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Quick Flightline Friday: MH17 shot down over Ukraine July 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, disaster, Flightline Friday, General Catholic, horror, sadness, Society, unadulterated evil.

I assume all readers are already aware that poor Malaysian Airlines, already afflicted with losing a 777 in some of the most mysterious circumstances ever, lost another $300 million dollar aircraft and, much more importantly, hundreds of lives when their 777-200ER was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine by Russia or Russian-armed separatists.  The missile system used was likely a 9K37 (SA-11/SA-17) Buk radar guided mobile battlefield SAM system.  This is an upgraded version of the SA-6 Gainful missile system that has been used around the world in numerous conflicts, especially earning a nasty reputation as a very capable system in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  The SA-11 is eminently capable of engaging aircraft at medium altitudes (10-40k ft) and carries a 150 lb fragmentation warhead – more than enough to bring down a large airliner.

It appears to have been a monumental tragedy, the Russian-armed and Russian-speaking separatists of eastern Ukraine – or Russian forces themselves operating in support of those separatists – likely mistakenly targeted the 777, thinking it was an An-26 Curl cargo aircraft.  Whoever fired the shot, they were horribly trained, SAM systems with decently trained crews are almost always capable of distinguishing civilian airliners from military aircraft, especially in established airways. It is interesting to note, however, that many airlines had already made the decision to abandon the air route over eastern Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict, and all airspace in eastern Ukraine is now closed, at all altitudes, to civilian traffic.  Malaysian Airlines was taking one heck of a risk flying only 1,00o feet above an airspace zone restricted for military operations.

Evidence of Russian involvement is mounting.  It is not unequivocal at this point, but it seems likely.  Separatist forces already obtained the black box and spirited it away to Moscow for “investigation.”  Separatists were quoted early on as claiming proudly on the internet that they had shot down another Ukrainian transport, but when it came out that it was actually a civilian airliner those tweets and other communiques were quickly pulled.  The State Security Service of the Ukraine is claiming they have intercepted communiques from separatist forces to Russian authorities and their own higher ups claiming responsibility for the attack. But there is some question on this, as apparently that Ukrainian Security apparatus has already tried to use doctored evidence to paint the separatists in a bad light.  Nevertheless, here it is:

The report below gives some general info.  The fact that the debris was spread over a large area (10 or more miles) indicates the aircraft broke up at altitude.  There were some pretty good sized chunks left, which tends to happen when an aircraft breaks apart – those chunks that survive the breakup, which can be pretty large, tend to stay intact until the hit the ground, and if they don’t contain any fuel there won’t be any fire. This is not at all unusual.  I already saw one person trying to say that if Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA on 09/11/01  left almost no debris, how could this crash have such large debris (in places – the main part of the crash, including the central fuselage, wing stubs, etc, everything was obliteratged)?  Well, that’s why, it broke apart at high altitude after suffering devastating structural damage from the missile warhead, but then continued more or less intact, at much reduced speed (less than 300 mph, certainly) until impact.

There was apparently 1 American on board.  Prayers for all those who died, and for their families.

No one is going to spin this up into a broader war, but it does make Russia look terrible.



1. discipleofthedumbox - July 18, 2014
2. James Prime - July 18, 2014

Zero Hedge reports that Ukraine’s security service has confiscated the recordings of their air traffic control conversations with the downed Malaysian jet. ZH wonders what, if any, instructions Kiev air control gave the pilot. Those conversations might answer questions of why did the pilot divert from the usual flight plan away from the restricted airspace. Kiev would gain tremendously if it could persuade the court of international public opinion that Russia was complicit. Although, my conspiracy side wonders if the motive for this evil act had anything to do with Putin’s recent efforts in creating a BRIC banking competitor to the IMF.


3. Marc - July 19, 2014

No matter what, the stovetop that is “heating up” the Cold War part deux just turned up another notch.

discipleofthedumbox - July 19, 2014

Almost as if it was on purpose, it seems.

Marc - July 19, 2014

Yep. Trying to bait Obama perhaps?

discipleofthedumbox - July 21, 2014

Nope. Other way around. It seems the actual target may have been the Russian president himself. http://rt.com/news/173672-malaysia-plane-crash-putin/

Tantumblogo - July 21, 2014

I would be completely dubious of anything put out by RT with regard to this event. It is Putin’s mouthpiece.

discipleofthedumbox - July 21, 2014
Tantumblogo - July 21, 2014

Also, behavior by the Russians since the accidental atrocity strongly indicate guilt. The fleeing launcher, sans one missile, the spiriting away of the black box and CVR, now separatists blocking access to bodies and hiding them as well. All these things point to a deliberate attempt to block finding evidence that points to them. The Ukrainians have not been similarly engaged.

Checking in with my old military studies pals, there is some indication this was a deliberate, pre-meditated attack conducted by the regular Russian military operating in Ukraine. But there is also some data that points to cock-up on the part of minimally trained operators using an antiquated system that was never (or very poorly) designed to recognize civilian transponder codes. Someone pulled the Buk user’s manual and found it has no built-in systems to either recognize a civilian transponder, nor to block you from shooting at a target that does so sqwak.

We’ll find out more, but even though we’ve all grown increasingly conditioned to disbelieve everything the government and media say, in this case, it looks very much like Russia was deeply involved either deliberately or accidentally.

One development from all this is that Ukraine will be able to use its airpower much more freely in eastern Ukraine.

discipleofthedumbox - July 22, 2014

I would ask the question, qui bono? Who benefits from this attack? The idea that the Russian military would fire on an aircraft which followed a similar flight path as the Russian president seems rather hard to believe.

At this point, I would put more faith and trust in a media outlet such as RT rather than any of our alphabet news organizations which have shown themselves to be blatant propagandists for our dictator-in-chief. At the very least, RT is not fawning over our American ‘messiah’. That alone places them 50 points ahead of the rest of our lapdogs in media.


discipleofthedumbox - July 22, 2014

I am glad that I am not the only one asking, ‘Cui bono?’


[sarcasm]Of course, this is not from one of the members of our American alphabet media so feel free to ignore it…[/sarcasm]

Tantumblogo - July 22, 2014

So I read an interesting explanation. It seems the Ukrainians were flying combat missions directly under civilian air corridors (which is why the “no fly zone” for civil aircraft was raised to 32k ft shortly before the attack) and were often even flying right under civil flights, then zooming down to strike a target. Even more, they were using a recently acquired ECM unit that could spoof the Mode C transponder on the civil aircraft and overshadow that civil signal with NATO Mode 4/5.

So we might have an awful clusterfark, which is why nobody wants to take ownership of this fiasco, in which Ukrainian warplanes using newly acquired NATO ECM/IFF systems were shadowing civil flights for radar coverage (or to prevent a launch) and sqwaking military code IFF. Maybe somebody on the Russian/rebel side made a mistake, maybe all they saw on their system was the MILmode IFF, but when the launch occurred, its possible the military aircraft skedaddled and 777 was left as a nice, fat, juicy target.

In fact, cockups on all sides are generally how things like this occur.

It could be a whole lot of people are guilty, from Malaysian Airlines (for overflying a region most airlines had abandoned for many weeks) to NATO/the US for supplying this gear to the Ukraine (maybe they knew how it was being used, maybe they didnt) to the Russians/separatists for launching at a civilian airliner.

A major point, the vast majority, quite possibly all, Ukrainian ground based air defense systems are inoperable for lack of money and spare parts. They use Russian systems and have been cut off on spares for a long time. That’s why there have been no reports of the Ukrainians shooting down Russian aircraft, which do operate over eastern Ukraine with some frequency.

discipleofthedumbox - July 21, 2014

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