Evidence that MH17 was shot down by an aircraft

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The Russian believe MH17 was shot down by an aircraft. Either by an air to air missle or by a machinegun type of weapon.

This post will go into that theory.

What is the prove for an aircraft attack:

1. The Russian Ministery of Defense showed that Rostov radar  picked up different objects just after contact with  MH17 was lost. Russia MOD claimed these objects were a Ukraine Su-25 fighter jet

2. The preliminary report of the Dutch FSB mentioned it used Russian primary radar. It did not mention it used Ukraine primary radar. There are two types of radar used. Primary radar is used by military air traffic control. It is the old type of radar, sending out radio signals but are returned by large objects. Any aircraft will be visible on radar.

Secondary radar is used by civil air traffic control. Secondary radar is not able to see all traffic. Only traffic equipped with a transponder is seen on the radar screen.

Russian primary radar migth be too far away to see Ukraine fighter if they are low flying.

3. The damage to the cockpit shows bullet holes typically caused by a machinegun of a fighter according some vague experts. The Canadian OCSE observer said the damage to a particular panel near the cockpit * looked like*  it was hit by heavy machinegun fire

This website shows a photo showing a clear round bullet hole. I have not seen this photo before on other sites.

4 Eyewitnesses told they saw a military plane near where MH17 crashed. BBC Russia had a video of two eyewitnesses but this video was later removed. See the story of what they saw here. There is a theory that Ukraine Air Force aircraft used civil aircraft as a decoy and this time it went terribly wrong.

5. The ATC conversation between aircraft and ATC has been confiscated by Kiev and not been released.
This is actually not true. Conversation between crew and ATC relevant for the investigation to the cause of the crash are included in the preliminary report.

6. Chaffs were seen on the video that showed black smoke coming from the crash site.

7. experts like a former Lufthansa pilot say it must have been machine gun.

8. 5 perfectly aligned bullet holes



Air to air missile

One of the theories is that MH17 was shot down by an air to air missile launched by an Ukraine Air Force SU-25.

An interesting blogpost with lots of details is here. 

Oberst ausser Dienst (retired). Bernd Biedermann is a German missile expert. He explains the aircraft must have been shot down by an aircraft. Biederman wrote this book about the S-300 missile system  Der Fla-Raketenkomplex S-300PMU in der NVA . Biederman worked for the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA), the army of East Germany (DDR)

Suppose a rocket was used by an jet fighter. Two types of air to air missiles are named in Russian reports. The R-60M and the R-73.

The R-60 is a 42 kg rocket with uses infrared as a guidance to its target. It just scans its target for heath and hit the target at the spot where the missile detects to most heat. For any aircraft that is the engine. So if a R-60M was used, it is very likely to have been exploded near one of the engines.

The info below is taken from a post on Pprune.org, a site for airline pilots.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about how missiles work, especially in the media. Arguing that such a missile “would go for an engine” and that the cockpit damage we see with MH17 would eliminate an R60 as a possibility makes some false assumptions.

Guiding a weapon using a signature radiated by the target itself is a weapon designers dream come true. “Heat seekers” take clever advantage of a byproduct of jet engines, namely IR radiation. Some IR guided missiles have been designed to home on the IR signature the hot metal of a jet engine; others home on the hot exhaust plume. Most missiles of this type have a contact fuse, but actual contact with the target is more a matter of luck than anything else. And while it is true that IR missiles have been known to fly right up the tail pipe, this event is very rare. Near misses are the norm and that’s why all missiles of this type have proximity fuses, usually optical or radio proximity types. The R60 can be configured with either type of fuse. A successful R60 intercept could result in damage anywhere on the airframe, including the cockpit. 

The R60 can certainly bring down a 777, but success is far from guaranteed. The small 3kg expanding warhead can cause only so much damage, but sometimes small damage is sufficient. Airliners, when intact, are quite strong. But once the integrity of the airframe is compromised an airliner operating at around Mach 0.8, can break apart very quickly from aerodynamic forces.

So was it an R60? The photos I’ve seen of the skin of MH17 showing wide-spread and severe damage suggest that the aircraft was downed by a large blast/fragmentation warhead like the one found on the SA-11, not the much smaller expanding rod warhead associated with the R60. 
The R60 has a practical range of around 4km and a very limited head-on capability. That means it’s likely an R60 attack would be visual from the rear quarter. Any fighter pilot worth his salt could certainly recognize a 777 at 4km range and not confuse it with a military aircraft, especially a twin engine turboprop. By the way, a 777 has a huge IR signature from the engines, especially from behind and below. An IR missile would not prefer a heated pitot tube.

The information on the warhead of a R-60 is very rare. There are R-60 with a continious rod warhead. The rods are either made of wolfram or depleted uranium. The missile itself has a great impulse (0.7sec to 1000m/s!) and great G (42/47),

For the MK serie it says “70% of (exported MK) missiles had “pseudorod” or fragmentation warhead, without having secret construction details, with the same mark- R-60MK”. While this “secret” wolfram warhead was of continuous rod type, it would “not make linear, but large deltoid or romboid holes”. It seems that rods didn’t “tumble” in the air.

Here are some links to websites mentioning other shaped fragments in R-60 missile than just rods. 


Here are some photos of a R-60 used for training purposes

An interesting blog in Russian language is here.

The R-73 was developed to replace the R-60. It is also a heat seeking missle. So same story as above.

In 1978 a Korean Air Lines Boeing 707 was shot at by the Russian Air Force using a R-60 missile. One missile missed, another hit one of the wings and damaged the fuselage. The aircraft was able to fly for 40 minutes and made an emergeceny landing at a frozen lake in the former USSR.

Photos showing the damage can be seen here. 

The Russian Union of Engineers wrote a report about the crash and came to the conclusion it was shot down by an aircraft. The english version of the report is here.

A lot of this story cannot simply be true. Looking at the damage of the aircraft it must have been hit from head-on. The cockpit is heavily damages and was separated from the fuselage. So MH17 must have been attacked from the front. Bullets simply are not able to make turns. So if a fighter jet was used, it must have flow on the same altitude and on collision course of MH17. The report of the Russian Union 0f Engineers states that the pilots must have been surprised by a fighterjet all of a sudden appearing from clouds, rapidly climbing and then shot at MH17.

Also the maps used in the report are simply false. MH17 did not fly south of Donetsk as shown in the map presented by the Russian MoD. See my seperate blogpost about this. You can simply check the map shown in the DSB report and compare it to the Russian MoD map.

The DSB report states the cloudbase had a top of around 10.000 to 24.000 feet. That is 9000 feet lower than the altitude of MH17. So it is hard to believe a fighter appeared unnoticed by the crew.

A Malaysian newspaper published a story that MH17 was first hit by an air to air missile and the hit by a cannon. This a complete ridiculous story. If the aircraft was hit, the flightdata recorder would have noticed something. Most likely the fact that one of the engines was not performing. Also the pilots should have said something which should have been recorded by the cockpit voice recorder.

The fact that both CVR and FDR stopped at the same time shows the aircraft must have disintegrated in a split second.

A short tv item on Russian TV explains the findings of the Union of Engineers. It has english subtitles.

This is an interesting video of a US journalist asking questions to a US Governement spokeswomen about the lack of evidence for a missile lauch.

I will respond to each and every evidence later on.


The image below shows the bullethole for various angles of gun versus the metal plate. It shows that under certain angles the bullethole is not round.


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5 Comments on Evidence that MH17 was shot down by an aircraft

  1. sotilaspassi // September 8, 2015 at 9:08 am // Reply

    Would this be correct for UAF SU-25M1 aircraft:

    (more info with links are welcome, thanks)

  2. Evidence of R-60 used by Ukraine bomber jets in ATO operation on Donbas:
    1. http://i68.tinypic.com/xf895x.jpg
    2. http://i66.tinypic.com/24ms2nr.jpg

    • sotilaspassi // August 14, 2016 at 10:50 pm // Reply

      Yes. R60 is for SU25 self defence.

      Do you have any proof they were “used”?
      I’m sure Ukraine had nothing to lauch R60 at.

      (and there is no R60 damage on MH17)

      • That’s photos approve of R-60 using by SU-25 in ATO.

        Well, where are were some evidence of “used”: weapon’s mechanic Evgeniy Agapov tell about air-to-air missiles and two of three planes shot down on July 23. One of pilot, Voloshin, approved that events and missiles used.

      • Also R-60 can used in “air-to-ground” mode for thermal targets.

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