U.S. F/A-18E Shoots Down Syrian Su-22, First Air-To-Air Kill For F/A-18 Since Gulf War

By  //  June 19, 2017

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first air-to-air kill for the E model

Cmdr. Patrick McKenna pilots an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Pacific Ocean on April 18, 2017. (U.S. Navy photo/Aaron B. Hicks)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 on Sunday after the Soviet-era fighter-bomber dropped munitions near U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, U.S. Central Command officials confirmed.

The strike was believed to be the U.S. military’s first air-to-air kill involving manned aircraft in years. The last known such instance was when a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon shot down a Serbian MiG-29 in 1999 during the Kosovo campaign.

“A Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the command said in a release.

The attack comes after pro-Syrian forces attacked SDF fighters in Ja’Din, wounding a number of SDF fighters, officials said. The town is south of Tabqah and a known area where U.S. works with Russia to deconflict the airspace.

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First Kill

The last air-to-air kill for the F/A-18 was during the Gulf War when two F/A-18s shot down two Iraqi MiG-21s during a brief dogfight. The kill over Syria, however, is believed to be the first air-to-air kill for the E model.

The F/A-18s are flying the most combat missions in Operation Inherent Resolve, the Pentagon’s name for operations against the Islamic State, according to recent statistics provided to Military.com.

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