Ukraine experts carried out a BUK missile explosion test

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Update July 15 20:33

In the meanwhile the pressrelease which was online here has been removed for unknown reasons.

An archive of the pressrelease can be found here. 

A copy of the photos part of the pressrelease are here, and here

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Ukraine ” Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Expertise” recently carried out a missile explosion experiment to document the effects of a BUK missile explosion on an aircraft. The experiment was done in cooperation with the Ukraine Ministry of Justice for the MH17 criminal investigation.

The experiment was attended by representatives of the Australian and Dutch police as proven by a photos. According the pressrelease of the Research Institute also a representative of the Belgium police attended the experiment.

The test had a number of objectives, such as:

  • to visualize the impact of the warhead and missile explosion on the plane hull
  • to either confirm or refute the interposition of the plane and the missile at the moment of explosion (the rendezvous point) suggested by prior calculations,
  • to determine the zone of spread of warhead and missile fragments, their number and density of their impact on the modeled cockpit,
  • to study a change in the trajectory of fragments after their encounter with the plane hull,
  • to determine the degree of deformation of fragments, etc.

In 2015 Almaz Antey, the manufacturer of the BUK system, carried out a similar test. AA used a part of a IL86 aircraft for the test. Journalists, nor experts of JIT or DSB attended the experiment for unknown reasons. Likely because nobody was invited.

On the photo below the man second from the right is wearing a short with logo of Dutch police. The man fourth from the right wears a shirt of AFP Australian police.

The pressrelease (copy here)does not say that Malaysian police attended the experiment. Which is strange as Malaysia is supposed to be a full member of JIT. The aircraft shot down belonged to a Malaysia based airline.

I requested the spokesman of Dutch prosecutor what the role of Malaysia is in the criminal investigation. Mr. De Bruin of JIT did not provide me an answer. See this blogpost.

The pressrelease which can be read here (orginal was deleted, archive here) shows images of the experiment. We see two half circles of aluminium plates. In the middle some containers and what appears to be a wooden construction to hold the BUK missile.

Another photo shows the situation after the explosion.

JIT spokesman Wim de Bruin stated when asked that the so called arena test was carried out in the last two weeks (so from beginning of July to mid July). The reason this arena test was done only after two years since the shot down is that “forensic investigation is done in phases. The next phase can only be executed when information required for that test has been collected” according De Bruin.

The photo indicates by the writing on the left panel that the test was done around July 7, 2016. Which is interesting as JIT at June 3 2016 stated the first results of the criminal investigation will be announced after summer.

The EXIF information indicated the photos were made at July 13 2016. (source)

JIT suggested by the statement below that the delay was caused by Russia not yet supplying information.

In particular, these issues concern some points in the analysis of the forensic investigation and information which has been requested through several requests for legal assistance. The JIT is still waiting for information from the Russian Federation about BUK installations.

The head of the Kiev Research Institute for Forensic Expertise, Oleksandr Ruvin, survived an assassination attempt when unidentified assailants attacked him in Kiev on November 19. (source).

The man in the blue shirt is very likely Oleksander Ruvin. The shirt has the Kiev Research Institute for Forensic Expertise initials on it. The white badge could show his name.

ruvin

The Kiev Research Institute for Forensic Expertise played a major role in the investigation done by DSB and JIT. For example the institute made a calculation where the missile could be launched from.

Ukraine media reporting about the experiment here  and here.

The setup of this experiment is not clear. A poster at mh17.webtalk.ru suggested that various plates represent various parts of the aircraft. The plates indicated in green could be the cockpit. So far the construction does not make sense to me.

Interfax reported in english language about the arena test:

The experiment engaged the following competent entities: Yangel Yuzhnoye Design Bureau (Dnipropetrovsk), Makarov Production Association (Pavlohrad), State Research Institute of Chemical Products (Shostka), Luch (Kyiv), Antonov Design Bureau (Kyiv), Artyom Machine Building Company, Ivan Kozhebub Air Force University (Kharkiv) and Kyiv Polytechnic Institute National Technical University of Ukraine (Kyiv)

Everything necessary for modeling the explosion which caused the MH17 flight crash in the first arena test staged in Ukraine was made in Pavlohrad. Original live Buk missiles were assigned for the testing. A cockpit mockup and target layout elements were deployed on two separate platforms. Experts installed photo and video cameras and 3D scanning devices in the same spots.

The value of the test done by Ukraine is questionable. When AA concluded certain things based on their experiment the response of the Dutch Safety Board was that a test “performed in a stationary situation on the groud is completely different from the detonation of a warhead at an altitude of about ten kilometers”. See appendix L of the DSB “about the investigation” document page 97.

dsb-response-to-aa-test

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60 Comments on Ukraine experts carried out a BUK missile explosion test

  1. Somehow I am expecting our posters of high integrity to say that the test is null and void because it was not broadcast on live TV.

    • Contrary to the test carried out by Almaz Antey, the test by Kiev Research Institute was attended by Dutch and Australian police (confirmed by photo) as well as Belgium police. Where is the Malaysian police BTW?

      • I doubt those policemen would come to the AA test given that the DSB nor ICAO were interested in the AA test when AA spoke about offering such a test to help with the investigation back in June 2015.

  2. “When the experiment was carried out is unknown. As everyone is wearing short sleeve shirts it could not have been in winter”

    That looks like 7.7.2016 written on plate nr. 28. And it must have been some time in the middle of the summer, because of the very short shadows of the people in the other photo.

  3. I’m going to be too technical for a bit. The article says that the goal was to better determine the detonation point. I guess our attempts to uncover the DSB fuckup in that area might have given fruits. Now they’ll again have a choice, either to match the hole density of the Buk or the opening angles of the shrapnel beam. If they use the former, they’ll again get the DSB point, if they use the latter, they’ll get closer to the AA point, but not all the way to it (because the AA point was calculated by stringing, which is warhead-independent, and not by the opening angles (and the real warhead was not Buk)). As getting closer to the AA point will make the original fuckup with the detonation point less pronounced, I predict, that this is what they are going to do. This way they’ll equalize two opposing bads: hole density from the new obtained position will look too high for a Buk, but the stringing will be violated less. Nevertheless, this will be just maneuvering to make the warhead type rigging less obvious.
    I want to make a couple of predictions:
    -From the Ukraine test we will get much less public information than from AA. I hope we’ll see holes, but am not sure we are going to get such a generous opportunity.
    -People who criticized AA for the lack of the public information and transparency, such as admin and sotilaspassi, will remain quiet about that for the Ukraine test.

    • Eugene: People who criticized AA for the lack of the public information and transparency, such as admin and sotilaspassi, will remain quiet about that for the Ukraine test.

      Nonsense. See my remarks in the post about the absense of Malaysian police. And why is this experiment done only two years after the shotdown?
      Mind this test is part of a criminal investigation. So we cannot expect the results to be made public before the court case. Just be happy Ukraine shared this news.
      Please be sensible on this.

      • > And why is this experiment done only two years after the shotdown?

        Yes, the DSB should have done the test. A possible reason that the test is done now is the desire to improve the DSB finding. As I kept saying, the two most obvious flaws of the report were the wrong detonation position and the lack of the bowtie holes on the wreckage. The new investigation will improve on the former a bit. But what they are going to do about the bowtie holes? The only thing that can do about the lack of the bowtie holes is not to show the results of the new experiment, so that people are not reminded of that. Especially now, when they have a genuine reason for that – the ongoing criminal investigation.

    • sotilaspassi // July 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm // Reply

      Let’s see what comes out.
      (so far it seems less than what A-A published, hopefully those Kiev dudes do not write it all in Ukrainian)

  4. I think the fat man in the centre is Ruvin

  5. Boris Badenov // July 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm // Reply

    “Ukraine ” Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Expertise” recently carried out a missile explosion experiment to document the effects of a BUK missile explosion on an aircraft.”
    But from looking at the photo they did not use an aircraft in the experiment??
    Did they use an aircraft but just not give a photo of it?

    • Obviously they did not use an aircraft. Just plates to show the effect of the shrapnel.

    • Using a real plane would be, of course, better as it would allow to see the damage cover area. The new test by Ukraine will only give information about the hole distribution and how the holes look. They seem to be using aluminum sheets from the industry. That’s good.

    • Another article contains what looks like a much better translation than Google of the press release by the Research Institute. According to Interfax, they used more than just plates. Apparently they did two separate tests, something like what A-A did:

      “Everything necessary for modeling the explosion which caused the MH17 flight crash in the first arena test staged in Ukraine was made in Pavlohrad. Original live Buk missiles were assigned for the testing. A cockpit mockup and target layout elements were deployed on two separate platforms. Experts installed photo and video cameras and 3D scanning devices in the same spots.”
      http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?id=688407

      • If there was a plane involved, the press release would likely have a picture of it. Their “cockpit mock-up” probably consisted of those plates marked C1,C2,C3,D1, which are seen on the picture standing seemingly without a clear purpose.

        • I agree with you. They could show a picture of the cockpit mockup before the detonation without revealing too much information on the results of the arena test. I am very surprised that this test was carried out two years after the shot down.
          what does it tell?

          • Slozhny // July 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm //

            It tells that JIT realized that Almaz-Antey had lied about parameters of explosion of Buk warheads, and they decided to check that independently at last. Any other rational versions?

          • If AA had indeed lied, then we’ll hear about this from Rubin at some point, I guess.

        • I’ll be surprised if the Ukrainians pubicly present a test on anything that’s too pathetic and embarassing, like a cockpit mockup made from square plates. And the Dutch and Australians would not want to be associated with something like that either. Someone would have to do a lot of cutting and bending of plates to even come close to the shape of a 777 cockpit.

          If they were going to do a DIY mockup of a cockpit it would be better to cut and weld together something out of a huge roll of aluminium sheeting.

          • Brendan // July 15, 2016 at 6:42 pm //

            The simplest thing to do would be to get a decommissioned Boeing, which would not be very expensive. An Irish businessman paid just 20,000 Euro for a thirty year old 767-200ER. That’s basically a smaller version of the 777-200ER on flight MH17.
            http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/family/photo-that-left-onlookers-baffled/news-story/56e2211bb24552d8cd8863f1c8c13f98

            Even fully operational ten year old 777-200’s can be got for around $10 million (the MH17 aircraft would now be 19 years old). Delta Air Lines said last December that they bought one for $7.7M.
            http://www.seattletimes.com/business/deltas-ultracheap-used-777-deal-pushes-boeing-stock-down/

            That’s not a small amount of money, but it’s a small fraction of the cost of the search for MH370 in the the southern Indian Ocean. That’s expected to cost well over $100M without any guarantee of finding anything (nothing has been found by scanning the ocean in more than two years so far).

            It’s even smaller when compared to the billions in lost trade due to sanctions against Russia, which were introduced in July 2014, partly because of MH17.

            So apart from the need to find out who killed 298 innocent people, it would be worth it on purely economic grounds to carry out a test to fire a Buk missile at a 777, and not just a decommissioned one on the ground but one flying at high altitude.

          • Brendan:
            So apart from the need to find out who killed 298 innocent people, it would be worth it on purely economic grounds to carry out a test to fire a Buk missile at a 777, and not just a decommissioned one on the ground but one flying at high altitude.

            I am not aware of a B777 kit which enables a remote contol of the aircraft. I have seen tests with a remote controlled Boeing 777.
            The costs to enable remote control of a B777 , make it fly,launch a missile and remove the debris would be enormous and not practical.

          • Brendan, good points. 777 is over 20 years old, so there must be planes close to being decommissioned (actually many of near-decommissioned planes are operated by Ukrainian airlines) and available very cheaply.

  6. Wind Tunnel Man // July 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm // Reply

    It will hopefully be very interesting to hear if the fragmentation spread angles from a stationary 9N314M warhead are very similar to those claimed by A-A. If they are, then in a case of a 9M38M1 missile traveling at approx 600 m/s intercepting MH17 traveling with an indicated airspeed of 293 knots at an altitude of 32998 feet with a magnetic heading of 115 degrees and position of 48.12715 N 38.52630538 E, that might substantiate A-A’s view that if it was a 9M38M1 and the “lancet” fragmentation spread was formed it must have approached from a more southerly direction than that claimed by the DSB.

    • Yes. That’s why they’ll be very careful about what information is released to the public. Ideally none.

      • Wind Tunnel Man // July 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm // Reply

        It’s further confirmation of the “lancet” form fragmentation spread that is created from a moving 9M38M1/9N314M after detonation that has always been of great interest to me. One would assume that such a “lancet” form can be calculated from the findings of a stationary test?

        I believe the DSB only used theoretical results for their warhead detonation characteristics and resultant fragmentation spread, with a theoretical moving missile, rather than calculate a probable fragmentation spread from an actual stationary missile.

  7. Kemet has found more photos from the test:
    http://mh17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=417&p=3#p49294

  8. They already deleted that post from site?

    Kemet found exif-info from photos like dates:
    http://mh17.webtalk.ru/viewtopic.php?id=417&p=5#p49294

  9. Liane Theuer // July 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm // Reply

    According to Interfax : „Original live Buk missiles were assigned for the testing.“

    Where did these missiles come from ?
    As we have learnt Ukraine does not have the 9N314M warhead.
    Another Ebay auction ?

    To convince a judge they have to test all possible warheads : 9N310, 9N314, 9N314M and 9N318.
    And they have to exclude S-200, S-300, R60, etc.

    But if the test shows, that bow-tie holes are visible in the hull, then they have to exclude 9N314M warhead as no bow-tie holes were seen on MH17.
    But unfortunally I suspect Ruvin has planted the two bow-ties… and now he oversees this arena test…

    • @Liane:you wrote: As we have learnt Ukraine does not have the 9N314M warhead.

      Did I miss something? Where is confirmed/stated Ukraine does not have 9N314M warhead?

      • Here Ruvin himself says that the bowties can only be found in Russian missiles (sorry, no English translation)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkh_MSb1P64
        I am beginning to get afraid that they exploded a non-bowtie warhead. At the same time, the video seems to show a 9N314M (the white tip), while saying that 9N314 is a red tip (if I am interpreting the video correctly).

        Another interesting thing is that they film inside an Il-86 (there is one in Ukraine in storage), which they could have used if they wanted to show that AA was cheating.

        • sotilaspassi // July 18, 2016 at 6:11 am // Reply

          Previously it has been said that red tip indicates that the missile tip has protective cover on. But perhaps that was false info…

      • Liane Theuer // July 16, 2016 at 9:29 am // Reply

        @Marcel:This sentence was an allusion to the confusion which several Ukrainian officials and journalists have created on purpose.
        They need a pretence to speek out the sentence „which Ukraine doesn´t have“.
        So they create the illusion : Bow-ties blame Russia and not Ukraine.
        But warhead 9N314 can be used in a 9M38 missile and fired from a BUK M1, which Ukraine has :

        Warhead 9N314 (with bow-ties)can be used in :
        a) Missile 9M317 = BUK M2 or BUK M1-2
        b) Missile 9M38 = BUK M1 or BUK M1-2
        BUK M2 = Russia
        BUK M1-2 = Russia and several other states (Ukraine denies to have it)
        BUK M1 = Russia, Ukraine and several other states

        In an extra post I give some examples how to confuse the public.

  10. The plastic-like sheets attached in front of the alu sheets have wires attached to them.
    http://www.dsnews.ua/static/files/gallery_uploads/images/pavlograd1.jpg

    I guess that’s to measure the time for the fragments to reach the sheets thus determining an angular speed profile.

    Another guess is the cockpit mockup was constructed around the white water tanks.

  11. Are the results of this test what the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia was referring to, when he said something would be published on Friday? BTW the ambassador to Argentine stated the JIT would still need a few month to finish it’s investigation.

    Is the fact that Ukraine did this test shortly before the termination of the JIT investigation a hint that Ukraine is discontent with the results reached so far? Somehow it would make more sense to do such experiments in the early stages of the investigation …

    • No. The pressrelease was published on Thursday. Also there were no results.
      This is not a hint Ukraine is not satisfied. It makes more sense Dutch prosecutor is not convinced about DSB results, or wants to do an independant, more scientific experiment iso just a software simulation to verify the current believe.

    • “BTW the ambassador to Argentine stated the JIT would still need a few month to finish it’s investigation.”

      The Malaysian Transport Minister is quoted today as saying that they expect results “by the later part of this year”. The headline says “by year-end”:
      http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/07/158667/mh17-preliminary-conclusion-forensic-research-expected-year-end

      On a different subject, my reply above got blocked but I was basicaly saying that a 777 in a missile test should be just set to autopilot instead of being remotely controlled.

  12. “The value of the test done by Ukraine is questionable. When AA concluded certain things based on their experiment the response of the Dutch Safety Board was that a test “performed in a stationary situation on the groud is completely different from the detonation of a warhead at an altitude of about ten kilometers”.”

    I found the Almaz-Antey experiment very unsatisfactory too. Apart from the fact it was done to test a detonation which was at the wrong location relaive to the aircraft, it was difficult to factor in the static nature of a test. The static test was an inaccurate simulation of a fast moving target being damaged by an even faster moving missile.

    I suspect that Ukraine and the JIT would be able to adjust their own experiment and then interpret the results to prove whatever they want. It might be difficult to prove them wrong because it would be a very technical task to convert those results into what would happen in a real missile strike.

  13. Liane Theuer // July 16, 2016 at 9:33 am // Reply

    How to confuse the public about the warhead :

    Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET
    „Moreover, both in the Boeing and at the crash site remnants of the latest Russian anti-aircraft missile “Buk-M1-2” were found. Ukrainian anti-aircraft forces do not possess this kind of weaponry. (..) As a result, Russia was the first to say the Boeing had been shot down by a Ukrainian missile “Buk M1”. And then, the Ukrainian experts provided results of a chemical analysis of the rocket striking elements and proved that metal composition was identical to that of Russian missile “Buk-M1-2,”
    http://en.censor.net.ua/news/347485/russian_experts_admit_mh17_was_downed_with_buk_butusov

    The falsehoods are:
    1) Buk-M1-2 is NOT the latest Russian anti-aircraft system
    2) Buk-M1-2 is NOT a missile but a launch system
    3) Ukraine denies to have the Buk-M1-2 system, but they possess the 9N314 warhead.
    4) Rocket striking elements come NOT from a system but from a warhead, which Ukraine has.

    Yurii Butusov, Censor.NET
    „NATO intelligence services have carried out a large-scale parallel search of modern Russian ground-to-air missiles submunitions. By an operation the details of which have not been yet disclosed, a warhead of a Buk-M1-2 missile of Russian production fell into hands of investigators. When it was disassembled, it turned out that submunitions that hit the Boeing are exactly the same as those of the warhead of this modern Russian anti-aircraft missile. Buk-M1-2 complex was developed in 1997, supplied to the Russian Armed Forces in 1998, and never delivered to Ukraine.“
    http://en.censor.net.ua/resonance/328926/submunitions_of_russian_missile_bukm12_aka_sa17_which_downed_the_malaysian_boeing_mh17_exclusive_photo

    The falsehoods are:
    1) „ a warhead of a Buk-M1-2 missile“ is wrong ! The warhead is no indication for the launch system.
    2) „warhead of this modern Russian anti-aircraft missile“ is wrong. 9N314 warhead can be used in other launch system too.
    3) „ Buk-M1-2 complex never delivered to Ukraine“ – even if that would be true look at point 1 and 2.

    Translation : “Striking elements of the Russian anti-aircraft missiles 9M317 extracted from the bodies of the crew and the ship hull.
    This is extracted from the aircraft striking element and a full-size counterpart, extracted from Russian missile anti-missile system “Buk M1-2″ sample in 1998. In Ukraine, the missile is not supplied, but in other countries – yes.”
    http://uainfo.org/blognews/1437135312-vina-rossii-prakticheski-dokazana-neoproverzhimye-uliki.html

    The falsehoods are:
    1) DSB never said that a 9M317 missile was used but a 9M38 missile. 9N314 warhead can be used in both missiles.
    2) „In Ukraine, the missile is not supplied, but in other countries – yes.” This formulation is desired to eliminate Ukraine as perpetrators. But look at point 1.

    “Judging from the hourglass shape, we see all the characteristics of the impact of a 9N314 warhead fragment, ” De Larrinaga said, referring to the model of warhead used on many Buk 1-2 system missiles. He added that it came from a Buk-9M317, the modern version of a Buk 1-2.”
    http://www.nltimes.nl/2015/03/19/russian-buk-missile-took-out-mh17-dutch-forensic-researcher/

    The falsehoods are:
    1) „warhead used on many Buk 1-2 system missiles“ – the warhead is used on other Buk systems too.
    2) „Buk-9M317, the modern version of a Buk 1-2″ – That´s utter nonsense ! 9M317 is a missile and Buk 1-2 is the launch system.

    • So many Ukrainian sources refer to Buk M1-2. I liked the following sentence: “By an operation the details of which have not been yet disclosed, a warhead of a Buk-M1-2 missile of Russian production fell into hands of investigators”. The operation was apparently so secret that they are not even going to share a picture of the warhead of a Buk-M1-2 that they managed to get hold of. Reminds me of Slozhny: “I was told a secret, here it is, but I am not going to tell you who told me”.

  14. Liane Theuer // July 16, 2016 at 10:48 am // Reply

    Why are three faces blurred out in the photo ?
    Is it even a secret who attended the test ?

    • Stay reasonable Liane. I am sure you perfectly understand why faces are blurred. We happy that Kiev shared the information.
      I guess they regret now as the pressrelease has been removed.

  15. sotilaspassi // July 26, 2016 at 6:35 am // Reply

    +one reason for further tests could be to see the spread pattern and effects of secondary fragments.

  16. New video about “Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Expertise” from Inter TV: https://new.vk.com/video7639768_170779207

    On 3:41 – 4:05 Ukraine expert talking and showing that they disassembled BUK’s rocket, done chemical analysis of MH17 debris’s and found a match (see packets on the table and chemical analysis on PC monitor).

  17. New rus videos from “Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Expertise” with many interesting details (maybe someone can create eng subtitles?):
    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkh_MSb1P64
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuRkch8e2ZU

    Some info:
    – One BUK rocket and one warhead was blew up at the landfill;
    – On production site was disassembled two BUK rockets: 9-м38, 9м38м1;
    – JIT/DSB have two BUK rockets and one warhead on the warehouse.

    • sotilaspassi // August 2, 2016 at 8:08 am // Reply

      “One BUK rocket …. was blew up at the landfill;”

      Nice. I want to see the spread pattern and damage from secondary fragments!

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