On Nov. 1, two Iranian combat planes (reportedly, Su-25 Frogfoot bombers) intercepted and tried to shoot down a U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator flying 16 miles off Iran’s coast.
The impromptu interceptors performed at least one firing pass, but failed to hit the drone with their guns.
Maybe they just fired some warning shots or had been diverted from a different mission, were at the edge of their endurance thus tried a quick shot and then returned home before being engaged by any U.S. fighter jet possibly launched by one of the American supercarriers steaming in the Persian Gulf.
Or they simply lacked the basic training needed to engage an other flying asset, a task not always easy to accomplish neither with the most advanced fighter plane and missiles available.
Regardless the reason of the failure the use of guns may not be the best option to down a drone (let’s not forget in this case the Su-25 didn’t carry air-to-air missiles, though).
The episode reminded me of a famous downing of Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle by a Russian Mig-29 on Apr. 20, 2008.
The unarmed Georgian UAV was conducting a surveillance above the breakaway Georgian territory of Abkhazia when it was approached by a Mig-29 and hit by an air-to-air missile shot at short distance.
You can see the entire scene thank to the footage transmitted live by the doomed drone before being hit.
Both the Georgian UAV and the Hezbollah drone that violated the Israeli airspace few weeks ago were downed in the same way: with an air-to-air missile fired at very close range. Something the Iranian should remember next time they attempt to kill a U.S. drone.
- Iranian combat planes tried to shoot down a U.S. Predator. A weird story. (theaviationist.com)
- Israeli Air Force releases video of mysterious drone shot down by an F-16 over Israeli airspace (theaviationist.com)
- Hezbollah behind mysterious spy drone over Israel. The first one the IAF missed to hit (at the first attempt). (theaviationist.com)
Believe me those Su-25 pilots are good, I mean Sharpshooter good:
Last summer they had fierce battle with PKK in harsh mountains of north west of iran, there was unblieveble rumors there.
get the video about Iranian SU-25s from here: gallery.military.ir/albums/userpics/10177/My_Movie.wmv
According to the US, the drone was in international airspace. While US credibility as of late is nearly non-existing, the shots missing the drone may well have been warning shots because the Iranians were well aware, that given the location a downing would create an incident. That they didnt try too hard, may support this too.
There was a night time shooting down of an Indian drone in 2002, also with an air-air missile. Seems to be the preferred mode to bringing down drones (due to high maneuverability?)