Netherlands largest newspaper “Telegraaf” reports on MH17 missing radar recordings

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At December 24 Netherlands  largest newspaper De Telegraaf publishes an article titled “Radarimages MH17 missing

This is an interesting article. Not for the content as all what is written in the article was known at October 13 after the publication of the final report on MH17 by the Dutch Safety Board.

The interesting aspect of the article is the timing. It appears over 2 months after the publication of the final report.

At December 15 Telegraaf published a similar article titled “Issues with MH17 evidence“. The article in fact did not contain any news facts. It was full of suggestion that evidence could have been tampered with by the Ukraine secret service.

The final report clearly states the radar images of primary radar of the Ukraine airforce and the Ukraine civil airtraffic control were not available. The first because the military radar was switched off, civil primary radar was off for maintenance at July 17.

So maybe Telegraaf gets the feeling something is not right about the MH17 investigation.

Back to the missing radar images. Both explanations given by Ukraine are very unlikely. First of all why would the airforce turn off primary radar in times of war? The reason Ukraine provided was that no military flights were planned. However many eyewitness have told they saw one or more military aircraft flying over the area where MH17 crashed. Even when no Ukraine flights were planned, it is not likely radar is switched off.

Civil radar have many hours of Main Time between Maitenance. It would be a very big coincidence that at July 17 radar was in maintenance.


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25 Comments on Netherlands largest newspaper “Telegraaf” reports on MH17 missing radar recordings

  1. The “truth seekers” still calculate the probability of the Ukrainian primary radars being switched off and only secondary ones left working but for some strange reason they do not even wonder why Russia has not provided any radar data at all! — except for a video replay of the radar screen which, by the way, excluded any role of an imaginary Ukrainian plane in MH17 being shot down.

    Is the reason of the actions of Russia (that did have all the radar data but “has just deleted” them) that its radars have “seen” the ‘Buk’ missile launch from within the territory occupied by combined Russian-separatist forces?

    • Prosto Tak:

      Russia is not an official party to the incident, so it is not incumbent on Russia to provide radar data. That is a very simple and legalistic explanation that everyone can understand.

      The only reason Russia is involved in the investigation is because of the suspicion of the use of a BUK missle, which they manufacture.

      All the rest is simply a series of accusations against Russia with less than zero evidence. Given that, why would you expect Russia to raise its hand and assist its accusers in any way? That is like expecting a defendant in court to provide the necessary evidence to the prosecutor. The prosecutor should be able to prove his case on his own if he is going to call someone to judgement.

    • I recall seeing a presentation of Russian radar in which an aircraft was identified as “military” because it was not identifiable. It was quite a long presentation, should still be available on Youtube. I’m still waiting for anything from US radar or audio between MH17 and the control tower. Recently I saw an Australian prosecutor question evidence from the inquiry and autopsies showing a lack of shrapnel He clarified a few other things too related to conduct around the MH17 site.

  2. James O'Neill // December 25, 2015 at 6:27 am // Reply

    @Prosto Tak. That is unmitigated nonsense. It is in any case a distraction from the real missing evidence, and that is the US satellite imagery that the Americans refuse to release. It is not too difficult to infer the reason for their refusal.

  3. > Russia is not an official party to the incident, so it is not incumbent on Russia to provide radar data
    why would you expect Russia to raise its hand and assist its accusers in any way?

    — Wrong. That would be correct for a criminal case, like the one now being prepared by JIT.

    However, in the civil aviation safety inquiry led by DSB there were no accused, but there exist firm rules set up by ICAO. These rules directly prescribe to keep information that might be relevant for the investigation.

    In the episode with the radar data, Russia blatantly broke the rule. While Ukraine said they did not have the primary data at all, just secondary {which they provided), Russia showed they had had all the data (by supplying the video replay) but said the data had been deleted, like “oh, we didn’t think it might be important.”

    And I can suppose the data actually contained some information which might be unpleasant to Russia itself, that’s the real reason they broke the internationally accepted rules.

  4. Ukraine puts air defense alert “number one”

    It was 5 days before

    • I am ‘Eugene’ too, but a different one. As I’ve already made quite a few comments on this website, and you’ve only made your first one, could you kindly change your nickname in future postings. Thank you.

  5. Prosto Tak, The DSB report does not say that Russia deleted the primary radar raw data. It only says that Russia did not not store it. That could mean that it was never saved in the first place, and therefore not possible to delete.

    Unfortunately the DSB report doesn’t contain any details about how this raw data was stored or processed, even though that data could have provided crucial information.

    That seems a lot like the lack of information about the damaged cockpit parts, which were described as just not present or not accessible to the investigators. Hundreds of pages in the report but almost nothing about missing crucial evidence.

    All that was said about the absence of Russian raw radar data was that Russia only felt obliged to store radar data for its own territory, and not for Ukraine where the crash happened (see p. 166- 167 of report). The Russians might have assumed that the Ukrainians would save all the data for Ukrainian territory.

  6. The timing of the shutdown of Ukrainian primary radar for ‘maintanance’ seems even stranger if you consider that it was just after allegations of attacks by Russian aircraft in the days before 17 July.

    Ukrainian Defense spokesman Andriy Lysenko had said that the shooting down of an An-26 military transport aircraft near Luhansk on July 14 might have been carried out by “air-to-air homing missile that was fired from a Russian aircraft that had scrambled from the Russian airport at Millerovo”.

    Kiev also blamed the Russian Air Force for the deadly bombing of an appartment block in Snizhne on July 15, because they said it could not have been the Ukraine Air Force that did it.

    They also said that a Russian military aircraft launched a missile strike against a Ukrainian Su-25 on July 16.

    If Kiev really believed it was under attack by Russian aircraft for three days in a row, you would expect them to keep their radar fully operational on the following day, 17 July 2014.

    • I think it is pretty clear to almost everyone that Ukraine made that up. It is very likely that their radars did work, but the data contained something Ukraine did not want to show.

      I am an air-defense officer in reserve (to be honest, though, I don’t remember much from my training 20 years ago) and my intuition suggests that you keep your radars operational mainly not to support flying your own aircraft, but to detect the enemy. Days after an enemy showed up in the sky, as Ukraine officials claimed, switching off radars for “routine maintenance” would be either an indication of a complete incompetence or an act of sabotage on the part of Ukraine military staff. Either way it is extremely unlikely.

      Russia, on the other hand, withheld their raw data to counter a falsified Ukraine radar data if it was ever presented. As a defending side they can morally do that.

      • Eugene, again: Russia may become a “defending side” in a criminal investigation but it was not in the civil aviation security inquiry — in which, according to very clear and strict ICAO rules, it was obliged to keep all the radar data that might be relevant to the crash.

        So, I think it is pretty clear to almost everyone that the Russian claims of “just having deleted the data,” or, in Brendan’s version, “just did not store them” (which makes absolutely no difference, the result of both deliberate actions is absolutely the same: there is no data any more) are made up to cover some information that would have ruined all Moscow’s theories.

      • It’s not clear if Russia withheld any raw data, unless I’ve missed something. That data might not even have been automatically recorded, as I said above.

        As for the Ukrainians, they’re only falling into their own trap by making so many allegations against Russia. The only way they could explain the coincidence of their radar maintanence on 17 July would be to say “well, we didn’t really believe what we said about Russian air attacks in the days before”.

        • Thanks.

          One more interesting bit of info. Another air-defense officer in reserve (just like me) and an acting air-defense engineer (unlike me) did some analysis of Ukraine military radars in the area. On GoogleEarth one can see that they span, so did work.

          Knowing the radar capabilities (I actually worked with a similar radar to that) he showed that the radar could easily see a Buk missile, if it was there. So Ukraine would have known exact launch location and path of the Buk missile. Without a doubt Ukraine would use that information source if it was real.

          The post:

          • Eugene, your link goes to nowhere (just to a forum page but not to a specific post). But, as you describe it, you must be right: without a doubt Ukraine would use their radar data about the ‘Buk’ missile if they had them. So, it’s most possible they just didn’t have it in fact.

          • > your link goes to nowhere
            The site seems to number pages differently on a mobile phone. Set your browser to “desktop mode” or use the link
            (mobile only)

          • The post 440
            (2015-12-25 17:44:40) includes screenshots from Google Earth 48.097521N 37.756697E, called in that post Спартак (Spartak) location (by the name of nearby village). The shadows on the screenshots “rotate” depending on time of day, radar antenna doesn’t really rotate. It’s the same ruined military base
            (2.5 km from the runway of the ruined Donetsk airport) as detailed in
            Photos of the ruined Buk TELAR at that ruined military base:
            All working equipment was evacuated from that military base in advance before the Russian+separatist occupation of Donetsk.

            At the time of MH17 crash Ukrainian army had a Buk division including a TAR (Target Acquisition Radar) near the runway of the Краматорск (Kramatorsk) airfield 92 km from MH17’s last FDR location (way out of Buk missile range):
            I don’t know whether that TAR was turned on on July 17.
            Note that that pro-Russian forum mentions no other Ukrainian military radars in the area. Perhaps none?

            Primary and secondary data for ATC (Air Traffic Control) come from same radars, it’s just that each radar has larger range for secondary than for primary. Primary data is reflection from airplane skin; secondary is from airplane transponder (orders of magnitude more powerful than passive reflection). The ATC radar in Donetsk region was destroyed on June 16, 2014:
            and a comment on
            The ATC radar in Kharkov region
            is 228 km from the last FDR location.
            266 km between last FDR location and Dnepropetrovsk.
            Possibly the last FDR location is out of primary range of all working Ukrainian ATC radars. Secondary is enough for routine ATC. Possibly the phrase “routine maintenance” is misunderstanding, the Donetsk radar was non-operational because destroyed by “DNR” bandits, the area occupied (so Ukrainian ATC cannot dispatch a repair team).

          • To Lena:
            > The shadows on the screenshots “rotate” depending on time of day, radar antenna doesn’t really rotate.

            “doesn’t really rotate”? An antenna either rotates or does not. It cannot be “slightly pregnant”.

            In fact the most images of the antenna at Spartak were taken at roughly the same time of day as the shadows point in similar directions, which you can verify by looking at a tallish construction nearby. The fact that antenna’s shadow does look differently with roughly identical sun direction is already an indication of the antenna rotating.

            The images do lack resolution to tell with absolute certainty, but I can pick two best looking images where the antenna is pointing in almost opposite directions, on 30th May and 27th July:
            So does the antenna “really rotate”?

            > At the time of MH17 crash Ukrainian army had a Buk division including a TAR (Target Acquisition Radar) near the runway of the Краматорск (Kramatorsk) airfield 92 km from MH17’s last FDR location (way out of Buk missile range). I don’t know whether that TAR was turned on on July 17.

            You are missing the much more powerful 19ZH6 antenna standing right next to Buk TAR. This one matters a lot more than the Buk radar.

            > Note that that pro-Russian forum mentions no other Ukrainian military radars in the area. Perhaps none?

            Bullshit. Shell I point you the very word in the post I linked above where it mentions that 19ZH6 antenna near the Kramatork airfield?

            The rest of the Lena’s comment is the usual info-warrior rhetoric, not worthy of replying. He/she is a well known info-warrior never shy to bent the facts to defend the pro-Ukrainin pov.

        • > That data might not even have been automatically recorded, as I said above.

          — It was. Both the secondary and the primary data from Russian radars that had been automatically recorded were used to produced a video replay, the only radar data thing Russia supplied to the investigation. However, after producing the replay they were deleted as “irrelevant.”

          • @Prosto Tak
            Please read the appendix for the reason Russia did not supply primary and secondary radar recordings.
            Mind the shot down happened above Ukraine controlled airspace.

            Don’t you think it is strange/suspicious both Ukraine military and civil radars were switched off in a full war situation?
            On top of that: Dutch government does not want to sent a letter of complaint to both ICAO and UN. Why not? A good reason would be to object not to comply to ICAO rules.
            It would show Dutch government does all it can to get to the truth.

          • Prosto Tak,
            The video of the radar screen image was recorded at the time of the crash – that’s what the Russian MoD presented a few days later. The raw data was used to create those images in real time on 17 July but that does not mean that it was also stored.

            Raw primary radar data consists of a huge amount of information on the spectrum of the reflected radio wave every second. In normal circumstances, that can be discarded immediately after it is processed in real time to produce the radar screen image, because it’s never used again.

            Nowadays it’s a trivial task to store huge amounts of data, but when that radar system was created, possibly decades ago, that storage might have been done only when absolutely necessary. The Russians might have seen it as unecessary duplication, since the Ukrainians were supposed to save the raw data for their own territory anyway.

          • Prosto Tak // December 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm //

            Admin, I’ve read the appendix and know the official reasons of both countries. For me, both seem equally strange and suspicious.

            But from the Russian side, it’s moreover still a breach of ICAO rules despite of the lame Russian “excuse.” As for Ukraine, don’t forget the secondary radars were still on.

            So, while Ukraine’s actions may be called “strange and suspicious,” Russia’s actions are the same and, in addition, counter the international rules.

    • Of course we all know that Russia did not shoot down any Ukrainian planes on July 14 and 16, the AN-26 was shot down by rebels with MANPADS or Strela-10, the SU-25 was in all likelihood shot down by a rebel BUK, and that Ukraine itself bombed Snizhne on July 15, most likely trying to attack rebel air defense assets. Lastly Ukraine had BUKs in the field on July 16-17.

      The Ukrainians obviously had primary radar turned on on July 17 – hundreds of civilian planes were transiting the eastern part of the country in multiple directions and military sorties were flown in the afternoon. They simply are not providing the recordings which they most certainly have in both civilian and military recordings. Similarly, it is not believable that the Russians failed to keep primary radar of the most significant aerial incident near their country in three decades. They don’t feel obliged to provide anything to help an investigation whose sole aim is to make them the guilty party.

      Everyone can draw their own conclusions from this, but I have a hard time believing this isn’t the correct outline of events.

      • So Ukraine claims primary radar of military was switched off as no military flights operated on July 17.
        That is very easy to check. JIT talks to eyewitness asking what they saw. There are many who reported aircraft.

        It is suspicious DSB did not talk to eyewitness on the ground, did not talk to air traffic controllers.
        Waited so long to collect wreckage.
        It just seems DSB did not want to collect too much evidence.


        • > That is very easy to check. JIT talks to eyewitness asking what they saw.

          It is unlikely that JIT will question the ground witnesses either as this will completely ruin the case. The official reason will be: too much time has passed.
          Andrew Donoghoe: “the passage of time degrades memory, as does exposure to other stimuli before and after the incident … But we don’t have an ability to go back to the scene to do our own inquiries. We can’t go east of Kiev.”

          • Prosto Tak // December 30, 2015 at 1:41 am //

            OK, now, the fifth attempt to publish my answer. The four previous ones have been blocked for some unknown reason. I doubt I broke any rules with it.

            The witnesses have very different accounts depending on which version they personally believed. You may be pretty sure most “witnesses” at the occupied territories (and that’s where it all happened) still believe in the Russian TV versions, and one of them still is that the Ukrainian ground attack plane had shot MH17 at 10 km altitude (though it has been debunked many times).

            I will maybe never forget a “first-hand witness account” by a man who claimed to have personally and very clearly seen as much as even the “rotating propellers” of a Ukrainian fighter jet plane flying in the clouds at 10 km altitude at the time when MH17 was shot down!

            By the way, we do not know what JIT have done. As for DSB, they have clearly stated that questioning witnesses was outside of the scope of their investigation. Indeed, while MH17 was definitely shown to have been shot down by a ‘Buk’ it is absolutely irrelevant whether any imaginary Ukrainian ground attack planes were flying anywhere nearby.

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