the F-15E driver who scored the drone kill on Jun. 8, reveals some interesting details about the air engagement

USAF F-15E Strike Eagle shot down Iranian drone over Syria after flying ‘too close’ to US troops

By Dario Leone
Aug 23 2021
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The USAF F-15E shot down the drone over eastern Syria when it was deemed a threat.

A US Air Force (USAF) F-15E Strike Eagle fighter bomber shot down a drone in Syria on Aug. 21, 2021.

Reuters noted that the incident happened in eastern Syria when the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) was deemed a threat.

“Coalition aircraft successfully engaged and defeated a UAS through air to air engagement in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village,” said coalition spokesperson US Army Colonel Wayne Marotto, who heads the US-led coalition against ISIS, Reuters reports.

Basing his report on US officials Fox News Lucas Tomlinson wrote that the “US Air Force F-15E shot down Iranian drone over eastern Syria yesterday after flying ‘too close’ to some of the 900 US troops deployed there.”

Separately, Aviation Week noted: “Coalition aircraft shot down an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with an air-to-air missile near a US military base in eastern Syria on Aug. 21, US Central Command told Aviation Week.” The US officials told them that “the UAS was deemed a threat and self-defense measures were taken.”

USAF F-15E aircraft shot down two Iranian-made drones in Jun. 2017 in Syria. In both cases, the “pro-Syria regime” UAVs were attacking US-backed fighters in southern Syria.

Shahed 129 Iranian-built drone
Shahed 129 Iranian-built drone

Instead, on Jun. 18, 2017, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter bomber from VFA-87 Golden Warriors shot down by means of an AIM-120 AMRAAM a Syrian Sukhoi Su-22 near Tabqah, 20 miles west of Raqqa, after that the attack aircraft had dropped bombs near U.S. backed forces, in the form of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

According to The Jerusalem Post, Drones are a relatively easy target for manned aircraft because they tend to fly slow. In February 2009, the US army shot down an Iranian drone in Iraq, apparently using an aircraft, while in 2002 Iraqi Air Force pilots also shot down a USAF Predator Drone. Serbian air defense also downed US drones during conflict in the Balkans in the 1990s. Russia shot down a number of drones flown by George in 2008.

Iranian drones, supplied to pro-Iran militias in Iraq, have menaced US facilities in Iraq over the last months. Iran has also sought to target US forces in Syria.

In June, reports indicated the US used ground-based air defense to shoot two drones down in Iraq.

The latest incident may raise tensions with Iran. Drones are increasingly common in Syria and in Iraq. Drones have been used by Turkey to target Kurds and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, claiming they are carrying out airstrikes on “terrorists.” Iranian drones also targeted the Mercer Street tanker at the end of July in the Gulf of Oman raising tensions with the US, UK and Israel.

F-15E print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15E Strike Eagle 366th Fighter Wing, 391st Fighter Squadron, MO/90-0249 – Mountain Home AFB, ID – 2008

Photo credit: Teddy Techer and screenshot from YouTube


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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