It had been a few days since we had seen any drone missions (USAF or NATO) over the Black Sea.
The last appearance of a NATO asset in the area dates back to 27 June and it was an RAF RC-135W intercepted by Russian SU-27s (article here).
Today, however, a USAF Northrop Grumman RQ-4B (reg. 11-2046 – FORTE10) left NAS Sigonella around 06:00 CEST and headed towards the Black Sea.
Unusually, it made a first orbit before entering the Greek FIR and then a second, longer orbit over the Ionian Sea, between the Italian and Greek FIRs. USNavy P-8As are also operating in the area these days, and it is possible that a monitoring operation is also underway for the benefit of the USS Ford’s CSG (CVN-78) sailing in the southern Adriatic.
FORTE has since resumed its course, however, and is currently (11:30 CEST) flying over the central Black Sea.