Why does Russian-made missile shot down commercial airlines repeatedly?

The Russian-made Buk, Pantsir-S1, Pechora, Tor-M1, S-300 and S-400 missiles have never been supplied with IFF transponder that fulfill the operational requirements of a specific country where missiles are used. This is exactly why Turkish and Indian acquisition of S-400 missiles should be punished with CAATSA sanctions to safeguard NATO assets and commercial flights.

Perhaps no missiles ever produced had as much historical influence as the surface-to-air missiles of the Soviet Union. Originally conceived to provide a defense against the American bomber fleets of the early Cold War, they decisively affected the turn of events when they shot down American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over Russia and Cuba. Soviet-provided missiles accounted for a hundred American aircraft over North Vietnam and set the terms of the air battle. To this day, Russian surface-to-air missiles provide the only defense available to most countries against American bombers, and Russian man-portable anti-aircraft missiles are a major part of the terrorist threat.

Flight 752

Side by side SA-15 warhead and fragmented warhead of SA-15 that downed Flight 752

Iran admitted shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet with 176 people on board, which it says was the result of human error.

In a statement by military officials early Saturday, Iran admitted hitting Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 with a missile earlier this week.

It said that the plane flew close to a sensitive military site and was mistaken for a threat.

“In such a condition, because of human error and in a unintentional way, the flight was hit,” the Iranian statement said.

The shoot-down came hours after Iran launched a missile attack on US troops stationed in Iraq, while the military was on high alert.

MH17 Incident

Fred Westerbeke, the chief prosecutor, stands next to a part of the Buk missile fired at MH17. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Investigators have said the missile that shot down flight MH17 in 2014 over eastern Ukraine came from Russia. Specifically, it originated with the 53rd anti-aircraft brigade based in the western city of Kursk. The evidence supporting this conclusion was “legally convincing” and would stand up in court, they said.

Reports in Ukraine indicate that pro-Russian separatists have a Buk missile system in eastern Ukraine. NATO refers to the system as the SA-11 GADFLY and the advanced model as the SA-17 GRIZZLY. The systems was developed by the Soviet Union to succeed the SA-6 GAINFUL.

MH17 downed by Russian military missile system, say investigators.

The Buk missile launcher was part of a Russian military convoy that set off from Kursk in June 2014. At the time, Moscow-backed separatists, and undercover Russian troops, were fighting against Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine. The launcher was seen on numerous occasions between 23-25 June, as the convoy made its way south.

The Buk was smuggled across the border into Ukraine and transported on a red low-loader with a white Volvo cabin. It was spotted in rebel-held territory. On 17 July it fired a Buk 9M38 series missile from a farm near the village of Pervomaisk, investigators said. The missile struck the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.

Why does Russian-made surface-to-air (SAM) missiles not distinguish between commercial flight and military aircraft?

Answer#1 Soviet-era Technology

Until the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian missiles were only known in public by the designations assigned by the Western military. Since the 1990, the true designations and technical details of these missiles have become known. Not unsurprisingly, a large number of missiles never been upgraded with modern solid state electronics, data link, command and control systems.

The most of Russian electronics are soviet-era semiconductor based radar and semi-active radar homing missile without mid-course data update from the command center. Since Soviet-era missile systems are not network-centric, the OEM (Russian themselves) never had network-centric infrastructure and the missiles exported to the countries where no network-centric infrastructure exists. There are no command and control mechanism in the countries where these missiles were exported. There is no authorization process in these countries, there is no co-ordination between civil aviation and military air defense radar.

Design and development of most of the missiles used with air defense systems during soviet-era that followed was accomplished by Pavel Dmitrevich Grushin (the organization later known as Fakel MKB) Beginning with his 32B alternate to the S-25, Grushin developed a series of missiles that were the bane of American and Israeli pilots during the cold war – the S-75 (SA-2 and SA-N-2 Guideline), S-125 (SA-3 and SA-N-1 Goa), S-200 (SA-5 Gammon), S-300 (SA-10 and SA-N-6 Grumble), Shkval (SA-N-3 Goblet), Osa (SA-8 and SA-N-4 Gecko), Tor (SA-15 and SA-N-9 Gauntlet), S-300 (SA-10 and SA-N-6 Grumble). Grushin also provided the exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles for the V-1000, A-350 (ABM-1), and A-135 (ABM-3) anti-ballistic missile systems. At the time of Grushin’s death on 29 November 1993, MKB Fakel had produced over 16 basic types of surface-to-air missile, 30 modernizations of these basic versions, and exported missiles to over 50 countries.

Answer#2: Identification, friend or foe (IFF)

Identification, friend or foe (IFF) is a radar-based identification system designed for command and control. It uses a transponder that listens for an interrogation signal and then sends a response that identifies the broadcaster. It enables military and civilian air traffic control interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator. IFF may be used by both military and civilian aircraft. IFF was first developed during World War II, with the arrival of radar, and several friendly fire (blue on blue like the flight 752) incidents.

The Russian-made off the shelve missile exported to the middle eastern, Southeast Asia and African countries,– these countries never integrated these SAM system with their air defense radar and never asked OEM to customize missiles with IFF transponder. The Russian-made missiles were never exported with an IFF transponder. The Russian-made surface-to-air missiles system are not programmable.

Why NATO is different?

IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) is the military designation of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) System that is used to identify and track military aircraft. The IFF system consists of an airborne transponder and a ground (or airborne) interrogator. The system measures the distance and heading to the aircraft, and the transponder encodes identification and position information into the response. IFF Mode 5 is the most recent implementation of the system.

The IFF systems data capabilities startedwith a single identification number in the 1940s, and was expanded to include altitude reporting and cryptographically secure identification in the 1960s. This design was referred to as the Mark XII standard and incorporated Mode 4 IFF technologywhich remains the current standard for U.S. and NATO countries. The 1980s saw the introduction of Mode S, which allows aircraft specific selective data communications added to support additional air traffic data and the airborne collision avoidance system.

The development of the new military IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system commenced in 1995 when the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered the development of a new waveform (Mode 5) to replace the current Mark XII Mode 4 IFF system. In 2002, NATO ratified STANAG (Standardization Agreement) 4193 which adopted the Mark XIIA IFF standard for the U.S. and NATO. The new Mark XIIA Mode 5 waveform represents the future standard for all military transponders and interrogators used by NATO countries.

NATO IFF Interrogators

AN/TPX-57(V) Common IFF Interrogator
Raytheon’s AN/TPX-57(V) Interrogator provides the world’s first fully integrated MK XIIA / Mode 4/5 capability for Air Defense, Surveillance, and Air Traffic Control Platforms and continues to be the solution of choice for the US Army.

Model 5800 IFF Interrogator
Raytheon’s Model 5800 Interrogator provides MK XIIA capability with enhanced reliability.

Cooperative Aviation Surveillance Sensor (CASS)
Raytheon has adapted the TPX-57 Air Defense Interrogator for use as a passive sensor to capture self-reporting signals transmitted by targets to provide critical situational awareness with zero probability of detection. When coupled with an omni directional platform antenna, CASS has demonstrated the ability to detect and display cooperative targets to a radius of 200 nautical miles with no detectable RF signature.

AN/APX-114 Long Range Airborne IFF Interrogator System
Raytheon AN/APX-114 IFF Interrogator Provides World’s Most Advanced Solution for Airborne Applications.

Raytheon’s AN/APX-114 interrogator represents the most technically advanced, compact and lightweight interrogator available for airborne, long-range and shipboard IFF. Designed as a replacement for the APX-76 airborne interrogator, the APX-114 was selected by the U.S. Air Force as part of their F-15 aircraft modernization plan and has been fielded by multiple nations for the P-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

The APX-114 provides advanced processing capability to rapidly identify friendly targets. The system is designed with a Versa Module Eurocard (VME) open architecture that enables maximum system flexibility and supports practical upgrades.
The APX-114 is compatible with all F-15 mechanically scanned radars. When paired with Raytheon’s AS-4664 electronically scanned IFF antennae, the APX-114 achieves AESA radar compatibility.

The APX-114 offers Mark XIIA (Mode 5) IFF compatibility when used with the KIV-77 Mode 4/5 Crypto Applique.

The M425 IFF family represents a new generation of IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) transponders, equipped with encryption capability and TRANSEC features. This family of products has been developed to meet a wide range of IFF requirements for Command & Control.

NATO-certified in Mode 5, the M425 IFF transponder provides secure and robust data exchange, supporting military identification process and data transmission to civil aviation and military control centres. The M425 IFF transponder allows interrogation systems to identify friend or foe platforms, and to determine their position, direction and distance.

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