Does Damage to MH17 indicate or exclude a Particular Buk Launch Location?

Update Oct 13 2015 by @Mick West

The Dutch Safety Board final report contains the results of three simulations of the missile launch location. These simulations all show an area to the south of Snizhne, and excludes the area of Zaroshens'kye



Over the course of this thread several version of a simulation tool were used, with progressively improved accuracy. Older versions were removed (although screenshots from them remain). The latest version can be found here:
http://tube.geogebra.org/material/simple/id/FP58nKZJ

Original Post Follows

Russian company Almaz-Antey presented recently arguing that the buk missile that brought down mh17 must have been fired from Zaroshens’kye. They look at the distribution of damage on the plane and the way a buk explodes and argue that the missile must have come across the planes nose rather than head on.
The presentation can be found here.
The presentation seems to make sense from what I have seen about the damage to the plane but I'm interested if there are reasons or evidence this might not be the case


[Mod Edit]
Slides here:
http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/vvedenie/2023629 (http://archive.is/JXS0B) (Introduction)
http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/tip-rakety/2023205 (https://archive.is/iucdb) (Type of Missile)
http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/povrezhdeniya-samoleta/2023403 (https://archive.is/NclSn) (Damage to Aircraft)
http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/kurs-rakety/2023470 (http://archive.is/cq1b1) (Course of Missile)
http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/rayon-zapuska/2023531 (http://archive.is/rk0p5) (Launch Area)
 
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This Directorate of staff briefing from July 21st asks what were the Ukrainians doing with two buk systems at Zaroshens’kye so close to separatist controlled territory. This occurs at the 4.15 mark.
Of course on 21sy July no one had a chance to examine the wreckage and suggest a missile was fired from Zaroshens’kye on the basis of the damage to the plane.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
Russian company Almaz-Antey presented recently arguing that the buk missile that brought down mh17 must have been fired from Zaroshens’kye. They look at the distribution of damage on the plane and the way a buk explodes and argue that the missile must have come across the planes nose rather than head on.
The presentation can be found here.
The presentation seems to make sense from what I have seen about the damage to the plane but I'm interested if there are reasons or evidence this might not be the case
That video is an hour and a half long, can you provide a timestamp and quote from the video that sums up what you think is their most convincing argument and the evidence that supports it?
 
That video is an hour and a half long, can you provide a timestamp and quote from the video that sums up what you think is their most convincing argument and the evidence that supports it?
Sure. Try from the 13.30 mark. The argument is hopefully fairly clear in the video, but essentially we can know fairly precisely the direction of the all fragments from the exploding rocket. It's a fairly narrow area.
By examining the distribution of the damage to the plane we can calculate precisely where the rocket was in relation to the plane and the direction it was travelling in. It leaves a unique "fingerprint".
 
Their analysis would be better if they had the actual wreckage
That's true, however their analysis does appear to rule out a buk missile coming from Snizhne.
A missile from Snizhne would have damaged the black part on the image below and should have left some damage on the right side of the plane. It should not have damaged the red areas.
A buk missile from Zaroshens’kye would have left the damage we actually see on the plane.
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
Yes I saw that - however the presentation is superficial - "It must b so because we say so" - I'd be more comfortable with the conclusion if they supplied their data to the official investigators who could compare it to the impacts on the actual wreckage.
 
Yes I saw that - however the presentation is superficial - "It must b so because we say so"
Which of their specific claims are you concerned about? Let's discuss it.
- I'd be more comfortable with the conclusion if they supplied their data to the official investigators who could compare it to the impacts on the actual wreckage.
IIUC they have done this.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Specifically the claim of the origin of the missile.

And unless they have gone to the Netherlands to examine he wreckage then they can not possibly have examined it. And since their photographs are all of the wreckage in fields it looks to me like they have not.


Moreover it would be highly improper for the air accident inspectors to let them do so and then publish their own findings - any input the missile manufacturer might have to the causes of the accident would be confidential to hte accident investigation.
 

David Coulter

Senior Member.
That's true, however their analysis does appear to rule out a buk missile coming from Snizhne.
A missile from Snizhne would have damaged the black part on the image below and should have left some damage on the right side of the plane. It should not have damaged the red areas.
A buk missile from Zaroshens’kye would have left the damage we actually see on the plane.
The missiles jink around near the target. It could have moved left or right by a few feet at the last moment. This argument assumes a straight trajectory and is meaningless.
 

Rob

Member
This Almaz-Antey assessment suffers from TWO major flaws, exposed with simple physics :

(1) If the missile would have come from Zaroshens’kye (at about 95 deg angle from the right of MH17 flight path), the proximity fuse would have triggered a detonation on the RIGHT of the plane. After all, proximity fuses (a radio fuse in the case of a 9M38M1) are not so intelligent. They simply trigger when they detect a set distance (typically 10-20 meters) from the target. They don't wait until the missile flies OVER the plane before they set off a detonation of the war head.

This simple fact about radio proximity fuses rules out a launch from Zaroshens’kye (at 95 deg), but still allows an almost head-on (19 deg) launch from Snizhne.

(2) The shrapnel pattern that Almaz-Antey suggests in the picture above fans out almost 90 deg away from the missile.
This suggests that Almaz-Antey, in their modeling of the shrapnel cone, forgot to include the missile velocity.
The missile approaches its target at about 1000 m/s, which means that the shrapnel leaves the warhead in a forward pointing cone (like a funnel) instead of a ring like Almaz-Antey suggests.

If we assume that shrapnel during detonation leaves the war head at about 1000 m/s, then the 56 deg dispersion angle that Almaz-Antey asserts will actually result in a forward pointing cone between 49 and 21 deg off the missile flight path.

If the shrapnel moves slower than that, the cone will point even further forward.
If the shrapnel moves faster, the cone will spread out to wider angles, but cannot blast backward.

This means there will be virtually NO shrapnel blown backward, and thus, if the launch were from Zaroshens’kye (at 95 deg) and exploded left of the plane, part of the left wing would have been blown off, but the entire hull would remain virtually undamaged.

I can clarify my point with graphics of missile shrapnel movement relative to the plane, but since there was severe damage to the left side of the cockpit, a launch from Zaroshens’kye is ruled out by simple physics.

I would therefor ask this post to be labeled DEBUNKED.
 
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jonnyH

Senior Member.
For those who do not want to watch the video the presentation, the slides and some explanations are available here:

http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/vvedenie/2023629

Correct me if I am wrong but from what I have read it appears that the missile's trajectory in the horizontal plane is not going to be straight. The missile uses a proportional navigation system which would put the missile onto a straight line intercept IF both the missile and the plane are travelling at constant speeds. In the presentation we are told that MH17 was maintaining a constant speed, but the missile started at 0 and went supersonic. This means that the path of the missile is going to curve slightly as it adjusts its trajectory in order to maintain a constant angle of line of sight to the target as it accelerates.

Moreover it would be highly improper for the air accident inspectors to let them do so and then publish their own findings - any input the missile manufacturer might have to the causes of the accident would be confidential to hte accident investigation.
Which kind of makes this whole presentation look like a PR exercise designed to help make their case for the lifting of economic sanctions:

http://www.almaz-antey.ru/about/press/news/1975.html

 
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For those who do not want to watch the video the presentation, the slides and some explanations are available here:

http://tass.ru/boeing-presentation/vvedenie/2023629

Correct me if I am wrong but from what I have read it appears that the missile's trajectory in the horizontal plane is not going to be straight. The missile uses a proportional navigation system which would put the missile onto a straight line intercept IF both the missile and the plane are travelling at constant speeds. In the presentation we are told that MH17 was maintaining a constant speed, but the missile started at 0 and went supersonic. This means that the path of the missile is going to curve slightly as it adjusts its trajectory in order to maintain a constant angle of line of sight to the target as it accelerates.
And......?
The buk Missile came from Snizhne?
Do you have any possible trajectory where it might have come from Snizhne?
 
The missiles jink around near the target. It could have moved left or right by a few feet at the last moment. This argument assumes a straight trajectory and is meaningless.
Ok..tell me a possible trajectory.
And do you have any evidence of a buk missile "jinking" around, at what ever distance you propose from the target?
 

David Coulter

Senior Member.
Ok..tell me a possible trajectory.
And do you have any evidence of a buk missile "jinking" around, at what ever distance you propose from the target?
If you had been following the posts you would have seen videos of this behavior in surface to air missiles, they can do a 180 to track the target. I really don't need to re-post them - you can click on me and find the posting.
 
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David Coulter

Senior Member.
As you were unable to post even one reference for your various claims, that seems premature.
Read all the threads. I appreciate that you are a new member but you need to go back and follow the chain instead of asking for all the documentation upfront. Metabunk is like the peer reviewed literature, you have to track backwards to see all the reasoning.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
And......?
The buk Missile came from Snizhne?
Do you have any possible trajectory where it might have come from Snizhne?
If we are assuming that AA's analysis of the damage is accurate, and that the data regarding the blast trajectory is correct, then it might be hard to hold such a position.

However, as pointed out by others in this thread, there are factors which AA do not appear to have taken into account in their analysis which raises the question as to just how accurate their calculations, based on less than perfect evidence, can be. Neither are AA a disinterested party, as indicated on their own website, this is part of their appeal against EU sanctions so there is a pressure on them to present a "positive" case.

Now I accept that in part I am making an argument from incredulity here; "they can't possibly be as accurate as they say", but until AA release a detailed report to back up their powerpoint, their's is an argument from authority of questionable independence.

I don't think you can rule out Snizhne just yet.
 
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If you had been following the posts you would have seen videos of this behavior in surface to air missiles, they can do a 180 to track the target. I really don't need to re-post them - you can click on me and find the posting.
I saw you post an Iranian missile in a very different situation. I assume that video was your best example as you posted it in response to another query about Almaz Antey. Can you explain why you believe that is relevant?
Thanks.

Here is your reply. https://www.metabunk.org/claim-buk-launcher-trucked-out-of-ukraine.t3977/page-7#post-155552

Since there are dozens of videos of buks on youtube I'm wondering why you chose another sort of Missile to make your case. I think it's reasonable to ask this and worth putting in this thread. I'd like to deal with it as best I can in this thread so that anyone interested in this specific claim can have easy access to it

It's not clear to me what trajectory you propose?
Are you proposing a trajectory where the missile is way off course and then turns to approach mh17 from almost a right angle? Or are you proposing a trajectory where the missile is heading on course then takes a sharp turn at the last moment?

Thank you
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
One doesn't have to have an alternative to find the evidence for a proposal unconvincing.
 
One doesn't have to have an alternative to find the evidence for a proposal unconvincing.
Sure, but if no alternatives can be shown to be possible then that leaves one alternative.
Presently only one theory has been put forward to deal with the evidence that Almaz Antey present. Almaz Anteys hypothesis can be scrutinised and tested.
Is there another hypothesis that can be?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
No it doesn't - there are at least 2 alternatives - the one that is proposed, and something else we don't know about yet.
 

David Coulter

Senior Member.
I saw you post an Iranian missile in a very different situation. I assume that video was your best example as you posted it in response to another query about Almaz Antey. Can you explain why you believe that is relevant?
Thanks.
It was simply to show how surface to air missiles can react and to provide some evidence that the location of detonation is not necessarily evidence of where the missile was launched.
 

Rob

Member
Sure. Try from the 13.30 mark. The argument is hopefully fairly clear in the video, but essentially we can know fairly precisely the direction of the all fragments from the exploding rocket. It's a fairly narrow area.
Yes, 56 deg to be precise as seen from the missile, according to Almaz-Antey starting at 13:30 in the video. Half forward and half backward.

Since the missile is moving at some 1,000 m/s, and the plane moves at some 250 m/s how will the direction of the fragments be when viewed from the perspective of the plane ?

Feel free to include reference of a physics book.
I can recommend searching for velocity "vector addition" and you can use this graph as guidance :




Such a blast pattern makes it physically impossible for a missile from the RIGHT of the plane to cause heavy damage on the LEFT side of the plane.

So the missile did NOT come from Zaroshens'kye.
 
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(2) The shrapnel pattern that Almaz-Antey suggests in the picture above fans out almost 90 deg away from the missile.
This suggests that Almaz-Antey, in their modeling of the shrapnel cone, forgot to include the missile velocity.
It probably suggests you did not understand the video, or did not pay enough attention. You might like to to tune in at the 14 minute mark and from around 15.10
 
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Rob

Member
William, since you allege that I don't understand the assertions made by Almaz-Antey in the video, you must know more about physics than me. So it should be easy for you to answer this question :
If the missile is moving at 1000 m/s w.r.t. the plane, which speed do the fragments need to have to fan out at a 90 deg angle as Almaz-Antey asserts at 15:10 and beyond ?
 
William, since you allege that I don't understand the assertions made by Almaz-Antey in the video, you must know more about physics than me. So it should be easy for you to answer this question :
If the missile is moving at 1000 m/s w.r.t. the plane, which speed do the fragments need to have to fan out at a 90 deg angle as Almaz-Antey asserts at 15:10 and beyond ?
Rob what you missed is that Antey Almaz state, at the 14 minute mark that they are looking at the missile from a static position in their diagrams. Then at the 15.10 minute mark they explain that they take the speed of both the missile and the plane into their calculations.
The problem is you didn't pay attention to the video. I just went to the trouble of pointing out the exact places in the video for you to look at. Can you at least look at them before you reply this time?
Thanks
 

Rob

Member
Rob what you missed is that Antey Almaz state, at the 14 minute mark that they are looking at the missile from a static position in their diagrams. Then at the 15.10 minute mark they explain that they take the speed of both the missile and the plane into their calculations.
Thanks
Then it should be easy for you to answer my question.

And if YOU paid attention to the video, you must have noticed that even in their assessment the fragments do not move beyond 90 deg (backward).

And thus that the damage on the LEFT side of the plane CANNOT have originated from a missile from 90 deg RIGHT of the plane (from Zaroshnes'kye).

And even better : you must have noticed that they did NOT work out the physics of the fragment movements if the missile originated from Zaroshnes'kye.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Rob what you missed is that Antey Almaz state, at the 14 minute mark that they are looking at the missile from a static position in their diagrams. Then at the 15.10 minute mark they explain that they take the speed of both the missile and the plane into their calculations.
The problem is you didn't pay attention to the video. I just went to the trouble of pointing out the exact places in the video for you to look at. Can you at least look at them before you reply this time?
Thanks
If you wish to discuss a segment of a video, please include a transcript of that segment, and screenshots of any relevant information that is shown on screen. See: https://www.metabunk.org/metabunks-no-click-policy.t5158/
 
And thus that the damage on the LEFT side of the plane CANNOT have originated from a missile from 90 deg RIGHT of the plane (from Zaroshnes'kye).
It's not coming at exactly 90 degrees though it does come from the side. It comes over the top. The cockpit takes the most damage (as the missile was designed to do) though we don't see fragments coming straight out the other side. We do see other evidence of fragments running along the left side of the plane.
As is explained. this is consistent with a missile from Zaroshnes'kye.
It is not consistent with a missile from Snizhne which would have left a very different pattern of damage, including damage to the right side of the plane. Just have a look at the diagram you yourself posted. If the missile came close to head on, that shape you posted will hit the right side as well.

It looks like mh17 was shot down by one of the Ukrainian buks from Zaroshnes'kye.
But perhaps you can explain how the damage to the plane could possibly be caused by a missile from Snizhne?
 
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David Coulter

Senior Member.
It looks like mh17 was shot down by one of the Ukrainian buks from Zaroshnes'kye.
But perhaps you can explain how the damage to the plane could possibly be caused by a missile from Snizhne?
But here is a different argument:

http://en.censor.net.ua/resonance/3...ned_the_malaysian_boeing_mh17_exclusive_photo

Frankly I found the entire video from Antey Almaz to be a bit too slick - lots of Hollywood style scene cuts to engrossed journalists, etc. If their evidence is so unequivocal, why didn't they provide it privately to the international investigators instead of running a press conference? And why would they assume the investigators would not look at shrapnel trajectories?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Here's a visualization of the fragmentation spread in the horizontal plane, accounting for the velocity of the missile, the plane and the fragments


The thin dashed line shows the possible path of the missile. The green line is the vector of its velocity, the blue line is the vector the the plane's velocity, the red line is the fragmentation velocity.

The orange dotted lines are then the resultant velocity of the shrapnel to the left and right. The orange zone is the spread of this, set at 56° here.

And this is the scenario suggested by the Russians.


Now there are various assumptions here, like the speed of the missile (is 1000 m/s the missile speed, or the relative closing speed, hence speed should be 750). What's the correct speed of fragmentation? 1000? 2000?

And what about that 56° Dispersion angle?

All these things can be adjusted in the Geogebra simulation, which I'll share when their servers start working again.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Also there would be an offset of the planes heading vs. its ground track (the actual velocity). Here I have them the same.
 

Herman Aven

Member
But here is a different argument: why didn't they provide it privately to the international investigators instead of running a press conference?
According to their own press conference they did so in early May (timestamp 1:21:52 and again 1:30:08). Has anyone typed out an English transcription yet? :)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
A minor point for completeness - very fast small objects lose velocity very rapidly due to air resistance. While they will continue to travel in a straight line (just considering the horizontal plane here), they will travel in a slightly curved path relative to the aircraft. I doubt this would be of any significance.
 
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