Last week, Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 near its border with Syria after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace for several minutes. Since then the regional tensions have escalated and the two regional powers have blamed each other for trying to counter the air campaign against the IS militants in Syria with Russia the more ferocious of the two. Turkey claims that Russian planes have been violating Turkish airspace for quite some time and it was a last resort to protect their aerial integrity. Just like any conflict, polarizing accounts have been narrated by both the Turks and Russians. Majority of the world is confused regarding the whole situation even when Turkey released a Radar footage of the two aircrafts violating Turkish airspace. Russia vehemently denies this and says that the planes were in the neighboring Syrian territory and may have entered Turkey momentarily. Upon hearing warnings on Radio, they executed a 90-degree turn and were in turn shot by Turkish forces while they were over Syria.
It is hard to find out the truth about the matter for ordinary people, but not if you can use simple Newtonian mechanics from high school to your advantage. These Belgian scientists recently posted a blog at KU Leuven and rubbished both sides of stories via simple mathematics and Newton’s law of motion. After seeing this, you will see that how stupid these claims are, and both of the rival countries must have some nerve releasing cock-and-bull stories to the world.
Russia claims that upon getting hit by the missiles, Su-24s executed a 90-degree turn and crashed nearby. This is just bullocks as these homing weapons don’t have that kind of momentum to make such a sharp curve possible. The only way this could have been possible is if the incoming 100-Kg missile had more momentum than the 15-ton jet fighter flying at just half the speed. Yeah, that’s never going to happen unless the missile comes at Mach 30 or something and that is just insane. So, Russia has been proven wrong on their side of the story, so it is right to assume that the Russian planes weren’t there by accident; they had planned to go there, and they didn’t comply with Turkish orders to back off from their territory.
Next we have the Turkish side of things. The Asia minor nation claims that the Jet was hit eight kilometers from where it crashed into the ground, and it took almost 50 seconds for it to hit the ground. Simple use of Newton’s Third Law of motion shows that the height comes out to be around 4500 meters, which is the same as what the Turks have said it was. So far so good and the next calculation using horizontal distance shows that the speed of the aircraft at the time of the hit was around 980 Km/h.
Now the Turkish authorities claim that the plane was in Turkish territory for about 17 seconds yet they had been giving a warning for 10 minutes while it was near the border. At 980 Km/h that is a perfectly achievable speed for a fighter jet, the Su-24 could have traveled nearly 80 kilometers. How could the Turkish radars predict that the Russian plane would make this minute incursion into their lands when the aircraft was this far away? Unless the Russian plane’s sole purpose was to mock the Turk Airspace, all the warning bit over ten minutes was just nonsense.
Also, the Turks showed us that Russian plane traveled into their space for 2 kilometers. At 980 Km/h, the distance can be covered in just seven seconds instead of 17 seconds as the Turks are claiming. For it to be 17 seconds, the plane has to be traveling at 470 Km/h that isn’t possible, since it was alerted to the incoming Turkish jets around it, and it should have been supersonic (>1300 Km/h) at that time. So, once again the Turk side of things appears to be mocking our common sense.
So, despite the claims by both parties, we now understand that the fault was on both the sides and both of them are trying to meddle in Syria to support their pawns. Russia is supporting the incumbent regime of Assad and Turkey is supporting the rebel Free Syrian Army. But, both of them have a common enemy in the form of ISIS militancy, and they should focus on this international menace instead of sparring with each other on the fate of Syria.