15 years later: Little-known facts about the explosion of the Tu-154 over the Black Sea
The crash of flight MN-17 in the Donetsk region forced us to recall the tragedy of 2001, when a plane of Siberia Airlines exploded over the Black Sea. The Russian side in both accidents vinyl Ukrainian missile. Their involvement in the fall of the Malaysian "Boeing" has already been refuted by preliminary findings of an international commission. But the investigation of the Tu-154 crash attracted far less attention, and even in Ukraine its key findings are virtually unknown.
Fifteen years ago, on October 4, 2001, Siberia Airlines' liner crashed over the Black Sea, operating SBI-1812 flight on the Tel Aviv-Novosibirsk route. 66 passengers and 12 crew members died. According to the conclusion of the Interstate Aviation Committee, the plane was unintentionally shot down by a missile of the Ukrainian C-200 complex launched during the exercise. Ukraine paid the relatives of the deceased passengers, but refused to admit their guilt in the incident.
A year ago, in November 2015, the relatives of passengers on flight SBI-1812 appealed to the President and the Prosecutor General of Russia with a request to resume the crash investigation. The letter's authors compared the 2001 crash with the fall of the Malaysian Boeing in 2014 and called Ukraine’s statements about non-involvement in both accidents “hypocritical and deceitful”.
1. The plane exploded in the area of responsibility of Russia
Joint exercises on firing from ground and shipborne anti-aircraft missile systems were conducted at the site of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation at Cape Opuk in the Crimea. A total of 23 missiles were fired. The Ukrainian authorities have closed the shooting sector within their jurisdiction. The plane of Siberia Airlines exploded and fell in the area of responsibility of the Russian North Caucasus Air Traffic Control Center, which did not ban passenger flights in the area.
2. Tu-154 did not give an obligatory signal of recognition of the state identity “I am my own”
According to the rules, the crew of flight SBI-1812 was supposed to turn on the system of identification of nationality 400 kilometers from the borders of the CIS, but she was silent all the time of the flight until the crash.
If the plane gave the signal “I am my own”, it would be recorded by the antenna complex C-200. In this case, conducting live firing is prohibited, and the Start command is automatically blocked.
3. Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the involvement of the Ukrainian military in the fall of the Tu-154
On the day of the catastrophe, Vladimir Putin said that the Ukrainian air defense forces could not bring down the Tu-154 during the exercise: "The weapons used at that time, according to tactical and technical data, could not reach the air corridors in which our aircraft was located." “It is possible that this was the result of a terrorist act,” he said at a meeting with the Ministers of Justice of the EU countries.
4. The version of the hit of the Ukrainian rocket became the main after reports about the presence of the US administration evidence of this. None of the participants in the investigation of the disaster saw them
S-200 - Soviet long-range anti-aircraft missile system. Designed for the defense of large areas from bombers and other strategic aircraft. In service since 1967. A missile is aimed at a target using a radar beam reflected from the target. The weight of the warhead - 220 kg.Contains 90 kg of explosive and 37,000 steel balls.
S-200 - Soviet long-range anti-aircraft missile system.Designed for the defense of large areas from bombers and other strategic aircraft. In service since 1967. A missile is aimed at a target using a radar beam reflected from the target. The weight of the warhead - 220 kg. Contains 90 kg of explosive and 37,000 steel balls.
Already on October 4, the Kyodo Tsusin news agency, CBS and CNN TV companies, citing sources in the US government, stated that there was evidence of the defeat of the Tu-154 with a ground-to-air missile. After that, the Ukrainian authorities recognized the holding of air defense exercises on the day of the disaster, and the version of the terrorist act faded into the background.
The US authorities have never officially reported what evidence was being discussed, and did not provide them to the participants of the investigation.
5. Steel balls and holes similar in size to the striking elements of the C-200 missile were found in the wreckage of the aircraft. This inclined the Ukrainian authorities to take responsibility for the incident. Examination has questioned the weight of evidence
Five balls and 460 holes were found in fragments of the Tu-154 lifted from the sea, the size of which roughly corresponds to the diameter (9-12 mm) of the striking elements of the missile’s warhead, which was released by the Ukrainian military on October 4, 2001.
However, during the consideration of the case in the courts it was established:
* The warhead of such a missile is equipped with steel balls; they are used in bearings and sold freely;
* traces of trotyl alone were found on the balls, although the explosive of the missile’s warhead consists of it by 20%, and 80% from hexogen;
* in the fragments of the aircraft there are round holes smaller in diameter than the shrapnel of the rocket;
in the ceiling elements, among others, there are holes formed by a ball hitting the inside, from the bottom up.
People at the Israeli airport Ben-Gurion react to the message about the crash of the flight Tel Aviv-Novosibirsk. Most of the 64 passengers were citizens of Israel. Photo: Ariel Schalit / AFP / East News
6. Not detected: fragments of the rocket, the outer skin of the aircraft, black boxes
During exploration in the Black Sea, no fragments of an 11-meter rocket were found, although much of it was made of floating materials.
None of the 404 raised fragments of the aircraft belong to the outer skin. Find the fuselage at the bottom using the echo sounder failed. Therefore, it is impossible to accurately determine whether the steel balls flew into the cabin from the outside.
7. The Russian radar complex in Gelendzhik 30 seconds before the explosion recorded an unknown object at a distance of 50 kilometers from the Tu-154. If it was a Ukrainian rocket, it would not have been able to reach the plane.
At a distance of more than 150-200 kilometers from the launch complex, after the production of fuel, the speed of the 5V28 rocket drops to 1 km / s, and at a distance of 250 kilometers to 870 m / s. The plane crashed 240 kilometers from the launch point of the rocket. That is a segment of 50 kilometers, it would have flown by no less than 50 seconds.
A couple of Israelis are waiting for departure to Sochi to identify the 14 bodies of passengers of flight SBI-1812 found at sea. Photo: Uriel SINAI / AFP / East News
8. The version about pointing the rocket at the radiation of the mobile phones of the Tu-154 passengers remained untested.
According to the participant in the investigation, Lieutenant-General Valery Kaminsky (in 2001, the Chief of the Main Staff of the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces), for hitting a target at a distance of 30 kilometers, the homing head of the S-200 rocket has enough radiation power of 0.35 W up to 2 watts.
The Ukrainian side was ready to check the version: to start up the Tu-154 with the included gadgets on board along the route of flight SBI-1812 and to track it by means of air defense. However, Russia categorically refused the experiment.
9. The point of the missile detonation defined by the Interstate Aviation Committee - behind, to the left and 15 meters above the aircraft body - does not comply with the C-200 missile guidance principle.
The computing unit suggests a 5B28 rocket with a lead in the point of the intended meeting in the course of movement of the target. Therefore, the explosion occurs in the nose of the aircraft.
According to the same principle, the Buk missiles are being launched. In 2014, the Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines was hit over the Donetsk region with a rocket that exploded to the left and above the cockpit.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before a special meeting of the Knesset in memory of the victims of the disaster on October 4, 2011. Photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP / East News
Agreement on the settlement of claims arising from an air crash on October 4, 2001
The Government of Ukraine and the Government of the State of Israel <...> Noting that Ukraine recognizes the Air Crash as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of life; notingthat Ukraine did not recognize any legal obligations or responsibilities in connection with the Air Crash; having reached agreement on the financial and legal terms of the settlement, we agreed on the following ...
10. Wines of Ukraine are not proven, not recognized and not supported by payments to the families of the dead passengers.
In October 2001, the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, apologized for what had happened and dismissed the Minister of Defense Kuzmuk. He was guided by the findings of the commission of inquiry into the catastrophe led by the secretary of the Security Council of Russia Vladimir Rushailo, but continued to call the catastrophe the consequence of a “fatal combination of circumstances.”
$ 200 thousand for each passenger who was killed was paid to Israel and Russia according to the ex gratia formula - for humanitarian reasons, without admitting guilt. No claims were made to Ukraine at the interstate level.
In 2007, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine finally closed the criminal case on the fact of the catastrophe, finding no evidence that the Tu-154 was shot down by a Ukrainian missile.
In 2008, the Pechersk District Court of Kiev refused to compensate for moral damage to the head of the Foundation for Assistance to the Families of the Dead, Boris Kalinovsky, and the Belonog family, who refused to receive $ 200,000. They did not file an appeal.
In 2011, after seven years of consideration in the claim for damages, Siberia Airlines was denied. The Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine upheld the decision. The airline announced its intention to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, but did not take advantage of this opportunity.
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