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Ukrainian Aircraft down in Iran

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Ukrainian Aircraft down in Iran

Old 14th Jan 2020, 15:14
  #521 (permalink)  
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"To those quoting Occams Razor I ask...have you never seen a transponder fail for reasons other than a missile impact? I have, many times.
Could the flight crew simply have dialled up a wrong squawk code? One that was not on the list of traffic the SAM ground crew was expecting, or did not IFF itself correctly in some way? Would such an error normally be detected?
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 15:35
  #522 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bee Rexit
I am dubious that this is a video of two missile strikes on the Ukrainian Aircraft.
Er, why? Is there something implicitly wrong with anything you see?

Given we know an airliner was brought down by (allegedly) two missile hits, and this video shows that, and we have other camera phone videos that clearly were alerted to something happening in the sky (presumed to be the first missile hit), and then videoed a missile exploding and followed by a fire... what's the problem?

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Old 14th Jan 2020, 15:37
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From Babak Taghvaee's Twitter feed:

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Old 14th Jan 2020, 15:42
  #524 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by OldnGrounded
Or, perhaps, temporarily silenced the transponder to avoid squawking wrong codes while dialing new one received from ATC?
If/when the CVR/FDR data is analyzed, this kind of (usually minor) correction of a squawk could be confirmed or shown not to be in play. One hopes that the CVR/FDR analysis is completed soon and quesstions like this put to rest / answered.

It's possible.

As to Mr Rooney's video/twitverse offering from the Babak account, and Airbubba's posting of what looks to be the same twitmatter: "sources in IRGC/ASF"
As with Western media, sometimes a reporter is protecting a source, and sometimes it's not the full story, and sometimes there's a bit of making stuff up going on.
A grain of salt served for the time being, though this source did provide some useful input early on in the chain of information events ...

As to M Mihajlovic's observation: that a unit can be in an autonomous mode does not mean that it necessarily will be at a given date and time. There are a lot of different ways to put together an integrated air defense posture around one's capital city and around one's operating base.
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 15:48
  #525 (permalink)  
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1. I have no doubt to authenticity of the latest video. It answers a couple of my questions.

2. At heightened alert readiness I have no doubt that missile battery could be in autonomous mode. ie no need to obtain further launch approval if engagement criteria are met. Don't confuse AUTONOMOUS with AUTOMATIC.

3. I do however doubt the order to engage anything coming from S or SE. Why engage targets coming from within your own airspace and why were earlier ac not targeted. More likely instructed to engage tracks on a S or SE TRACK. ie entering your airspace.
Old 14th Jan 2020, 16:21
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Originally Posted by triumph61
Assuming that this video is genuine:

The second missile is launched 12 seconds after the explosion of the first missile. What this tells us is that the system CANNOT have been in automatic mode. If it was in automatic, a second missile would have been selected by the computer immediately upon launch of the first & the thermal batteries (to ignite the solid propellant motor) charged. Upon the explosion of the first missile, if there was still a radar return, the system would immediately launch a second missile (say 2 seconds after the first missile exploded).

This 12 second delay confirms that the SAM operator observed his "C" scope display & assumed he had missed as he still had a return after the first had exploded. He selected another missile and fired but there would be another delay of 3-4 seconds before launch as the thermal batteries ignited. I have no doubt that this was NOT an automatic firing.

Last edited by SAMXXV; 14th Jan 2020 at 16:22. Reason: spelling
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 16:43
  #527 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Bee Rexit
I am dubious that this is a video of two missile strikes on the Ukrainian Aircraft.
That video is absolutely consistent with the engagement of a SAM battery with a civil aircraft.

It was highly probable that at least 2 missiles were fired, that would be the appropriate training for an engagement against a defending tactical target, however the spread time is around 30 seconds, which is longer than would usually be applied.

The first missile burn time is just on 12 seconds, and detonates in the air 6 seconds later, within the max range of the 9M331 missile. About 10 seconds after the detonation the second missile is fired, and that detonates while still under rocket thrust, within the burn time of the same type of missile. That is consistent with the earlier images of the second missile strike against the aircraft.

The intervals between launch and detonation are consistent with a reducing engagement range, the aircraft has closed the launcher such as to reduce the flight time of the missile by ~5.5 seconds over about 32 seconds of launch interval, which gives a higher rate of closure than I expected to see, The launches appear to be from the same area, but could have been from multiple TOR systems, but that is unlikely, tactically the units can be deployed in clusters, but the systems would have had a more deterrent effect if deployed as single independent launcher systems.

Concur with SAM XXV that the launches were manually selected, and not an automatic launch.
The timing interval indicates a manual second launch, deliberate but sadly against a misidentified target.

The early images of the wreckage showed damage consistent with shrapnel, but in areas that were not consistent with a single strike, and with directional witness markings that looked inconsistent with a constant aspect of missile to aircraft. The timing of the first strike is consistent with the loss of ADSB data out.

The video shows the aircraft after the strike, around 45 seconds after the second detonation, and it is tracking well away from the launch site at that time, It goes out of view around 90 seconds after the first detonation. With what appears to be a steep descent, the aircraft is probably less than 45 seconds to its impact at that point, and that indicates a very high speed in the dive, and an abrupt turn towards the NE after the strikes.

Finally, the first missile launch shows what appears to be the ejection charge and then the missile motor ignition, which is consistent with the canister launch process of the TOR system. It may also just be a fluke of image timing, or obscuration by buildings etc, as the second launch shows a similar flash but a shorter period to the SRM ignition. would need frame by frame analysis, but it is redundant, the images are highly likely to be authentic, and show what is expected to have occurred.

An awful sight

Last edited by fdr; 14th Jan 2020 at 16:59.
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 16:45
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Another tweet from Babak Taghvaee. I'm posting screen shots since Twitter links are famous for not rendering properly on some platforms and the links may be soon deleted or blocked.

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Old 14th Jan 2020, 16:50
  #529 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Airbubba
Another tweet from Babak Taghvaee. I'm posting screen shots since Twitter links are famous for not rendering properly on some platforms and the links may be soon deleted or blocked.

Obviously too simple to monitor IKA TWR (118.10) by the defence officers.....
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 17:20
  #530 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by gearlever
Obviously too simple to monitor IKA TWR (118.10) by the defence officers.....
would they speak english so that they'd be able to understand what is being said?
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 17:33
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Originally Posted by Bee Rexit
I am dubious that this is a video of two missile strikes on the Ukrainian Aircraft.
i did wonder a bit to start with, on the basis the aircraft reached about 4700' agl, but the view in the video is roughly level or if anything slightly downwards.

However a look at the map shows the terrain goes to 16,000 at one nearby high point, so a missile station somewhere on the southern slopes would be consistent with something at 8000' not being above the horizon from that point.
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 18:37
  #532 (permalink)  
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RE One or two missiles

Seems to me that the argument- analysis of one or two hits and why ( automatic versus manual ) versus two sites versus flight path versus transponder on off , etc etc ad nauseam may be interesting to some but in reality without actual data etc are obfuscating the only facts that matter

a) At least ONE missile hit the plane and brought it down- NOT a mechanical fault
b) Over a hundred innocent passengers of various nationalities were killed
c) Accidental or deliberate firing of one or two missiles currently unknown- but MAY eventually be verified

ALL else is speculation

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Old 14th Jan 2020, 18:49
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About the last video showing 2 missiles:
"The Times has confirmed that the new video was filmed by a camera on the roof of a building near the village of Bidkaneh, four miles from an Iranian military site".
Link to the article:

Last edited by T28B; 14th Jan 2020 at 19:36. Reason: made link work
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 20:19
  #534 (permalink)  
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I have just realised that the video from the security camera is actually a video of a screen playing back the original recording. Therefore the original recording must be much clearer if ever they can extract it from the security system.
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 21:08
  #535 (permalink)  
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Just heard on the news that one of the guys who shot one of the videos has been arrested....

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Old 14th Jan 2020, 21:47
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I appreciate that not everyone agrees with my view that a full Annex 13 investigation is neither required nor necessary. And if it was my relative or loved one involved, I too would want to know how/why.

This tragic event differs from MH17 and Pan Am 103 in that the causal event for both those needed to be established, whereas it is not the case for Tehran. Until the forensics were done, the exact cause of Pan Am 103's in-flight break up was unknown and there was sustained denial that a missile had downed MH17, so it was unsurprising that the states of occurrence went for an investigation in both cases. In its most cynical interpretation, you might consider that Iran opened an investigation as 'smoke on the objective' until it became obvious that the true cause could not be concealed. Or it may be that the people opening the investigation were unaware of the military involvement and were trying to do the right thing at the time. We will never become privy to that information.

Bear in mind also that there are dozens of Annex 13 investigations into fatal accidents around the world that have never seen the light of day, or which have taken so long that events have faded from memory other than for those with a personal connection. The fact that a safety investigation has been conducted does not mean its results will be made public, especially if it involves a state that consistently flouts international norms.

Despite the importance of 'face' in that part of the world, the Iranian authorities have admitted to a global audience that their military was responsible for the destruction of that aircraft and the enormous loss of life it entailed. They have admitted the engagement was caused by a failure within their command and control system (it matters not how many missiles were fired after the first one, which set the conditions and expectations for what followed) and they will no doubt learn the lessons from it. However, I find it inconceivable that a nation that considers itself beleaguered and militarily threatened by neighbours and others would willingly expose the inner workings and shortcomings of its air defence systems to public and international scrutiny, however much we might want them to do so. The context of this tragedy is important, and it will inevitably affect any inquest into events and the amount of information subsequently made available. You need to put yourself in Iranian shoes.

What matters now is preventing a recurrence. Let the legacy of this disaster be a more responsive system for alerting commercial traffic to areas of significantly increased risk. We do not need to know why, we just need to know when and where to avoid operating That implies a system for getting such information onto the flight deck for those already in the air, and into the flight planning system for everyone else. And it needs to be beyond the decision of operators and instead in the hands of regulators who can make the call unfettered by commercial considerations.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 00:33
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A thoroughly thoughtful post by Fortissimo deserves a thoughtful response, and this is an attempt at doing just that.

Taking few if any liberties with the content, the main point (or certainly one of the main points) is "a full Annex 13 investigation is neither required nor necessary" because, unlike MH 17 and Pan Am 103 where "the causal event for both those needed to be established", in the current case the causal event already is known. While I agree with nearly all the points made, still my contention is that Annex 13 should be "worked" - for reasons other than establishing the causal event.

And yes, even though the standard orthodoxy in public international air law is that Annex 13 was not written for this purpose. In a phrase, both that orthodoxy and the reasoning in Fortissimo's post prove too much (as lawyers are apt to say) - their position does not deal with all possible cases or reasons.

First, some items from the news, both for context and support. Jan. 13, CBC News, "Canada investigates reports that Iran is harassing families trying to repatriate remains of crash victims". Article on CBC website (I don't think I can post links) reported Ukraine's ambassador to Canada had informed Canadian officials that repatriation could take days or weeks, or even months. The article also reported that TSB had sent a team to Iran as well as Global Affairs CA sending its Standing Rapid Deployment Team. And that a group had been formed, led by Canada, the International Coordination and Response Group, including Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and the U.K.- "to ensure transparency and accountability in the wake of the crash."
And, Jan. 14, on the "north shore news" site, also id'd as The Canada Press, "Zelensky says he, Trudeau talk crash punishment, as Iran announces arrests." The article, in reporting the content of a phone call between the two national leaders, states that Canada's Trudeau said the call had "underscored the need for a full, complete and credible investigation with international participation" to provide "answers, accountability, and justice that all those affected by this tragedy deserve." Not least the report indicated the Int'l Coordination and Response Group is meeting in London, Thursday.

For three reasons, Annex 13 continues to hold a central place in the aftermath. First, as a guiding principle, or set of practical guidelines, for proper handling of an accident site and the remains of crash victims, Annex 13 certainly has been until this incident, the unquestioned coin of the realm, gold standard and highest authority. What Iranian authorities may have done or not done obviously is over with now, but following Annex 13 as much as possible would serve to uphold its primacy. And it might even lay down some guardrails for what ongoing activities are yet to occur . . . a comment reliably attributed to a knowledgeable official about repatriation possibly taking more than weeks is some significant cause for concern.

Second, and the aviation expertise I lack may be flagrantly showing on this point, but is it not the case that having the kind of in-depth, technically high-virtuosity inquiry into the operational details of the flight would still be very useful and very important, even though the cause of the loss of the aircraft - a SAM firing or more than one - is known? As an example, did the ADS-B cut out as a result of a missile detonation, or because of something else? And more broadly, isn't everything on the CVR and FDR relevant to having a complete picture of what happened, again even though the missile or missiles as the cause (in an immediate sense) are known already?

As the Iranian authorities report on their findings, such as they might turn out to be, having a complete operational record from the nominal investigation process certainly would seem a wise bulwark against possible shading of the truth.
Stated another way, why not push the Annex 13 process as much as feasible and possible? Nothing I have read indicates that doing so would interfere or in any other way be a detriment to Iran's inquiry or inquiries (in its military, by its courts and criminal justice authorities, and otherwise).

And third, the Annex 13 process could be the single best way to support the nascent International Coordination and Response Group in its efforts, though there is little reporting so far on precisely what its portfolio will be. That is, to the extent Annex 13 investigation and inquiry is not "necessary", certainly there is no contention that the rest of the world in the global international civil aviation sector should just sit back and wait for Iran to tell us what it decides to tell us. And so the nominal process under the Chicago Convention could very well serve as the prep cook for the big-name chefs of the Int'l Coord. & Resp. Group.

There is one other subpart, of course: keeping this from happening all over again, or trying.

Cynicism about the pronouncements and promulgations and papers of regulators having any significant effect in the operational world runs deep, but it is both impossible and pointless to disagree that leaving the decisions in the hands of commercial interests will lead to predictable recurrence of bad results. I happen to believe that deploying the Annex 13 process as far as it can go in this case will yield benefits when the actually smart people on this issue all get together next, and even if that turns out to be incorrect, I can't see that it could hurt. Alert statuses for air defense units around the world aren't likely to go away any time soon, and it seems more than just plausible that anything that could provide some leverage on the problem should be endorsed, and given a try.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 09:16
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Iran arrests originator of missile video...

BBC News - Iran plane downing: Person who filmed video 'arrested'

But an Iranian journalist based in London who initially posted the footage has insisted that his source is safe, and that the Iranian authorities have arrested the wrong person.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 11:29
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Originally Posted by jolihokistix
Triumph61, why the date of 2019 10 17 top right?
The New York Times article here includes this snippet:

The new video was uploaded to YouTube by an Iranian user around 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

The date visible on the footage is 2019-10-17, not Jan. 8, the day the plane was downed. We believe this is because the camera system is using a Persian calendar, not a Gregorian one. Jan. 8 converts to the 18th of Dey, the 10th month in the Persian calendar. Digitally that would display as 2019-10-18 in the video. One theory is that the discrepancy of one day can be explained by a difference between Persian and Gregorian leap years or months.
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Old 15th Jan 2020, 15:52
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Originally Posted by wongsuzie
Is this correct?
The New York Times is referring to the second missile. They clarified it in the article but I can see how it could lead to confusion. The New York Post highlighted the New York Times article.

The New York Times reported that it has verified the footage, which helps explain why the Boeing 737-800s transponder stopped working seconds before it was struck by a second missile.

An earlier analysis by the newspaper confirmed that an Iranian missile struck the plane shortly after it took off from Tehran en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

The paper also established that the transponder ceased working before that missile hit the plane.

The latest footage appears to confirm that the first strike disabled the transponder before the second strike also seen in the video about 23 seconds later, the Times reported.
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