Ukraine Possessed the Type of Missile System Which Shot Down Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17

The Use of an SA-11 Missile Fired from a Buk Missile System Proves Nothing

The American government and media are loudly proclaiming that it must have been the Russian loyalists within Ukraine who shot down the plane because they possessed the type of missile used in the attack: SA-11 missiles fired from a Buk missile system.

Of course, the Ukrainians possess them as well.

As the Council on Foreign Relations notes:

All three regional actors—Russia, pro-Russian rebels of the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” and the Ukrainian government—had access or potential access to this weapons platform.

Reuters points out:

As Russia and Ukraine trade blame over the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian airliner, they appear to agree on one thing: the type of Soviet-era missile that brought it down.

But if an SA-11 Buk missile, known as “Gadfly” in NATO, struck the aircraft and killed all 298 on board, that won’t solve the mystery of who did it: Russia, Ukraine and Russian-speaking rebels have all claimed the missile in their arsenals.

Former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry explains:

Ukraine, after all, was part of the Soviet Union until 1991 and has continued to use mostly Russian military equipment.

For example, here’s a Ukrainian state company BOASTING about their Buk systems and SA-11s … complete with pictures:

The Ukrainian military also admits – after denying it for 8 days – that it accidentally shot down a Russian airliner in 2001, killing all 78 passengers, using a different missile system.

But – say American talking heads – it came from “rebel-controlled territory”.

Maybe … but last time we heard that kind of claim, it turned out to be totally false.

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  • ClubToTheHead

    Ha HA! Stupid American talking heads thinks everyone was born yesterday!

    How could news people be so ignorant of their own profession?

    Forgetfulness must be highlighted on their resumes.

  • Rehmat

    All we can do is to wait until the dust settle-down. In the meantime, here is some food for readers’ thought

    1. The government in Kiev was installed by Washington and is supported by Washington. The CIA-advised Ukrainian army has Russian S-300 surface-to-air anti-aircraft batteries known as BUK M1.

    2. On July 3, 1988, America’s USS Vincennes shot-down Iranian passenger airliner Flight 655 by firing two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles killing 290 people on board including 66 children an crew of 16.

    3. The Father of modern Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohammed has long been awarded the title of anti-Semitism by the Jewish Lobby for criticizing Israel and believing that Jewish Lobby has too much power in the US.

    4. The director of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s department of consular service, Andrii Sybiha, said that taking MH-17′s flight recorder out of Ukraine would be considered treason.

  • NoBusiness1

    There’s an article in the Daily Mail presenting photos showing that the pro-Russian separatists have at least one Buk launcher that was seen in the same area as the crash the day prior to MH17 crashing.

    Note that the launcher has an integrated search and target-engagement radar within the fairing protruding under the front of the missile racks so can independently carry out engagements without dedicated area-search radar and requires no support vehicles to successfully detect and engage a target.

    So where did it come from and who’s was operating it?

    If Kiev had lost any of its Buks they should say so now. And if they can account for all of their pre-war Buks units and launchers still and prove they still have all of them in their possession, then they should do so now.

    That would be the best way to establish if the separatists have obtained them from presumably Russia, if they now have them (as the photos show).

    If the Ukrainian military has lost Buks to the separatists would the Ukrainian air force be flying around the area, or surprised by recent military aircraft shoot downs?

    If they knew the separatists had their Buks then why would they immediately presume to blame the Russians for launching a long-range SAM from Russian territory last week, if they knew it could have come from a Buk instead?

    It appears Kiev was genuinely surprised by a longer-ranging engagement missile because up to this point they seem to have believed the separatists did not have Buks and could not have them because the Ukrainian military still possessed and controlled all of them.

    In that case, yes, Kiev would at that point be thoroughly convinced Moscow was involved in supplying the rebels with Buks, which were then improperly used to shoot down MH17, without identifying what the radar contact was they were firing at. Which is something a professional military would not risk doing without first obtaining direct confirmation of the identity of the target – especially if it was flying in a civil jet-route and profile. From the altitude and heading the contact was on it should have been completely obvious that there was a real possibility this was an airliner.

    So I can’t see how anyone who fired a missile at it can hope to wiggle out of doing that, as whoever it was they clearly should not have fired.

    And I’m not going to be buying into any conspiracy theories anyone presupposes must be the case.

    I also want to clear-up one point that’s repeatedly being made on some of the conspiracy-addict sites where ignorant people are claiming this jet was flying provocatively low.

    That is not so.

    This jet was a 777-200 ER model with various seating configuration possibilities, namely:

    314 (3-class)
    400 (2-class)
    440 (maximum)

    Note also that it can not carry both its maximum fuel and its maximum passengers. So in order to reach maximum ranges it must carry max fuel and 50 to 100 fewer passengers. And if max passenger numbers is desired then its fuel load must be much lower than max, and its range much abbreviated as a result.

    This jet’s maximum range (at maximum fuel and available payload weight) is 7,725 nm or 14,310 km (or 8,892 statutory miles).

    And the most direct great circle distance from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is 5,533 nm or 10,247 km.

    Plus twin-engine ETOPS operation requires a minimum of 180 minutes of mandatory fuel reserve be carried.

    The typical cruse speed is Mach 0.84, or 490 knots (905 km/h), at 35,000 ft (11, km).

    Thus 180 mins of reserve fuel equates to 3 x 490 kt = 1,470 nm of reserved range reduction.

    Thus the total range available was 7,725 – 1,470 = 6,255 nm.

    So the aircraft would have been almost full of fuel, plus near or at its maximum takeoff weight, and operating towards the limits of its extended range envelope in that takeoff state.

    The point I’m making is this jet was heavy with fuel, passengers and luggage. And when a jet is heavy at the beginning of a long distance flight, to the other side of the world, it is common practice to stage its ascent, i.e., to start the flight down low (28k to 32k ft is typical), and as the fuel burns down the jet becomes lighter so it then does a pre programmed stepped “flex-climb”, to as high about 41,000 ft, into a far more efficient fuel-burn altitude.

    This is by far the most efficient long range fuel burn profile, start low and slow, and end it high and fast.

    If you question this, read this link:

    “As an aircraft burns fuel it gets lighter and can cruise higher where it is generally more efficient. Step climbs or cruise climbs facilitate this. VNAV can determine where the step or cruise climbs (where the aircraft drifts up) should occur to minimize fuel consumption.

    Performance optimization allows the FMS to determine the best or most economical speed to fly in level flight. This is often called the ECON speed. This is based on the cost index, which is entered to give a weighting between speed and fuel efficiency. Generally a cost index of 999 gives ECON speeds as fast as possible without consideration of fuel and a cost index of Zero gives maximum efficiency. ECON mode is the VNAV speed used by most airliners in cruise.”

    … and this one, if you want more detail;

    Thus flight management systems routinely integrate this staged climb to higher altitude as ALL long range airline flights progress, reaching maximum height and speed during the last hour of the flight. Thus in the first third of any long-haul flight a jet will almost always remain far lower than you would think. The heavier it is the lower it cruises.

    So no one should be even a little bit surprised that MH17 was still at a low-ish altitude as it passed over Ukraine, given it was still full of fuel and had a cabin full of passengers and luggage.

    This is what you should expect and no conspiracy implied in that altitude at that point in the flight.

    On the contrary it was flying at the most economical altitude for this jet, and it would have been very for it to be at a significantly higher altitude at that point.

    It’s the FMS computer on the flight deck that controls the economy of the flight profile flown on all long-haul flights today. The pilots do not decide on these altitude changes. The FMS gives the pilots cues when to step climb higher, and the pilot then asks ATC for a clearance to climb to that altitude when the FMS says it is time to do so. It is then up to ATC to try and accommodate the climb, or else delay it due to traffic deconfliction and separation requirements.

    • Ирина Лапханова

      The most disturbing in this situation is that the Ukrainian side is spreading hundreds of fake videos all over the internet. For example the one you mentioned about BUK presumably possessed by the rebels. It appeared on the Youtube with the title “Rebels get rid of BUK which is going towards Russia from Snezhnoe” something like that, then it appeared to be shot in the different area in Krasnoarmeysk which is controlled by the Ukraine army. Locals recognized their city, here it is

  • Cole

    The questions that is being avoided is why was the jet was above a war zone to begin with? From what I read three planes (2 cargo and 1 fighter) were shot down just that week. Ukraine air traffic controllers guided the plane to, or over that area. I also understand this is a regular route flown by the airline and its previous 10 flights traveled well south of the war zone. This doesn’t pass the smell test if you ask me…

  • preserver3

    Then why did the Separtists post on Twitter that they’d shot down an An-26, and then delete the post when they found out it was MH-17? Seriously, this isn’t just random rantings about a plane full of dead bodies like the Russian media is spreading, this is an accidental shoot down by Separatists armed by the Russian military with a weapon they never should have sent.