Ukraine Air Traffic Control likely did not have primary radar available at time of MH17 shot down

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Update February 3, 2016:

My believe documented in this post turned out to be correct. The Ukraine ambassador to the Netherlands told on tv that three radar stations were not able to detect MH17 or any missile. The first radar station was destroyed ( Artyomovsk). The second radar station had maintenance (Tsjoegoejev ) and the third did not have enough range to detect MH17

ambassador-artyomovsk radar-tsjoegoejev


Ukraine Air Traffic control authority UkSATSE likely did not have primary radar operational over the area where MH17 was shot down at July 17.

However Dutch Safety Board in their final report stated that Primary Radar was unavailable due to scheduled maintenance.

Dmytro Babeichuk, the acting general director of the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise (UkSATSE) stated this in an article dated June 25 2014.

“We are only determining the priority order as of today, but it is already obvious that the infrastructure at the Lugansk and Donetsk airports have been seriously damaged. We have a problem with air navigation in Artyomovsk because it has been taken out of action,” the acting head of UkSATSE said.

At a public hearing by the Dutch parliament Eurocontrol stated that it will verify with Ukraine which messages Ukraine sent to Eurocontor about status of radarstations in May, June and July 2014.

Mr Sultana of Eurocontrol also stated: if a radar is not functioning the state should report that to Eurocontrol because of capacity. Ukraine did not report that.

Air traffic control is done using two types of radar:

  • primary radar sends out a signal. It detects any object large enough  and within range of the radar beam.
  • secondary radar detects objects equipped with a transponder. These are civil aircraft and some military aircraft operating at civil airways. Basically only military transport aircraft are equiped with a transponder.

Primary radar would be able to detect military fighter jets. Secondary radar is not able to detect fighterjets.

At June 16 2014 aroud 17:00 armed men destroyed a radar antenna near the village of Zaitsevo Artemovsk according various news websites. This radar station is used for long range radar detection.

The type of radar at Artemovks is identified as ТРЛК-8 

This is a brochure of the Infra Primary Radar ASR-12

Around July 10 2014 the radar for Donetsk airport was destroyed


At July 17 the terminal area radars (short range radar antenna located at airport) of Simferopol,Donetsk and Luhansk airport were not available because these had been destroyed!

According this document the radar station identied as ТРЛК-8 provides both Primary and Monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR) radar. Google Maps shows two types of antennas. (source)

The modernization of Ukraine radar can be read here.

An additional indication primary radar was not available for the air traffic controller responsible for MH17 was the conversation between Ukraine and Rostov ATC.

Dnipropetrovsk (DNP) requests the controller of Rostov ‘Don’t you observe anything on primary?’

So this leads to the conclusion Dnipropetrovsk controller does not have primary radar available.

Dutch Safety Board reported in the final report that Ukraine primary radar of UkSATSE was unavailable because of scheduled maintenance. It did not mention anything about primary radar no being available in the days before or after July 17.

DSB did not state in the final report they interviewed the air traffic controller who controlled MH17 at July 17. Later, in a public hearing at the Dutch Parliament Erwin Muller, boardmember of DSB, stated he was not sure if DSB interviewed the air traffic controller.

Some more information at and here

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6 Comments on Ukraine Air Traffic Control likely did not have primary radar available at time of MH17 shot down

  1. False flag operations are successful by reversing cause and effect. Ukraine could have attacked its own radar station and then let weblogs tell the story. If they planned to (let) shoot down a passenger plane they definitely would ask Rostov for information. It is not that I think this all happened, but there is no proof of trustworthiness of Ukraine. Trust is hard to gain but easy to lose. We don’t trust anybody, only facts.

  2. Do you really believe Ukraine destroyed its own radar station just because they already planned to shoot down the Malaysian plane a month later?

    I would say it the other way: There is no proof of trustworthlessness of Ukraine. Trust only facts, and the facts tell you Ukraine had a singe functioning primary radar capable of seeing the situation at the crash site — at Chugujiv, as they put it in the table, or Chuhuyiv or Chuguev in other possible renderings, not far from Kharkiv / Kharkov. So it’s highly plausible that exactly this one of about 18 functioning Ukrainian primary radars might have been on maintenance that very day.

  3. „MH17 radar images anonymously emailed to survivors foundation
    The foundation representing the relatives of the victims of flight MH17, Stichting Vliegramp MH17, received three anonymous emails containing stationary radar images of the airline disaster, broadcaster NOS reports.
    The origin of the emails is unclear. They contain texts in Russian and Ukrainian. The foundation had experts look at the images and they determined them authentic. The emails will be given to the Public Prosecutor, who will determine whether they can be used in the criminal investigation into the disaster. (..)
    The relatives believe that the US is in possession of radar images, based on a 2014 statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry in which he says that they saw the take-off, trajectory and hit. According to NOS, the American images were not made available, because the country does not want to make known how it came into possession of the images.“

    Appropriately copied here the Liane Theuer’s post

  4. Here’s the original Dutch item at NOS:

    A strange thing is, no one has published the images that were supposed to be sensational.

    “Were supposed” — because they are not any more. The Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office said the images had been long known and contained no new information. In Dutch:

    So, no sensation this time.

  5. Radar images sent anonymously to Stichting Vliegramp MH17 were already known to JIT according to Dutch prosecutor at Januari 14, 2016.

    Well, then there might be something rotten here.

    Anonymously? So it came from frightened Ukrainians? Is the MH17 investigation a bad joke? Why all these communication errors?

    Did someone earlier made the silly mistake to send radar images to the wrong Dutch entity, to DSB? And did DSB not publish about these radar images in their report? Have writers in the rebound felt urged to send the radar images directly to Stichting Vliegramp MH17? Is this a cry for help? Dying truth in the desert?

    As said, this definitely means these radar images are from Russian or Ukrainian radar. It might be secondary radar images but what if it is primary surveillance radar information from Ukraine? Then Ukraine has lied. It also could be Russian primary surveillance radar photos saved from the trash.

    After all DSB has concluded earlier in their report this might be hot information. Because it possibly does not agree with the conclusions of their report.

    But then we have got a political problem. Is someone lying on this scene? It might be someone earlier has got Ukrainian primary radar images what JIT does not want to acknowledge and which information was not published in the DSB report. Because Ukraine said it had no primary surveillance radar data available.

    We already know satellite and / or radar information of the USA likely influenced the conclusions of the DSB report. But we don’t know how. We also know the DSB report has some scientific status which is the foundation of the work of JIT. So, JIT might be in trouble too.

    Besides radar information from the Americans – which we do not have – we are very curious about any radar images from the other side, which we apparently have. Why not published in the DSB report? Why not published by JIT today?

    We don’t mind what JIT thinks already to have as information. We don’t have it. So I urge the Stichting Vliegramp MH17 to disclose all data including the enclosed letter immediately.

    Otherwise anonymous senders will lose patience and publish the data by themselves.

    [De Onderzoeksraad Voor Veiligheid (OVV) heeft onlangs nieuwe informatie binnengekregen met informatie over MH17, een brief van zijn Russische evenknie. Dit heeft een woordvoerder van de OVV bevestigd na berichtgeving van RTL Nieuws. “Die bekijken we.” Over de inhoud van de brief wil hij niets zeggen.]

    [The Dutch Safety Board (OVV) recently received new information with information about MH17, a letter from his Russian counterpart. This is a spokesman for the OVV confirmed after a report by RTL Nieuws. “We will see.” About the contents of the letter he wants to say anything.]

    Ah, they are communicating anonymously these days? JIT, has this to do anything with the radar images? Or is this the well known Russian reaction on the DSB report?

  6. “So I urge the Stichting Vliegramp MH17 to disclose all data including the enclosed letter immediately.”
    They definitely should, especially as.they ate now cleared to publish it, as it was said to them that information is not secret or new

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