Check 6 Podcast: Malaysia Flight MH17 Shootdown

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Our editors discuss why MH17 was flying over a war zone when it was shot down.

The shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine stunned the world. But in this incident, answers are emerging much more quickly than they did in the still unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Flight MH370 earlier this year. In this week's Check 6 podcast, Aviation Week's Editor-in-Chief Joe Anselmo delves into the incident with Amy Butler, senior Pentagon editor, who quickly confirmed with U.S. sources that flight MH17 was downed by a surface-to-air missile. Jens Flottau, managing editor for commerical transport, joined to answer the question of why the airplane was flying over a war zone in the first place. 

Discuss this Blog Entry 8

on Jul 19, 2014

One thing is clear: It was NOT an interception.
Most likely it was an board explosion.

on Jul 21, 2014

Please don't use this website to tout your own site. Link removed.

on Jul 21, 2014

ELINT taggable thumbprints for the SA-11 system include the Snow Drift, Tube Arm and Fire Dome engagement radars. If it was in fact a later SA-11B or SA-17, there will also be an added 9S36 masted radar.

Getting this complex to stage a coordinated, standalone, engagement will generate a definitive 'surveillance/acquisition -> engagement -> SARH Flood illuminator sequence which will be fairly easy to tag.

Though, against such a high altitude target, it would generally be better if there was a separate 2D/3D EWR to provide initial track cueing.

If it was in fact an SA-17 Grizzly, the possibility also exists of a mix of SARH and ARH weapons with the latter leavened into the mix to provide multi-target capabilities and not requiring as much total tracking support.

My own opinion is that this is a frameup. A weapon of the appropriate class-type was launched guided via remove illumination to an impact which was certain to happen because the Airliner was the intended target all along. The SA-11/17 are the spiritual successors to the SA-6 which is a low-to-medium level system, their size and general configuration is similar to that of the SM-1 Standard-MR which is to say a slant range of perhaps 17-25nm, which means that, unless the airliner's ground track was _right_ over the site, it might very well have simply flown out of the engagement envelope.

I think that this is payback for the embarrassment of the Syrian gas release by U.S. backed, Saudi hired, Al Qaeda terrorists.

The outcome of that 'investigation' still being in doubt of ever reaching the public and Russia's snatching Syria from the jaws of the American lion by evacuating her chemical warfare systems while at the same time exposing the London plot to justify the attacks as 'something the Whitehouse would not object to' all humiliated Barack Obama rather seriously (along the lines of Bush II's charge into Iraq in pursuit of WMD).

While I doubt a sitting President would do it, downing an airliner full of civilians might well be within the mandate as scope of operational capabilities for the NWO/OWG body which is and has been for at least 5 decades, the true power behind the U.S. federal government.

In this, it must be remembered that not only is the Ukraine the bread basket for the region but it is also sits in direct overwatch on several ex-Soviet missile fields, making it possible to generate fall-back intercepts in the BPI/API phase using relatively simple SM3IIa/b tactical ground launch interceptors (as opposed to the dangerous trajectory appearance of a GBI as employed in Alaska).

Russia will use nuclear weapons to secure the Ukraine before letting Western Presence into their central defense zone.

That said, any action which back-foots Russia into a staring contest with NATO leads to a likely check-block as the U.S. generates a 'new reason' to go into Syria and the exits from as airspace over the Black Sea are blocked by naval blockade.

'And then it was only one.' Iran. As a nation whose Al Shahab trajectories are also compromised by a northern encirclement strategy of MPI missiles.

Beyond all this, look to the UN. They are the viral cell cluster which will bloom into OWG and one of the ways they have tried to bankroll such an effort into legitimacy has been through what amounts to 'safety' tariffs and fuel taxation of routes used by air travel.

A large number of shootdowns over what should have been an OEZ for ALL air traffic could easily be the cue to start a program to internationalize air transport around new regulation and systems.whose compliance and installation would be secured by 'removing the burden of authority' from multiple national and commercial agencies to ONE point of control.

on Jul 23, 2014

"My own opinion is that this is a frameup. A weapon of the appropriate class-type was launched guided via remove illumination to an impact which was certain to happen because the Airliner was the intended target all along. The SA-11/17 are the spiritual successors to the SA-6 which is a low-to-medium level system, their size and general configuration is similar to that of the SM-1 Standard-MR which is to say a slant range of perhaps 17-25nm, which means that, unless the airliner's ground track was _right_ over the site, it might very well have simply flown out of the engagement envelope."

RANGE(R)-ALTITUDE(H) ENVELOPE for SA-6 GAINFUL (old Western book) :

"AGAINST THE TARGET"(main mode)

1.R=26 km((14 nm)/H=9000 m(29 527 ft)
2.R=20 km((10.8nm)/H=4000 m -13000 m (13123 ft - 42600ft)
3.R=10 km (5.4 nm)/H= 1200 m - 13000 m (3937 ft- 42600 ft)
4.R=0 km/H= 1000 m - 12500 m (3280 ft - 41010 ft)

"FROM TARGET" - no practical meaning ...

Lots of room....even for GAINFUL...

on Jul 22, 2014

The route was approved by Eurocontrol ATC, safe per ICAO, IATA. However the airline has a responsibility to apply contingency planning as is done with high terrain on a route. Escape routes are planned by an airline to cater for the event of engine(s) failure or a depressurisation over areas of very high terrain.

Therefore it is no excuse to say that the route was approved by the Eurocontrol ATC. It must be assumed that an engine failure or depressurisation can occur at anytime. A B777 at a cruise altitude cannot maintain normal cruise altitude with a 50% loss of thrust due to an engine failure. At the sort of weight at that stage of flight, the one engine inoperative maximum altitude would have been in the region of 20,000 to 23,000 feet (depending on actual weight and air density). The point is that it is not relevant to say that as the upper limit of the war zone is 32,000 feet and as the aircraft was at 33,000 feet it was therefore, "safe". No consideration was given to a possible engine failure, depressurisation or cargo fire, requiring an immediate descent and placing it well with the assumed missile range. As we now know, 32,000 feet was a painfully flawed assumption in any case.

This route was taken for purely commercial reasons, now the airline is hiding behind an ATC approval. Since then, they have also flown over Syria.

on Jul 22, 2014

The case is undeniably a rocket attack of Russian origin ! Whether Terrorists , Separatist, or Russian military shot these innocent people aboard this neutral aircraft, is really of no great significant issue to me! Those whom own sell and disperse these weapons ! Whoever significantly must own up to the responsibility for the grave consequences that they may reap. That's it that's all ! Simple but true ! Russia and Putin have absolutely no out! And the rest of us had better get with the program from here on out!

on Jul 22, 2014

Do not misunderstand the horrible sadness that I| feel for all involved with this horrific assault and injustice on freedom and democracy. May freedom Reign !

on Aug 6, 2014

Wow. A huge explosion in the air would certainly have some smoke in the trail no? Blow up a commercial Jet @ 32,000 feet and see no smoke when it's on the way to the ground? Im not saying there should've been a trail from a rocket, i'm saying that there should be some smoke from any part of an exploded aircraft falling to the earth. Prior to the explosion on the ground there is no smoke in the sky(from an already exploded aircraft)

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