The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet scored its first kill when a Syrian SU-22 Fitter was downed by an F/A-18E Super Hornet most likely from the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) allegedly deployed to Sixth(6) Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea according to GlobalSecurity.org.
I was never Blessed to encounter SU-22’s or the earlier Su-17/20 variants or I would’ve been writing endless posts about “there I was….” shooting them down. Known by its NATO codename: Fitter, they are very fast air to ground attack airplanes built as a knock off the USAF F-111 Aardvark of the 70’s.
Fitters have very limited air-to-air capability and only carry archaic thermal seeking missiles easily defeated by contemporary tactics and countermeasures. I had to look this piece of junk up on the web because we rarely covered them when I was still aviating.
They are typical former Soviet Union technology. If you can’t make them good make them fast and durable and the Fitter is both. It was reputed to have carried non-conventional (chemical/biological) weapons and that may have factored into the U.S. Navy’s motivation to target the aircraft.
Also of interest is that the Hornet downed the Fitter after the Fitter had attacked. This is probably due to over-lawyered rules of engagement that so badly distort ‘hostile intent’ so as to make it nearly impossible to engage absent a blatant hostile act such as dropping a weapon on friendly forces and/or civilians.
I’ve no doubt the pilot will get a chest full of Silver Stars, etc. and get the Navy public relations rubber chicken dinner treatment. Good for him. Well done.