The Fighter ‘Escort’

SU-27 flanker

SU-27 flanker

Radar evidence suggests that MH17 was ‘escorted’, i.e. forced, into the kill-zone by two Ukrainian fighters.  Some reporting suggests that these might have been Su-25 Frogfoots (Frogfeet?). It has been pointed that the Su-25 only has a ceiling of FL250, i.e. 25,000 feet, but the Russian Ministry of Defence, who ought to know, state that it can reach FL330 for a limited period.

One has to be careful with the performance envelope of a ground-attack aircraft like the Su-25.  The service ceiling figure will be for an aircraft with full military equipment, such as armor plate. You don’t need armor when shooting down an unarmed airliner. The 25 also has an air refuelling probe, which adds weight and increases drag. I suspect that a lightened Su-25 could easily reach and maintain 33,000 feet.

However, the escort was more likely Su-27s. They are highly agile and powerfully armed. A 777 captain isn’t going to take on a couple of Su-27s. Their role was to make sure that the target airliner followed Kiev ATC’s direction to fly over territory controlled by separatists, so that they could be blamed. Russian satellite overheads show several Buks, or shall we say Buk-like vehicles, positioned close to rebel territory, within range of the interception point.


Carlos, the Spanish Air Traffic Controller

Spanish Air Traffic control

Spanish Air Traffic control

This brings me to the curious case of Carlos, the decent Spanish air traffic controller. For a few precious hours we got a stream of information out of Kiev ATC, via Twitter of all things, although there are worse ways of going public with crucial information.  Ignored by the MSM this brave man stated that the Ukrainian security services had taken over the Kiev control tower and seized the controllers’ cellphones, and that Kiev wanted the 777 shot down.

Of course Thames Valley Police would say it was a hoax, but I am not so sure. What impresses me is the level of knowledge displayed at a time when the general public were still in the dark. If it were a hoax one might expect to see statements to that effect coming out of Kiev, since these were damning tweets.

Since then, we have had silence.  I am not sure that Carlos is still alive. If he is, he has surely lost his job. At this time I am calling Carlos’s reporting as real, i.e. I don’t think this has been faked, or is a hoax. It might just possibly be an intel set-up, to discredit anyone saying that Kiev shot the plane down, but as indicated I don’t think so.


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