Dutch investigators: Russian radars were not capable of detecting Buk missile that shot down MH17 flight over Ukraine

The International Investigation Team (JIT) published a statement on the Dutch prosecutor’s website on April 3rd regarding the MH17 crash. “The missile launched from the Buk does not necessary have to be visible to the radar stations of Ust-Donetsk [a settlement in the Rostov region of Russia],” the statement says. “The missile is missing from the radar images due to flight properties—in particular, speed.”

The investigation team consists of representatives from investigative and legal bodies of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine, who are inspecting the circumstances of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 crash. The plane was shot down on July 17, 2014 in the sky over the Donbas.

As the Buk rocket is much faster than commercial aircrafts, the high-speed object is not visible on imaging radars at all due to radar settings. This information was released by two independent experts following an assessment of the international investigators’ conclusions. They also pointed out that other airplanes near the MH17 were not visible on the radar images.

JIT reported in September 2016 that the plane was shot down by a 9M38 missile launched from the Buk anti-aircraft missile system. The rocket was fired from a field near the village of Pervomaiske in eastern Ukraine. In September 2016, the Russian Ministry of Defense presented footage from Russian radars on the day of the MH17 crash. The agency representative stated that as the Russian radar detected a drone (Orlan-10) on the day of the crash, it can be concluded that it must have detected a missile, as well. In response, the International Investigation Team reported that the flight characteristics of the drone are more in-line with that of a civil aircraft—these characteristics are not similar to the Buk rocket’s, explaining why the drone was discovered and the missile was not. 

The Boeing 777 aircraft flight MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a Russian Buk system on July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region. As a result, all 298 people who were on board were killed. There were citizens of 10 countries on the flight. Most of the dead were citizens of the Netherlands.

A team of specialists from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Ukraine conducted the investigation. The joint investigation team came to conclusion that the MH17 flight was shot down by a 9B38 rocket from the Buk missile complex, which was launched from the separatist-held town of Pervomaiske.

  MH17, Netherlands