At January 22 the Dutch Parliament commission for Foreign Affairs held a public hearing of several experts. Goal of the hearing is to get information on circumstances on the shot down of MH17. This information can be used by members of Parliament in a future plenary debate on MH17 in the House of Representatives.
Two experts on air traffic control and air traffic control radar systems were interviewed.
On the photo below Mr Piet Van Genderen is seen on the left. He is working as radar expert at Delft Technical University. On the right Paul Riemens, CEO of Luchtverkeersleiding Nederland (responsible for Air Traffic Control in Dutch airspace).
Main conclusion is that Van Genderen believes it is very unlikely all radar stations were switched off because of maintenance.
A couple of Dutch newspapers reported about the hearing.
Deskundigen: er moeten radarbeelden zijn (NRC)
Deskundigen MH17: ‘Vreemd dat radars uitstonden’ (AD)
MH17-hoorzitting: Alle radars Oekraïne uit? Vreemd! (RTL)
’Vier civiele radarsystemen bij MH17’ (Telegraaf)
Mister Professor Ingenieur Piet van Genderen is a radar expert. He did a couple of statements.
- primary radar images are very much required for the investigation into where the missile was launched from
- he did an investigation into the radar systems of civil airtraffic control only.
- he did not investigate military radar systems
- Four primary radar stations must have been able to detect a missile. Van Genderen used Google Maps to locate these radar stations. He was not able to determine if these radar stations were operational at July 17.
- it is weird that all three Ukraine radar stations were down for maintenance at the same time.
- One of the radar stations is the terminal area radar of Luhansk airport
- Two other long distance radar stations in Ukraine could have detected the missile
- One radar station in Rostov on Don in Russia could have detected the missile but less likely
- Those two long distance radar stations are Russian built radars with a limited capability to detect small objects like a missile. Van Genderen does not know if these are upgraded to modern version radar.
- Repair of radar can be done in 20 minutes if sufficient spare parts are available
- it is very well possible that a missile can be detected using the recorded raw radar data
- Radar antenna’s rotate in about 5 to 10 seconds (depending on type). So if a radar is able to detect a missile, it will result in a max of about 3 plots. The duration of flight of the BUK missile was around 30 seconds.
Mister Paul Riemens made a couple of interesting statements:
- when asked how long it will takes to provide radar recordings and communication recordings to an investigation body, Riemens stated that it would take Dutch ATC about one day to provide these.
- in each and every investigation into an aviation incident the air traffic controller is interviewed by the aviation authorities responsible for investigating the cause. However DSB stated that the Ukraine air traffic controller was not interviewed.
Dutch newspaper Telegraaf reported at January 23 that the Dutch Safety Board was not allowed by the Ukraine Air Traffic Control UkSATSE to interview the air traffic controller who controlled MH17! This post has some more details on weird managemeny by UkSATSE.by