U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet. (Source: courtesy.)
A Thales Damocles FLIR targeting pod. (Source: courtesy.)
A Russian Su-35. (Source: courtesy.)
The US F/A-18E was providing close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces while the Su-35 was providing air cover to the pro-Assad forces.
In the report, the RAND corporation stated that, "first Syrian regime ground forces were operating in proximity to the Syrian Democratic Forces, so just as coalition aircraft were overhead to provide support to the pro-regime forces, the Russian Su-35 Flanker fighter aircraft was also there to provide support to the pro-regime forces. The Russian Su-35 started circling the US F/A-18E Super Hornet."
The report continued, "the Russian jet was monitored by one of the F/A-18E Super Hornet pilots, who was having issues with his Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) sensor, which was critical for air-to-ground targeting. To make use of the Super Hornet's other capabilities, the pilot switched to air-to-air master mode, tracking the Russian fighter, while the remaining three F/A-18 Hornets focused on the air-to-ground mission. It is worth highlighting that the sensor malfunction was just one of several issues encountered on the mission, but the pilots continued to adapt to meet the mission objectives," the report added.
Even though this report does not specifically say what those "issues" were, it does admit that the US aircrafts "quickly exited Syrian airspace" for fear that the Syrians may activate their air defenses.
A Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet. (Source: courtesy.)
The Boeing F/A-18E is a twin engine, multirole fighter aircraft. This plane originated in the US and took its first flight on 29th November 1995 and put into service in 2001.
The primary users of the F/A-18E Super Hornet are the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.
The total number of the F/A-18E Super Hornet built as of April 2020 stands at over 608 jets.
The F/A-18E can also function as an airborne tanker and has an external air refueling system.
Sukhoi Su-35. (Source: courtesy.)
On the other hand the Su-35 is a single seat, twin engine, supermaneuverable aircraft. It took its first flight on the 19th of February 2008 and was introduced into the Russian Air Force in February 2014.
The primary users of the Su-35 are the Russian Air Force and the People's Liberation Air Force.
The total number of Su-35 built stands at 128 jets.
Content created and supplied by: Ledward (via Opera News )