Novaya Gazeta research on MH17 with response of Almaz Antey

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Novaya Gazeta is one of the very few independant newspapers in Russia. It is also one of the very few newspapers worldwide investigating the MH17 shoot down.
This post is a translation of an article published in Novaya Gazeta, edition November 9 2015. The article has a response of Almaz Antey explaining their story.
Thank you  anonymous person who translated this.
Novaya Gazeta investigation, 9 November 2015.

The “bow-ties” case.

The matter of presence or absence of this type of  striking elements is the main issue of the investigation as it allows to determine the type of  the BUK rocket launcher.
Novaya Gazeta is continuing its research  into the circumstances of Malaysian Boeing MH-17 crash in the Eastern Ukraine in summer of 2014  with the help of specialists in rocket design and aircraft experts.
On the 13th October this year,  practically simultaneously, were published the DSB report about the results of their investigation and the AA concern’s  results who conducted a practical test , that imitated the  the warhead explosion near a plane.

From the DSB report:

– the reason of explosion- a warhead 9N314 M of the surface-to-air missile complex BUK ,  striking elements that characterize [this type of a missile] were found
– a point there the missile exploded was calculated with a certainty of a few  metres
–  the position of the missile respectively to the  plane body  at the moment of the warhead explosion was found with a relative precision
– all  other versions – air-to air missile and a bomb inside the plane were refuted

From the press conference  of the representatives of Russian Military Industrial Complex:
-The plane was shot with a 9N314  warhead of a  9M38 missile, the bow tie striking elements were not present.
– According to the modelling of the the positions of a missile and a plane , the missile was launched not from Snizhne, but from Zaroshchens’ke

Let us remind you why those  discrepancies are so important:

The type of the missile and its warhead will allow to determine the type of complex  BUK, if we believe the Dutch, than  Russia has such complexes , if we believe AA specialists, Russia stop  using this type of BUK, but Ukraine has it.

If the rocket was launched from the Snizhne area, it undoubtedly indicates that Donetsk separatists were responsible.  The discussions are still going about who was controlling   Zaroshchens’ke  at the moment when   the rocket was launched.

An independent historian and  aircraft design engineer Mark Solonin published his notes about the Dutch and the Russian specialists work  [ my comments : born in 1958, graduated  from Uni approx. in  1982-1983, worked 4 years according to his education 30 years ago, since 1987  worked  shoveling coal into furnaces of  and did his “historical research”

His main points: 
– yes, Dutch were too cautious in their report, much more was expected of them, but nevertheless a lot was done , the rest of the questions will be answered in the next  International committee report in February 2016.
– The  areas of Snizhne and Zaroshchens’ke , with an exclusion of a small village Marinovka, in July 2014 and nowadays ares controlled by the DPR /DNR.
-the July’s report AA indicated that the  bow-ties were present,  but  in October they refute  this fact, already established by the Dutch. [ manipulation, he did not want to take into the account the practical test that showed what kind of damage can be expected from that particular warhead explosion  from that particular direction and if this damage does not match the experiment , the theory should be adjusted, not the test results ]
–  ” this [particular] spatial distribution of damage could occur only in case of a collision with objects that flew towards the aircraft fuselage on the left, that is from Snizhne”
– As for the practical test- the AA’s model did not accommodate for the  differences in the air density at 10 km height, which is 1/3 of the air density on the ground  Because of the low density of the atmosphere at 10 km height  the aerodynamic drag at 10 km height there will be 3 times different  and this will affect the striking elements dynamics , their speed and energy of the impact with the target.

The answer of  AA:

In connection with the a large number of “expert opinions” investigating the circumstances of the Malaysian” Boeing crash “allegedly refuting the results of full-scale experiment conducted by the specialists of Almaz-Antey , the company explains that those statements of so called “competent professionals ”  that 3 types of striking elements were found in the bodies of the victims and structural components of the aircraft, the ones that were used in the 9N314 M warhead of the missiles 9 M38 M1, “specifically used only in this warhead” bow-ties ” are not reasonable and are not supported by a single fact. The same is applicable to the reported “numerous holes in the form of a shape of the ” butterfly wings” caused by the bow-ties hitting structural elements of the aircraft.” 
AA  welcomes   public interest towards the practical tests conducted by the AA  specialists, designed to find out the circumstances of MH-17 demise  and to confirm or  to refute the data  that was published by the International Committee, investigating the incident. You can find the detailed explanations by the AA specialists  responding to the commentaries , received from the independent observers during the 2 weeks following the AA report release about the results of  series of practical tests.       

DSB did present to AA three elements in the form of “bow-tie”, resembling the striking elements of the 9M9N314 warhead missiles M38 M1. However, the presence of these “bow-ties” among the material evidence presented by the International Commission, raises questions: how, when, where and by whom these striking elements were found.
Full-scale experiments carried out by the experts in the study group, unequivocally confirmed that if Malaysian “Boeing” was shot down by a missile complex “Buk-M1”, then it could be only a 9M38 missile, which has no striking elements in the form of “bow-tie”.

Specialists of the company comprehensibly explained at a press conference on October 13, 2015 that based on the full-scale experiments that confirmed the results of the study, a conclusion was made that “bow-ties” should have left on the outer skin of the fuselage the characteristic holes in the form of a “butterfly”, this type of holes were not found on the Boeing.

On the fragments of the outer skin structure of Boeing-777 (MH17) that were studied by the AA specialists ( on the the pieces of wreckage mounted on the Boeing frame and on the photographs from public source) holes in the shape of “butterfly” were not found.
At the same time there were found the through holes made by the heavy striking elements the size of 13-14 mm.
In Figure 1 shows the examples of such holes.
All 13-14 mm holes on the Boeing-777 outer skin pieces have a characteristic shape – “rectangular prism.” Holes of this shape are usually made by the heavy fraction of warhead’s striking elements, the 13x13x 8 mm rectangular prism of 9N314 warhead, that the outdated models of missiles 9 M38 were equipped with. The appearance of a such striking element is shown at the bottom part of Figure 1.
However, photographs of holes in the shape of “double T” on the structural elements of MH-17 started to appear on Internet . Examples of such “butterflies” are shown in Figure 2..
Those photographs are usually of low quality, not to scale and cannot give any indication about the sizes of those holes.
In reality holes that look like a butterfly are twice the size of the real holes, obtained as a result of the AA experiment ; they are the result of the body of the plane being hit by two-three striking elements simultaneously, it is easy to check by measuring them with a ruler.

The analysis of the holes, that look like a “butterfly”, shows that the ratio of the sides ( height-width) is significantly more than 1:2 – 1:3. It means that those holes were made by 2 or 3 striking elements hit together ( pic. 2A and 2 Б) or by 3 elements (drawing 2В). The red crosses on the drawing represent the direction (orientation) of the striking element when it went through the part of the plane.
The internet “experts” do not bother themselves with performing even simple calculations and are ready to use any photographs found by a search engine in the internet , using the keyword “bow-tie” (двутавр) .
The hole on the picture 2Г is formed as a result of a striking element hitting 2 rivets, that were holding the elements of construction together.
Moreover all those “butterflies” are located on the internal elements of the cockpit equipment , but not on the skin of the plane.
While all the butterfly shaped holes, obtained as a result of the experiment are located on the outer skin and their size were corresponding to the size of the striking element of 13-14 mm.
The first and the second experiments had clearly shown that holes in a shape of a butterfly usually appear ON THE OUTER SKIN of the plane.. The example of such a hole is shown on the bottom right corner of picture 2.
As for the “bow-ties” that the International Investigation team had presented as an evidence, their weight and sizes do not correspond to the real weight and sizes of real bow-ties after they struck an obstacle. Pic. 3 shows a AA presentation slide that compares the data obtained by the experiments with the archived data.
In this case the experiments did not present any new information, they just confirmed the data from the experiments conducted in 1980s , when those striking elements were designed..

” We would like to analyse one particular “statement of one Russian “expert” who used in his model a missile approaching on the angle coinciding with the straight line from Snizhne to Boeing. The model, that was calculated by Mark Solonin, using a sheet of graph paper , a cheap $2 calculator and 15 minute search on the Net , is following exactly the recently revealed Ukrainian Defense Forces model . This model is describing only the damage done to the outer skin , does not take into consideration striking elements movements, so it cannot explain the character of the damage done to the reinforced elements of the plane

The second stage of the AA experiment , which was conducted according to the reference conditions given by the Dutch investigating team, clearly showed that in case of a [BUK] missile shot from Snizhne , the right side of the plane would have had multiple holes going though [the plane] and the glass would have been destroyed in the right hand side windows..
The experiment had confirmed the result of mathematical modelling, that if the missile had exploded on the head-to-head course with a plane, the right side of the plane would have had multiple holes.
The drawing below shows the vectors of the striking elements movement in this case, they are practically perpendicular to the plane axis.
In this case the striking elements cannot go though the ribs of the plane on the left hand side [along the plane], and, moreover, they cannot hit the left engine.
But in reality we see a different picture, glass [in the windows] on the right hand side is intact, there are no holes on the right side of the plane and the left hand side reinforcement ribs have multiple holes.
So, the experiment had confirmed that the missile could not be launched from Snizhne, this version is incorrect, The question why all “couch experts” and “internet specialists” just ignore this particular version is just hanging in the air .
Novaya Gazeta decided to have a break in order to collect all opinions of Russian and foreign [couch] experts in order to study [presented here ] arguments We ask to join us all experts who are interested in the matter in order to continue the investigation after the second part of the Investigation team report will be published in February 2016.”
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11 Comments on Novaya Gazeta research on MH17 with response of Almaz Antey

  1. Gabriele Wolff // November 11, 2015 at 5:01 pm // Reply

    Whoever brought up the rumour that the JIT will publish a report of its findings in February 2016: it’s not true.

    “Criminal inquiry into MH17 crash continues
    October 12, 2015 Interfax, Interfax
    The Netherlands’ Prosecutor General’s Office has denied reports that the results of the criminal inquiry aimed at exposing those responsible for the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine will be published in February 2016.

    There will be no public report of the JIT’s finding at all:

    “An MH17 Tribunal: Why it is Necessary and Timely

    date: 20 July 2015

    Joint media release by the countries undertaking the independent criminal investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
    Consistent with standard practice, and to ensure that future prosecutions are not jeopardised, the criminal investigation is confidential: it will not result in the publication of a report that will be available to anyone other than the prosecuting authority.

  2. I haven’t read the Solonin article, but any reference to difference in atmospheric density is ridiculous.

    The particles are travelling close to 10 times the local speed of sound at that altitude for a distance of under 3 metres. Normal viscosity effects are negligible. All that happens is air molecules are shoved by the particle like billiard balls. The particle flight displaces 500ml of gas or 0.6 grams at sea level vs 0.22 grams at 30,000 feet. The particles weigh 8 grams so approximating the effect at sea level, velocity reduces to 8/8.6 => 93% and at 30,000 feet 8/8.22 => 97%. Actually the velocity reduction is less because most gas molecules are pushed aside rather than forwards.

    When the particles hit structure, the difference between impact velocity mach 9.7 vs mach 9.3 is immeasurable.

  3. So, it seems, RU fuelled distraction via A-A is still working well by taking some effort away from the true open source investigation.

  4. This article is reasonably in line with what we already know and think.

    But I can’t stop thinking:

    One can argue bowties (13x13x8.2) of 9N314M are difficult to see on the hull, and they correspond with cubes (13x13x8) from 9N314. Both warheads also have the same little cubes (8x8x5). But in addition 9N314M has fillers (6x6x8.2). Now we see the frequency distribution of found holes in the hull of MH17:

    DSB says:[The size of the penetration damage indicates that the objects that caused the damage to the cockpit had a size in the range of 6-14 mm]

    Because they measured but one side of shrapnel they run into difficulties of separating kinds of shrapnel. Also diagonals are disturbing. Now it becomes critical if they manage to identify fillers from cubes and cubes from bowties.

    They gave no raw data so we have to infer: There were 350 impacts. In the tabel there are three colums of 14, one colum of 13.5 etc. Hence 350/31=11.3 impacts per column. This add to 354, so with some corrections:

    ============ + (56 impacts >= 13 = bowties)
    10×8=91 X
    8×3=34 X
    ============ + (61 impacts of 8 and 8.5 = cubes)

    6x6x8.2 mm filler
    8x8x5 mm cube
    13x13x8.2 mm bowtie

    As said, they measured but one side of shrapnel so this tabel is worthless. And there also are diagonals as side. So 6×6 filler has one diagonal of 8.5. What we do is we only take equal sides as norm.

    13 and higher is bowties (65). 65/360=.155 bowties (slight underestimation)
    8 and 8.5 is cubes (61). 61/350 cubes, forget about cubes.

    Number of bowties (13x13x8,2) in warhead 9N314M:
    1870/7840= .24 (real quantity)

    Number of cubes in warhead 9N314: 1790 (13x13x8mm)
    1790/6530=.27 (real quantity)

    If we had systematic organized and standard pictured raw data we could add diagonal values etc.

    We only can ask DSB to split the frequency distribution for the left (bowtieand filler) and the right side (bowtie, filler and cube) and show us the significance of their difference. What they already know, or course.

  5. Novaya Gazeta should be read as carefully as any other news source. Russians point to it as proof that they have freedom of the press. But look under the hood.

    How does a newspaper survive that has no advertising revenue? The source is a billionaire Russian oligarch who is former KGB/FSB, Alexander Lebedev. He owns 39%, and Mikhail Gorbachev owns 10%.

    By all means read Novaya Gazeta. But don’t kid yourself that they’ve some kind of bastion of independence and truth.

  6. True. That newspaper does not do *independent* research. They just publish what they are being paid for, like most, if not all, newspapers. The community member gsobjc (you can check his posts on metabunk to see that he’s reasonable) tried to post rather innocent comments questioning some points in the article. He was banned. The paper is not interested in any discussion that does not conform to the PoV they’ve been paid to deliver.

    Frankly, I think, there are very few journalists, who posses a technical mindset needed to tackle the problem. The problem has proved itself to be technically difficult.

    • Yep, I’ve read the comments under the article and they appear to be carefully pruned, as most support one point of view. There are nowhere near insightful and rational comments like you can see on this site. The arguing stile is as usual: pile-up claims, no matter of how little merit, and if someone ever tries to argue from the position of common sense, just pile up more; or just ban.

      Unfortunately, educational level in Russia is somewhat lower than in the West, so the comments such as “the static test air pressure was not right” gives you a longer mileage there.

      • Wind tunnel man // November 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm // Reply


        “the static test air pressure was not right”

        Actually, in a way, that’s true because if we are talking about A-A’s IL-86 test then the target was not pressurized nor was there a 252m/s air flow over the target from front to back. So the resultant damage inflicted on the static IL-86 was probably less severe than the damage to a pressurised flying IL-86 moments after a detonation.

        However, as I’m sure you will agree and despite it’s limitations, that was not the purpose of the IL-86 static test rather it was to indicate the shrapnel distribution that might be expected from a 9M38(M1) missile and 9N314M warhead approaching from the direction of (and range from) an area south of Snizhne.

        • Wind tunnel man // November 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm // Reply

          Sorry: cumputed airspeed of MH17 was approx 300 knots not the ground speed of 252m/s (490 knots) so air flow over a target would be slower.

  7. I want to thank the anonymous person who did the English translation, who I will refer to as Anonymous for the balance of this comment.

    I compared the Anonymous translation to a machine translation ( and found a few things that will help others read and comprehend the Anonymous translation more easily.
    1. Any word or words that appear within brackets [like this] were added by Anonymous.
    2. Immediately following the summary of Mark Solonin’s main points the original Novaya Gazeta article includes two brief paragraphs that are omitted from the Anonymous translation. The omitted material is as follows in the Russian text followed by the Google translation:
    «Новая газета» направила текст Марка Солонина специалистам «Алмаз-Антея» — для ответа на возникшие вопросы. Сегодня мы публикуем (без купюр и какой-либо правки) ответ концерна, поступивший в редакцию.
    “Novaya Gazeta” has sent the text of Mark Salonin experts “Almaz-Antey” – to answer the questions. Today we publish (without cuts and any changes) response of the concern, Received.
    «Алмаз-Антей»: «Экспериментальным путем была подтверждена несостоятельность версии о пуске ракеты из Снежного»
    “Almaz-Antey”, “experimentally confirmed the failure of the version of the missile launch of Snow”
    3. The response by Almaz-Antey which Novaya Gazeta says is uncut and unedited begins under Anonymous’ heading “The answer of AA:” in the red font. The response ends at the next to last paragraph.
    4. In the Anonymous translation the final paragraph lacks a heading that appears in the original Novaya Gazeta article. Here is the heading followed by the Google translation:
    От редакции
    From the Editor
    5. I saw nothing in the machine translation of the Editor’s final paragraph that supports the insertion of [couch] in the translation by Anonymous. That said, I’m not Russian, and I am completely tone deaf to anything that a native Russian speaker would be able to read between the lines.

    Note at item 2. above that “Snow” is how Google translates the Russian word for Snizhne.

    Again, thanks to Anonymous for making an English translation that is more user friendly than the awkward results of a machine translation.

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