Splash 1 Fitter!

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.FA-18E-catapult-706x417

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.


About BrentB67

Tea Party refugee from the coup at center right. In charge of cleaning socks out of the lint filter. Junior Curmudgeon Lower Class. I don't give two nickels for a dime.
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18 Responses to Splash 1 Fitter!

  1. EThompson says:

    Brent: Would you go into more detail re: the disadvantages of the Fitters that “are very fast air to ground attack airplanes” yet have “very limited air-to-air capability and only carry archaic thermal seeking missiles easily defeated by contemporary tactics and countermeasures?”

    As a civilian, I’m beginning to think I better know more about this technology before I cast my next vote for a senator that may serve on the Armed Services Committee.

    Thank you.

    • BrentB67BrentB67 says:


      The SU-22 was designed primarily (or in the case of earlier 17/20 version solely) to drop bombs on targets. The airplane was not designed to shoot down other airplanes. They do not have a radar that can detect other airplanes and thus cannot shoot a radar guided missile at another airplane.

      The later variations, specifically the SU-22 that Syria flies could carry missiles that detect the heat of another airplane’s jet engine and guide direct to the heat source. However, the SU-22 can only carry the oldest, low performance versions of these missiles.

      Given its limited mission capability – air to ground only – it is not a very maneuverable airplane. It does not turn well and thus is not good in a visual fight or ‘dogfight’. The airplane is designed to drop its weapons, accelerate, and get out of the target area faster than the speed of sound.

      If you see one and are in range they are very easy to shoot down, but if you have to run them down it will be very challenging.

      Hope that helps.

  2. drlorentzdrlorentz says:

    It’s good to see a bit of good news that you probably won’t find elsewhere. I like this kind of diplomacy.

    Direct link to article:

  3. ctlaw says:

    “Fitter, they are very fast air to ground attack airplanes built as a knock off the USAF F-111 Aardvark of the 70’s”

    Up the O2 level Guido. In no way were they a knockoff of the Aardvark. They were a variable geometry derivative of the Su-7 Fitter-A from the 1950s. The only similarity to the F-111 was variable geometry and that was a parallel development.

    The Su-24 Fencer was much closer to the F-111. I believe the Turks shot one of those down.

    A whole bunch of F-111 pilots are breathing a sigh of relief that you were not sent out to hunt Su-22.

    • BrentB67BrentB67 says:

      CTLaw, I thought these were the first swing wing FSU jet and they copied the idea from the F-111.

      I think we got one brief about these things and probably used Jane’s since they were no threat.

      Thanks for the clarification.

      • ctlaw says:

        Was first swing wing FSU jet but not an F-111 copy. Swing wing ideas had preceded both. The mechanisms of the two are different. The Su-22 rotates a much smaller fraction of the wing Probably a legacy of not interfering with Su-7 landing gear.

        With the clean sheet Su-24 and Mig-23, they went to a mechanism much more like the F-111.

  4. TKC1101TKC1101 says:

    I see having Mattis is paying off. The roles are now reversed. We act, the Russians threaten dire consequences.

    I much prefer to be the actor than the reactor. If our people are threatened , we will blow you out of the sky.

    Let’s see how those close encounter Russian, Iranian and Chinese flybys happen now.

  5. 10 Cents10 Cents says:

    I like the clarity of Mattis. The object of the arm forces is to make the enemy have the worst last day of their lives.

  6. ctlaw says:

    Brent, Any thoughts on how the Sidewinder was easily distracted by the flares?

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