But you can from shooting scouts that are one of the easiest targets in the game. It's still a reflection of grind as opposed to having much to do with combat skill. My point still stands.Right on Commander !
Actually only ships of up to 3 ranks below, equal to and above your current rank count towards progression with proportional effect. So no you can't achieve Elite by just killing Harmless Side winders.
This does imply a broader issue with ED and Frontier's seeming inability and/or reluctance to make any game mechanic about something other than time sink and grind....but that's perhaps a conversation for another thread.