UPDATED - SEE BOTTOM -- Within the past few minutes, Russia/Syria fired an S-300 surface-to-air missile from a base at Tartus, Syria, westward out into the Mediterranean Sea.
The S-300 is one of the most fearsome, accurate, and deadly interceptor missiles in the world. It does not miss.
No word yet on what has been shot down.
The Pentagon confirms the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush is operating in the Mediterranean and has aircraft which are airborne conducting flight operations. No indication at all if the Bush or any of its planes were the target for the missile launch.
Still not one word about what was fired upon or shot down. Checking all my sources repeatedly. . .
Reports are now coming in that a United States Air Force EQ-4 "Global Hawk" drone was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria, by a Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile fired from the Russian Base at Tartus, Syria.
I contacted the Pentagon Press Office after-hours phone via Text message to seek their comment(s) for this story, but they did not reply.
The EQ-4 with a wingspan of more than 130 feet, (roughly the same as a 737 airliner) is the the Air Force's largest drone.
The Air Force has more than 30 RQ-4 surveillance drones, but only three EQ-4s fitted with Northrop Grumman's Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN).
BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications and information gateway system that maintains operational communications support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The persistent connectivity that BACN provides improves situational awareness and enables better coordination between forward-edge warfighters and commanders. BACN bridges and extends voice communications and battlespace awareness information from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems.
After the BACN payloads have been integrated on Block 20 Global Hawks, the aircraft are designated as USAF EQ-4B unmanned systems, providing long endurance and high persistence gateway capabilities.
All of the EQ-4 aircraft are assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing based at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
If this information that the Russians shot down an EQ-4 Global Hawk is accurate, then US Troops operating on the ground with Syrian "Rebels" will no longer be able to INSTANTLY talk to nearby air support as was done a few days ago, when a US F/A-18 was called-in to attack and destroy a Syrian Arab Army Air Force fighter jet.
This type of shoot down would severely hamper US future operational ability in Syria because there are only a total of three EQ-4's in existence.
To outfit one RQ-4 with the BACN (thereby turning it into an EQ-4) costs about twenty-two million dollars.
Such a shoot down by Russia would be pricey retaliation over the US Shoot-down of a Syrian Jet, without causing the US to feel a need to avenge anything; like a pilot.
As shown below, the cost of a Global Hawk Drone is a MINIMUM of $131 Million, but with R&D, the Unit Cost can be as high as $222 Million -- plus the BACN for another $22 Million.
It would send a Russian message to the US not to shoot down anymore Syrian government aircraft.
If the Pentagon Press office responds to my inquiry, this story will be further updated.
12:04 AM EDT June 22, 2017