Comparing a Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer to a Lockheed-Martin F-16 Viper (Fighting Falcon for the nerds at home) is like comparing a heavy duty, ¾-ton pickup truck to a Corvette on a road course. The results just aren’t pretty.
On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Su-24 after a pair of Fencers trundled into Turkish airspace during a mission in Syria. They were warned multiple times, but continued on until one of the aircraft made its way into Turkish airspace and was shot down by a flight of two Vipers in a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) nearby.
In the fighter community, we call that “Hubcapping.” It’s a reference to the old days when cars had hubcaps – a sharp turn would often times send a hubcap wheeling off into the curb as the car itself disappeared around the corner. So too is what the wingman did here. As the lead kept going into Turkish airspace, he “Hubcapped” his flight lead with a turn to the south to avoid taking a ride in the chute.