What could be the motive for the shot down of MH17? JIT is investigating to be able to answer this question.
Lets have a look at the possible motives:
- the BUK TELAR crew believed a military aircraft approached. This military aircraft was expected by the crew at the time MH17 approached.
- the crew knew it was a civilian aircraft and shot it down deliberately
- the crew selected a different target at launch but the missile was redirected to MH17
- the crew had no intention at all to shot a missile
Motive 1: Crew believed a military aircraft approached.
By far the most likely motive is that the crew believed the target was a military transport aircraft. The crew was told this transport aircraft would appear in the sky at the exact time MH17 approached.
What are the indications the target was a military aircraft?
- previously an Antonov 26 and IL76 transport plane of Ukraine Air Force were shot down. So these were a targets.
- initially Russian press and Strelkov talked about having downed an Antonov
- Separatists told press that after the shot down they were told to look for parachutes
- Ukraine troops were stuck between rebel controlled area and the Ukraine/Russia border. It was hard/impossible to supply these troops with ammunitation, food and water over roads. So transport flights to that direction are likely.
- Transport planes of Ukraine were based at Dnipropetrovsk. The route from this airbase to the area of the trapped Ukraine forces is exactly as the route of MH17.
Now what tools the crew had available to identify the target?
In this post I explain the crew in the BUK TELAR had very limited information about the target. Initially only direction. After the target was selected on radar, altitude and speed became available. Crew had very little time to decide this was indeed the target they were expecting.
Most likely the crew made a mistake in identifying the target. How could this happen? Several reasons:
- little time. There was little time between the call of the spotter and the time the missile was launched. So the crew hardly had time to make an identification of the target.
- assumption. The crew likely assumpted the target was indeed a military aircraft. Maybe they were briefed by separatists that an Antonov or IL76 flight was planned.
- fatigue. The Russian crew crossed the Russian/Ukraine border at around 00:00 at July 17. They were likely in a VW van all the time. They reached Pervomaiske at around 13:30 or so. The exact time is unknown. The BUK was likely for two to three hours in the field from where the missile was launched from.
- stress. The crew was likely under stress. They expected Ukraine Air Force SU-25 in the area. Ukraine Air Force made many flights on July 16.
- not well trained. BUK crews train in battery operations. That means a commander in a command post instructs the BUK TELAR crew about the target. Now the crew was on its own. Likely crews are not well trained in the autonomous mode.
- spotter mistake. A tapped telephone call suggests a spotter called someone close to the crew of the BUK. The spotter said ‘birdie is coming towards you’.
- Wrong information: crew might have been told by separatists that airspace was closed for civil aviation. Despite many civil aircraft overflew the area, the crew might not have been aware of that. This could result in a believe the target was military. Uncertain is the Singapore airlines aircraft was shown on radar. When narrow zone of 10 degrees on radar was selected, other aicraft were probably not shown.
Motive 2: The crew knew it was a civilian aircraft
If the crew deliberately shot down a civilian aircraft, there must be a motive. I cannot find any motive for a Russian crew to shot down MH17. Ukraine secret service suggests the crew made a mistake and wanted to shot down an Aeroflot flight. This seems a totally unlikely story. The story was invented by Ukraine to frame Russia.
Motive 3: The crew had a different target but the missile was redirected to MH17
The downing of a Siberian Airlines Tu154 was caused by a retarget of a S200 missile. Two missiles were shot at the same target. One missile destroyed the target, the other missile searched for a new target and shot down Siberian Airlines Tu154.
Russian primary radar shows no other aircraft near MH17. So it is impossible the BUK illuminated another target close to MH17, something went wrong and the missile was guided to MH17.
Motive 4: the crew had no intention at all to shot a missile
Someone pressed a button by accident. This is not a likely scenario. After pressing the button the missile is guided by the operator to the target. The missile can manually be blown up by crew in case a wrong target was selected.by