Good article. And he mentions this:
Nobody else has yet noticed that Donetsk manufactures SAMs,
or that there are several other potential sources and varieties of
The Russians are sticking with the Su-25 idea, and haven’t
corroborated the Su-27 story, making it seem much less likely.
These SAM systems were manufactured in Ukraine for Russia over the last several decades.
It’s entirely likely (IMO) that the semi-legitimate Kiev government cooked up this incident as part of an ongoing effort to draw Russia into the fray. They have BUKs as well. And was it really necessary for Kiev Air Traffic Control to send MH17 over a conflict zone?
By the time the 777 was in Kiev’s airspace it was already on route to go through the Donetsk region.
I won’t say it is impossible that this was Kiev trying to make the Rebels look bad, but it is unlikely. By far the most likely scenario is some poorly trained Rebels who have been suffering under Kiev’s total control of the skies finally got their hands on a proper AA missile system and failed to follow proper IFF procedures (which isn’t so crazy when you consider that the rebels have no aircraft) and shot down foreign civilians with only their second missile.
I note that in the news today the Rebels have apparently gotten their AA missiles back and are shooting down Ukrainian military aircraft again.
Really? You do know that there are hundreds of flights that fly over this region and have for years. Kiev has nothing to do with it.
In order for Kiev to have pulled this off, they would have had to drag a BUK into rebel controlled territory, fired off a missile then driven it back through rebel controlled territory without any number of spy satellites noticing. Considering they’re military is in shambles, it seems a bit unlikely.
I’ve read the term “cervice ceiling” a lot this week, without exception used to build an argument of “this is how high a SU-25 can fly”. Anyone care to look it up? Because it doesn’t mean what you think it means.
The Service Ceiling is basically the point where your plane doesn’t have enough power to climb any further. The SU-25 doesn’t have afterburners so it basically means “this is how high the plane can go”. The Service Ceiling usually doesn’t account for having extra drag strapped under the wing either. I hope nobody is suggesting that they strapped rockets to a SU-25 in order to get it up to 777 cruising altitude.
But in theory, could an air-to-air missile have a higher service ceiling than the plane it’s launched from?
Yes, although A2A missiles don’t have a lot of extra fuel to climb and extra 15,000 feet to meet the target typically. The only one the Ukraine has that could work has a little firecracker warhead designed to take out fighter jets. This is what the article was talking about. If this theory were true, then we would have expected the 777 to come down in largely one piece instead of disintegrating in midair. The level of destruction of the airframe suggests a much larger explosion, like the one you might get from a BUK. All of the plane launched missiles either don’t have enough range or don’t have a big enough warhead.
Not for a plane with no targeting radar nor larger radar guided missiles. IR targeting would be pretty difficult even at the minimum of the differences in altitude involved. Basically, in this case the range of the missile doesn’t matter. Acquisition is the thing.
And for a sophisticated small IR missile (retrofitted by Macguyver), the warhead would make entirely different patterns on the target. The old frag-warhead missiles couldn’t do it, the newer missiles would be identifiable.
I think technically that is the “absolute ceiling”. The “service ceiling” is the lower altitude at which an aircraft’s rate of climb will drop below a value deemed practical or safe, but greater zero. The FAA for example defines it as
The maximum density altitude where the best rate-of-
climb airspeed will produce a 100 feet-per-minute climb at maximum
weight while in a clean configuration with maximum continuous power.
As a practical matter for a “fighter” that’s slow and wheezy and trying to shoot at something a good deal faster and higher, that is a maximum. We’re talking a matter of a couple minutes at the most of time for the -25 to try to shoot.
It’s basically bullshit. Why the Russians aren’t claiming it was one of Ukraine’s actual fighters, I have no idea.
Because they don’t just make up random stuff? If the Su-25 wouldn’t have been there for a fact, the NATO AWACS would probably have revealed that. Now it’s one thing to suggest the Su-25 could technically have shot the airliner, even if it is ever so unlikely. It’s another thing to make up a fighter that wasn’t there.
You are partially right. Since Crimea, Putin’s regime has been playing the Ukrainian separatists off the west for purposes of realpolitik (a.k.a. “shits and giggles”), not so much (but leaving the door open) for the purpose of actually annexing Eastern Ukraine. So they aren’t always making all their points up. That makes it effective disinformation. They say there was a -25 in the area, implying that it shot the airliner down. Clause 1 is plausible and may have even been true, for a given value of “in the area”. Clause 2 is implausible bullshit.
Because the Ukraine is actually flying their SU-25s on combat missions. The actual fighters are parked in the hangars because the rebels don’t have an air force. It’s a theory that makes more sense to a guy on the ground who sees something with guns and jet engines and goes “That’s a fighter jet, it could have shot down an airliner because that’s what fighter jets do.” The distinction that they’re actually designed for ground attack and would be pretty bad at shooting down a 777 is not something they’re really thinking about.
OK . . .
I’ve been staying out of this page, but the fact is that people DO make up random stuff, and then post it on the internet. When the Russians made their initial claims about the SU-25 they made some patently false statements:
• They called it a “fighter jet” - it’s ground support and lacks the capabilities of a true fighter jet. Just loading it up drops the service ceiling on it to half its unladen potential. It can be used for ground targeting, but has a short range.
• They also posted a graphic that showed it operating above the point should be able to (even fully unloaded), and happily doing so.
• That same picture didn’t even show an image of the right type of plane. They used a fighter jet - a U.S. EF-111 - instead!
So yeah - they lied. My source is The Aviationist, and they don’t like the claim that the SU-25 could get anywhere near MH17 either. The fact is that Ukraine has been using SU-25s to fly reconnaissance in the area for quite a while, and not long before MH17 got blown out of the sky, one of their SU-25s was blown out of the sky - but you probably didn’t bother to pay attention to that.
BTW - just today, two more SU-25s were shot down. They were flying low, at about 6,000 ft. So a handheld could have taken them out - but the one that was hit prior to MH17 was too high for that. That one also required a missile.
I agree. I especially like this part:
If you want to believe the crackpot idea that Ukrainian government were a bunch of sinister schemers who shot down MH17 on purpose, an Su-25 is pretty much the worst armed military aircraft you can imagine for such a task.
“Loaded with missiles and bombs, [the Su-25’s] maximum altitude is five kilometers,” says David Gleave, an aviation and safety researcher at Loughborough University. “We know that MH17 was flying at 10 kilometers high.”
Also, apparently the shrapnel markings on the wreckage pieces are also indicative of a surface launched anti-aircraft missile.
I can see my two friends have already mocked your laughable claim that the Russians don’t make up shit.
Their commentary throughout the Politkovskaya and Litvinenko murder investigations was totally honest… uh huh.
If anyone wants to see what non-bullshitty nice guys the Russians are, read how they treated Politkovskaya in detention in Chechnya: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Politkovskaya#Detention_in_Chechnya
TL;DR Mock execution.
Thanks for that link… very informative.
I also like this bit:
Even more interesting the Wiki page of the Su-25 was edited (by a Russian IP address) to update its specifications…
It wasn’t a gov.ru IP, so at least they learned their lesson from last time.
Edit: I just found this page which has a 10 year history of gov.ru IP anonymous changes to wikipedia.ru. In the context of this issue, it’s pretty telling.
Here’s just a few completely non-political articles they saw fit to change:
*17th Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine
*Leonid Markelov (the guy who supposedly did this:
In early 2005, Markelov drew the ire of the international press when it was alleged that his authorities beat political dissidents and opponents of his governments with iron pipes. Numerous opposition members were beaten badly. No charges were brought to this incident, or for the other crimes of violence
During 2005, the Mari activist and chief editor Vladimir Kozlov was badly beaten by Markelov’s enforcers after he published criticism of Leonid Markelov’s politics.
In early 2006, Markelov drew ire once again in the International press when he charged Vitaly Tanakov for inciting religious, national, social and linguistic hatred after Tanakov published the book The Priest Speaks.
*Naval forces of Ukraine
*North Korea’s abduction of Japanese agents
*Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine
*Economy of Ukraine
*Emblem of Ukraine
36/38 edits to articles that include “Ukraine” in the title were made after April 2014. Totally legit.
^This is just from a cursory glance through a translated version of his dataset.