Jump to content
tanknet.org

Mystery Crash In The Nevada Desert


Recommended Posts

An AIM-9X missed a old Su-22 in Syria this year, so never bet for 100% missile accuracy and reliability. Dogfighting with the actual "enemy" is always an advantage.

 

On that note, a fuller version of that encounter just came out, and it turns out a Russian fighter identified as an SU-27 was present:

 

 

They took the northern route into Syria which likely took them over Turkey and around Russian air defenses arrayed along Syria's coastline. The flights checked in with the Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) on the ground south of the city of al Tabqa, an area where Syrian forces were getting dangerously close to friendly forces.

 

The group of four strike fighters entered the close air support stack (CAS stack) overhead the JTAC and waited for any requests for strikes when a Russian Su-27 showed up and began loitering high overhead.

 

Mob [Lt. Cmdr. Michael "Mob" Tremel], who was having issues with his targeting pod, was assigned to keep tabs on the circling Russian fighter while the other pilots continued with their CAS mission. He turned the Super Hornet's master mode to air-to-air and began tracking the Su-27 and searching the skies around the area for other aircraft.

 

Then another radar track appeared—a fast moving aircraft coming from the south directly towards him. Although Mob figured it was probably a Syrian aircraft, he moved to intercept the target and eventually made a visual identification on what turned out to be a Syrian Air Force Su-22 Fitter swing-wing attack jet—the same type of aircraft used to deliver the gas attack that led to the Tomahawk missile strike a few months earlier.

 

Mob made it clear during the presentation that if the Syrian jet just turned away that would have been great as they had plenty to do in support of ground forces, but that didn't end up being the case.

 

After identifying the Su-22, Mob got on the radio with an airborne command and control post, an E-3 Sentry, and had them broadcast warnings repeatedly over guard frequency to the Syrian jet. Those radio calls did not result in a change of course by the Syrian pilot. Then Mob "thumped" the Su-22 three times—flying close over the jet's canopy and popping flares out in front of it before breaking off—to warn him away. That didn't work either.

 

By then the Su-22 was in striking distance of friendly forces and it began to dive, releasing its weapons in the process, before making a climb out after the attack. Based on the rules of engagement that were briefed to the naval aviators, Mob locked the Su-22 up from behind with an AIM-9X Sidewinder and fired.

 

The missile zipped off the Hornet's wing rail trailing smoke but quickly disappeared. It wasn't clear why the missile failed to track the Su-22 or where it had gone. Mob quickly selected an AIM-120 AMRAAM and fired once again. He noted how long it took for the missile to fire off the Super Hornet's "cheek" station located along the outer edges of its air intakes.

 

Regardless, the missile tracked the Fitter flying just a short distance away and exploded on its backside, pitching it violently to the right and downward. The pilot was clearly seen ejecting from the doomed swing-wing attack jet.

 

The ejection seat passed very close down the right sight of Mob's canopy. He noted how live-fire training helped him during the engagement because he knew what to expect and quickly rolled away from the explosion instead of flying through it.

 

The article later returns to the subject of the AIM-9X Sidewinder that missed:

 

 

What's also worth discussing is the conjecture surrounding the AIM-9X's failure in this engagement. By the panel's account it sounded as if the AIM-9X just went stupid/malfunctioned on its own. There was no talk of the Su-22 launching flares, and even if it had, the fact that many military pundits are definitively claiming that the unique infrared signature of Russian-built low-end decoy flares threw the AIM-9X off course is just silly. Missiles fail, especially air-to-air ones. They are complex devices that get battered around under high gravitational forces and slammed down onto carrier decks and runways throughout their lifetime. And yes, it's possible that under certain parameters weaknesses could exist when it comes to the AIM-9X's ability to track certain targets that use certain decoys under certain conditions. Then again maybe they don't. Regardless, that doesn't mean that is what happened in this instance or that the AIM-9X is somehow a lousy missile because of it.

Edited by Dark_Falcon
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...