The men and women of Strike Fightrer Squadron 31, better known as the Tomcatters, returned from a highly eventful cruise to Middle East where they pummeled ISIS in both Iraq and Syria with their F/A-18E Super Hornets. During their time deployed as part of Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW-8) aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, a pilot belonging to another F/A-18E squadron, Lt. Cmdr. Michael "Mob" Tremel or VFA-87 "Golden Warriors," shot down a Syrian Su-22 Fitter. A highly detailed account of that incident has been made by those who were there, but now we finally get to see video of the shoot down thanks to the Tomcatters.
The clips of the shoot down start at 6:10 and appear to show multiple angles of the engagement through ATFLIR targeting pods that the Hornets carry on their intake chin station. You can see the Su-22 flying along, then get pummeled by an AIM-120 from two angles (or is the first of the two clips showing the errant Sidewinder that was fired first?), then we see the Su-22 spinning into the ground and exploding in a big fireball. Heady stuff to say the least!
Beyond the shoot-down footage, the video is filled with a mix of pinpoint bombing, including the merciless bombardment of a large structure (4:30), strafing runs, dogfighting, tanking, and gorgeous moments depicting cruise life from the cockpit's perspective. We also get so see some Russian Flanker action, including various intercepts of fully armed Su-27 derivatives, as well what looks like one of these jets dropping flares between a Tomcatter and their target (13:25).
Maybe one of the best parts is seeing a Super all armed up for counter-air, sporting six AIM-120s, a pair of AIM-9Xs, an ATFLIR pod, and a centerline fuel tank.
Another really cool clip is of a gun engagement of some type, where you can clearly see the HUD symbology in color with the gun firing out of the Hornet's nose, and then the rounds arrive just at the spot where the gun pipper is on, causing an explosion. I'm not sure exactly what we are seeing here target wise, but the footage is damn cool to watch (4:45).
This is clearly one of the best cruise videos we have ever seen, and who would expect less from the famous "Fighting 31?" The video also touts the squadron's basic accomplishments during their time overseas, which include dropping 451 munitions on a very deserving enemy, weighing just over 450,000lbs in total.
Thats a lot of boom.
Well done 'Felix,' well done.
The video has been pulled down, but here is the section that shows the shoot-down-
Here is the Su-27 part-
The video is still available at this Russian social media site.
Here is another video site that still has it up.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com