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The Navy just declassified F/A-18 footage of the US’ first air-to-air kill in 18 years

September 22, 2017

New, declassified footage has been released that shows a U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighter jet shooting down a Syrian Su-22. This is the first air-to-air kill in 18 years.

As part of Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) from Strike Fighter Squadron 31 aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, a U.S. Navy jet shot down a Syrian aircraft that was dropping bombs on Coalition-backed forces fighting ISIS on July 18.


F/A-18E fighter pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael “Mob” Tremel shot down a Syrian regime Su-22 military jet aircraft, making it the first U.S. air-to-air kill since 1999.

ATFLIR targeting pods capture multiple angles of the engagement between the aircraft, with the entirety of the incident lasting eight minutes.

Tremel, a pilot with the VFA-87 “Golden Warriors,” fired an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile at the Syrian Su-22 jet after the aircraft dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters south of Tabqah, Syria. However, the Syrian aircraft had deployed flares causing the missile to miss its target.

This action was in accordance with the rules of engagement and “in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces,” which are led by the United States, the Defense Department said.

“I lose the smoke trail and I have no idea what happened at that time,” Tremel said at The Tailhook Association’s annual symposium, according to The Drive.