DSB concluded in the final report that the warhead which exploded near MH17 was of type 9N314M. This is the only warhead equiped with bow-tie shaped fragments. A few bow-tie shaped fragments were found in the cockpit and bodies of pilots.
It would be logical to check the metallurgic characteristation of the found bow-ties to a reference 9N314M warhead. This would confirm that both warheads have bow-ties of the same sort of steel.
Questions which are obvious to have answers on are:
- is the unalloyed steel which the fragments in a 9N314 warhead are made of different than the unalloyed steel in 9N314M?
- can the metallurgic composition of the found bow-ties be matched to a batch of 9N314M warhead? This could lead the the date of manufacturing of the warhead and maybe even to the state who owned the warhead.
- are the bow-ties made of the same sort of steel as the fillers and squares (the other two shapes of fragments in a 9N314M) ?
- how many manufacturers made fragments for the 9N314M warhead?
- Did those manufacturers deliver in the same timeframe those fragments?
- what kind of steel did they use for the bow-tie fragments?
- what is the steel grade of light fragments and of heavy fragments?
- did the glass found on some fragments had the same characteristics as glass on a Boeing 777 cockpit?
None of these questions are answered in the DSB report. It could be that this investigation needs to be performed by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). However DSB did provide some explanation.
Another reason to doubt the conclusion of DSB is that there were no photos showing holes likely caused by bow-tie shaped fragments shown in the DSB final report.
9N314M fragment sizes and weight
According the DSB final report the weigh and size of the three different shaped fragments is as shown in the image below.
The bow-tie shaped is heavy , the filler and square light.
Compare unalloyed steel of 9N414 with 9N314M
DSB concluded the warhead used must have been type 9N314M because DSB found three fragments with a clear bow-tie shape.
Almaz Antey requested to have the steel grade of fragments analysed. This because 9N314 and 9N314M use different type of steel grades according Almaz Antey. The sentence is not clear to me in the Almaz Antey text below. Almaz Antey could also mean that the steel grade of light fragments is different from the steel grade of heavy fragments.
The screenshot is taken from the Consultation part A document.
The response of DSB is listed below:
That is an interesting remark of DSB.
I asked Mrs van Asselt of DSB at November 2, 2015 during a presentation why DSB did not perform such a cross check. She said that Almaz Antey had stated that the fragments are made by various manufacturers over the years the warhead was in production. So there would be various bow-ties, all with different composition of metals.
So Almaz Antey requests to compare the steel of various warheads, and DSB states that Almaz Antey stated this compare does not make sense! This does not sound logical to me.
No reference material available
It seems that DSB initially did want to compare the chemical composition of steel found in the fragments to an unused 9N314 warhead. In the draft version of the DSB final report sent to participants this text was included:
“The material composition of these objects could not be matched to a 9N314-model warhead due to the absence of reference material from the pre-formed fragments in such a weapon”
So DSB seems to be willing to compare but was not able to obtain reference material?
That is pretty strange. Almaz Antey could supply warhead, as well as Ukraine. And Finland, Greece and Cyprus operate or did operate the BUK as well. So they might have some reference material as well.
DSB stated that the fragments which are from the 9N314M warhead are made of unalloyed steel. DSB found in total 43 fragments which are likely to be from the missile.
Of those 43 fragments, 20 had pieces of aliminium and/or glass on it. 14 fragments had pieces of glass which are the same as glass used for cockpit glass.
These were found in the cockpit and in human remains of the cockpit crew. The aliminium traces found on the fragments match that of aliminium of the aircraft. Also the glass found on the fragments matched the chemical charactistics of cockpit glass.
DSB Main report: Page 89 of 279 Figure 37:
Four distinctly shaped fragments. Top left: cockpit. Top right: Captain’s body. Bottom left: Purser’s body. Bottom right: First Officer’s body. (Source: NFI). Scale is in millimetres
Two of the 20 fragments had a bow-tie shape. One was found in the cockpit, the other in the body of the captain. DSB does not state if these bowties contained pieces of glass, aliminium or both on it.
DSB had 20 fragments analysed. They found out there were two groups of fragments. Each group of fragments have specific metalurgic characteristics in common. In other words, the fragments belonging to the same group share the same plate of unalloyed steel they were made of.
Dutch NLR recommended to perform metallurigc characterisation of the fragments as Appendix Y, page 24 shows.
DSB seems to be willing cutting corner by not cross checking if the found fragments were indeed part of a 9N314M warhead. Two reasons were given:
- comparing does not make sense
- DSB could not obtain reference material