For John, BLUF: been there in the "missiles don't work" scenario. Nothing to see here; just move along.
At approximately 18.43hrs local time on June 18, a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet operating over Syria shot down a Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) Su-22M4 ‘Fitter’ fighter-bomber near Tabqah, Syria.Yes it does.
The F/A-18E (reported as BuNo 168914/AJ304) was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 ‘Golden Warriors’ (also known as ‘War Party’), which is assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8.
Its pilot engaged the ‘Fitter’ and initially fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder close-range heat-seeking missile from a range of about half a mile, which was defeated by flares launched by the Su-22 pilot. The Super Hornet then re-engaged and fired an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), which hit the ‘Fitter’ despite being fired from relatively close range.
. . .
However, the engagement poses some interesting questions, not least; how was a 1980s-era ‘Fitter’ able to defeat a cutting-edge US air-to-air heat-seeking missile?
By the way, the "age difference" is a distractor. The F-18 is an airframe that descends from the Northrop P-530 program, from back in 1971.
And, when you read the whole thing you will realize why every fighter needs a gun.
Hat tip to my friend Richard Byrd.
Regards — Cliff