It’s been coming up on two decades since the last time a US aircraft recorded a kill on an enemy aircraft. For those wondering, it was in 1999 during the Kosovo War when a US F-15 shot down a Yugoslavian Mig-29.
Although, aerial warfare is a little different today, and it’s becoming more and more likely that one of the participants in an altercation will be an unmanned vehicle.
That’s the case here. A US aircraft (make and model currently unidentified) engaged and destroyed an armed drone being piloted by the Syrian military.
Here is the full statement from Operation Inherent Resolve Command:
A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed pro-Syria regime Unmanned Aerial Vehicle after it fired on Coalition forces in Southern Syria, June 8.
The pro-regime UAV, similar in size to a U.S. MQ-1 Predator, was shot down by a U.S. aircraft after it dropped one of several weapons it was carrying near a position occupied by Coalition personnel who are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS.
The shoot down follows an earlier engagement in the day in which Coalition forces destroyed two pro-regime armed technical vehicles that advanced toward Coalition forces at At Tanf inside the established de-confliction zone threatening Coalition and partner forces.
The Coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them. The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces near Coalition and partner forces in southern Syria, however, continue to concern us and the Coalition will take appropriate measures to protect our forces.
The Coalition presence in Syria addresses the imminent threat ISIS in Syria poses globally, which is beyond the capability of the Syrian Regime to address. Coalition forces have been located at At Tanf for more than a year. The garrison is a temporary Coalition location to train vetted forces to defeat ISIS and will not be vacated until ISIS is defeated.
As long as pro-regime forces are oriented toward Coalition and partnered forces the potential for conflict is escalated. Coalition forces are oriented on ISIS in the Euphrates River Valley. The Coalition calls on all parties to focus their efforts in the same direction to defeat ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.
While it wasn’t the downing of an enemy fighter jet, it’s the most air to air action most US pilots have seen in nearly two decades.