We’ve all heard about the sad tragedy that befell the MH17 flight and how the plane crashed while the incident claimed the life of everyone onboard. Now that we are recovering from the shock, the question as to what caused the crash is being researched upon and there are many theories out there. The most probable and logical one is about a surface-to-air missile taking out the Boeing 777. It is being said that the missile used was the Soviet-built BUK missile launcher.
The BUK missile system is also known as the SA-11 Gadfly and was created back in 1979 by the Soviet Union in order to tackle aircrafts, cruise missiles and even drones. In Russian language ‘BUK’ means ‘beech tree’. The BUK missile system is composed of four missiles that are integrated onto a turntable which gets mounted on a tracked vehicle and a separate vehicle brings the radars to the play. The BUK missile system is capable of carrying up to 70Kg of warheads that are highly explosive and is capable of firing off missiles that can hit targets at heights up to 75,000 ft.
The BUK missile system requires 5 minutes to warm up and 12 minutes to reload. How long does it take to reach its target? 12 seconds. Once it is up there, the kill percentage is 90-95%. According to experts, if MH17 crashed because of BUK then it must have exploded somewhat 20 meters away from the plane. The explosion would have resulted in the ignition of the fuel that was located onboard the plane and that must have led to complete destruction. According to an anonymous but senior Defence source; ‘These (BUK missiles) can be fragmentation or incendiary, depending on the target you are flying at. They can cut an aircraft in half, set it on fire or provide large pieces of shrapnel that shred it apart.’
The missile has been narrowed down to Mach 3 semi-active homing 9M28M and apparently, was launched from the rear of a truck with a range of 3-20 km. The seeker located on the missile would have received information from the separate vehicle about the plane’s trajectory.
The Anonymous source further said; ‘Aircraft don’t fly along doing nothing, they talk to people, they communicate via radio, they transmit signals. If you are linked in to a national or standing air traffic system you’ll know what aircraft are flying around you. If this was what people are saying it is, then it wasn’t linked into that system or they just ignored all of that information available. Once the radar on the system has found an aircraft it guides the missile to it. Why did it not know it was a civilian airliner? It sounds like someone has made a mistake.’
According to witnesses, the wreckage from the plane is lying in an area of about 9 miles. Justin Bronk who is with the Royal United Services Institute said; ‘My personal hunch is that given the military setbacks that the separatists have suffered of late, and the Ukrainian military’s increasingly confident use of airpower, Russian authorities decided to send a few SA-11 systems across into the Donetsk area. However, I also highly suspect that the separatists did not intend to shoot down an airliner, but probably thought they were targeting a Ukrainian transport at high altitude.’
Our heart goes out to the families of the victims of this horrific accident and we’ll continue updating you with any other news that is released. You can view more pictures of the crash site here