Tuesday , January 19 2021

Iran 'may have shot down Boeing 737 plane with 176 on board in error' – Evening Standard, Standard.co.uk






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An airliner whichcrashed in flames minutes after taking off from Tehrankilling all

people on board may have been hit by a missile, it has emerged.


The focus of the investigation into the tragedy dramatically shifted on Thursday to a missile strike, possibly accidentally by Iran, after initially being blamed on engine failure.


Ukraine security council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said his country’s investigators wanted to search for possible Russian-made missile debris after seeing information about it on the internet.


He highlighted unconfirmed claims that fragments of a possible Tor surface-to-air missile had been discovered.


The plane came down just hours after Iran launched a series of missile strikes at bases in Iraq*** housing US troops, in retaliation for last week’s assassination by Washington of Revolutionary Guards general Qassem Soleimani.

                                                                                                                                                                    Iraqi security forces find and collect the pieces of missiles (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)       


One theory emerging is that the Iranian military, nervous of a US response to its missile strikes, may have targeted Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752 by mistake with its air defense system.


Security expert Professor Anthony Glees, of Buckingham University, told the Evening Standard: “It’s likely to be a Russian-made missile and that it was the Iranians who downed the plane in error.


“My feeling is that this was an accident because the Iranians were so nervous of a US attack.”

                                                                                                                                                                 **************Iran: Tehran Plane Crash – In pictures


Speculation was growing that Tehran was now seeking to cover up the cause of the crash after it said It would not hand over “black box” flight recorders to the plane’s manufacturer Boeing or the US authorities.


An initial report by the Iranian authorities confirmed that both of the black boxes that contain data and cockpit communications from the Boeing had been recovered but then claimed that they had suffered damage and some parts of their memory was lost.


The plane was seen falling from the sky in flames just three minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport at ***************************************************** (local time) 2. am UK time) yesterday.


The Iranian and Ukranian authorities swiftly suggested that a technical fault may have caused the tragedy.


              Passengers’ belongings at the scene of the crash (VIA REUTERS)       


However, aviation experts and the carrier cast doubt on whether this was likely, especially as the plane was just three years old.


David Learmont, safety editor of Flight Global, told the Today program this morning: “It’s incredibly rare for a modern aircraft to have a technical failure, which is what at the moment the Iranians are saying it was, Which causes a conflagration (major fire) before the aircraft has even hit the ground.


“That will, if it is a technical failure, be quite extraordinary in aviation history.”


With just one engine, even if it was not fully functioning, the plane could have flown, he added.


“There never has been a catastrophic engine failure which was so bad that the aircraft was completely uncontrollable and caught fire,” he stressed.


“You have to look at the possibility that it was hit by a missile or that there was a bomb on board.”


              Rescue teams work at the scene after a Ukrainian plane (AFP via Getty Images)       


In December 2020, Iran entered into a contract in December 2020 to buy (TOR-M1) SA – 16 Gauntlet) mobile surface-to-air missile defense systems from Russia worth more than US $ million (£****************************************** (million).                                                                                                                                                 

The radar can detect targets up to 700 km away and is believed to now be part of Iran’s air defense system.


Tor is a surface-to-air missile system designed to bring down enemy missiles, drones, aeroplanes or helicopters.


Launched from mobile vehicles, it can track multiple targets and fire rocket-powered missiles that accelerate to supersonic speeds, armed with fragmentation warheads that explode when close to the target.




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