Some people believe MH17 was not shot down by a BUK surface to air missile but by an air to air missile.
Two types are mentioned: the R-27 missile made in Ukraine and the Python missile made in Israel. In this post we focus on the R-27.
Below a photo of an Ukraine Air Force SU-27 with the R-27 missiles in front of it.
If an air to air missile was used, it was the intention of the fighter jet to down MH17. He must have known it was a passenger aircraft. It came from the direction of Kiev. This alone makes the scenario less likely.
What other facts debunks the R-27 theory:
- DSB stated there was no other aircraft near MH17 in a range of 30 km based on Rostov primary radar
- DSB found parts of a BUK missile
- DSB found bow-tie shaped fragments unique to the 9N314M warhead carried by a BUK missile
- Russian media nor government mentioned the R-27. There was a report published by a Russian journalist Albert Naryshkin who suggest the Python was used.
- As Rostov did not have coverage from a certain altitude, the fighter jet which shot a missile must have been below something like 2 km to be not shown on radar.
However there are also doubts on the BUK. See an overview here.
One of the facts there are still doubts on the BUK scenario is the fact that Ukraine did not hand over primary radar images.
On the mas17.webtalk.ru forum some posts are placed describing a Su-27 which was circling over the area where MH17 was downed. There was a supersonic boom. The aircraft climbed vertically. Maybe someone can translate?
There are even photos of a SU-27. It is not confirmed these are genuine.
There is not a lot of information on the R-27. It is said according Wikipedia to be designed for both rods and fragmentation. The factory once shipped a batch of fragmentation warheads to India. As Wikipedia proofed to be wrong more than once, I like to have at least a second source to confirm R-27 can be fitted with fragmentation warhead.
And if so, we need information on the warhead. For example does it have ready or pre-ready fragments.
- ready fragments. The fragments are not tied to eachother. Individual fragments are placed in the warhead and stick together with some gell or glue. The advantage is that the energy of the explosion is not wasted by detaching the elements.
- pre-ready. The elements are attached to eachother. This results in irregular shaped fragments once the explosion occured.
Looking at the rather limited number of sizes of holes in MH17 a R-27 must have ready fragments to meet one of the criteria.
The R-27 is a long range missile and the maximum vertical distance between fighter and target is such, that a SU-27 could be flying below the Rostov radar horizon and reach MH17. I am not sure what kind of guidance is need to guide the missile to an aircraft flying at 10km like MH17 did.
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