s first operational 5th generation aircraft since it is designed on way modern basis, with use of way modern technological procedures to fulfill all requirements of 21st century fighter, same goes for the stealth flying wing Tupolev PAK DA or hypersonic interceptor MiG-41 as well as for other prospective aviation projects currently under development in Russia.

      • Same ol’ FSB drone spew….

        What’s the combat record of your Mig’s, Su’s and armour against Western forces?

        ” Well, let’s say Russia already finished its 21st century tank, does the NATO have anything comparable on its side? Tragically…”?


        Your tank that can’t even make it through a parade? LMAO!

        • It seems that you are one of those who make false news. The first was the trial BEFORE the parade, for the hypothetical case of a tank malfunction. The second was the downing of the SU-24 over Syria, by a Turkish F-16 with whom Russia was not at war! As Putin said, it was a stab in the back!
          By the way, at the time this happened, there were internal disputes within the Turkish armed forces, the pilot who shot down the SU-24 was one of those imprisoned later, by the attempted coup d’etat. And I quote: “Erdogan announced in an interview that the two Turkish pilots who downed Russian aircraft were arrested on suspicion that they have links to the Gülen movement”.

        • Same old bs of Western delusional fanboy not able to come with real arguments, nor something called “facts”. I see you are constantly addicted to biased stories to think you know a sh*t about something, so let’s break it into you.

          Here is the Armata leaving the Red Square Parade in 2015 after the issue with just emergency break was resolved.

          Except a covard act, the picture down below proves absolutely nothing.

  2. Judge Dredd doing his job, with the difference that is not in his country, the UN is a joke, a hollow puppet.

  3. You and the “US military” say it was destroyed. but there is no evidence of that in the video, why would they release such a short video without the results? Does anyone know what the flash, a second before the strike, might be from?

    • Given the internal stowage of munitions, T-72 and T-90 kills usually result in a cookoff. We don’t see that in this video, but it sure took a hit. My bet is it was removed from the battle which just as good as a hard kill.

  4. LOL!! The western coalition is grasping the nettle. I’m asking to myself if Assad’s friends will try again to take over el-zour province or if they’ll give up.

  5. As has been reported by USCENTCOM, 200 Russian “mercenaries” were also killed in this
    battle, which leads me to ask the question – Were they mercenaries or,
    as we saw in Crimea, Little Green Russkie Men (perhaps wearing brown
    camo in this instance)? I suggest they were probably Russian Spetsnaz or
    Marines, maybe regular army, sent in to attack U.S. and Syrian-ally
    forces. They failed, chopped to pieces by the USAF. A reflection on the importance of owning the skies during any running or static battle, something the U.S. and our NATO allies will always have going in our favor. The sky isn’t blue, it’s Red, White and Blue with a field of 50 Stars! Don’t you ever forget it.

    • They were not Russian army or SF, but rather EX service men hired by the Russian state. It’s different because it doesn’t create a problem if they get killed or captured. The US does something similar with Blackwater etc.

    • “As has been reported by USCENTCOM”
      Because such reports aren’t anywhere to be found.

    • Once again, ol’ Leroy’s crystal ball proves I was right. These forces were under Moscow’s direct control, and their reward for foolishly attacking U.S. forces – superior in every way – was all but predictable.

      Let their epitaph serve as a stark warning to anyone thinking about testing American military capabilities, prowess and resolve. You do so at your own peril and 100% assured demise. Just as Saddam learned, so too did these … expendables. Sacrificed for absolutely nothing. Read about it here if you want, but you already know the story:

Comments are closed.