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Ukrainian specialists conduct arena test to investigate MH17 crash

Ukrainian specialists conduct arena test to investigate MH17 crashSpecialists from the Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Science led by Oleksandr Ruvyn and representatives of the Ukrainian Justice Ministry have taken part in an investigative experiment staged as a part of expert analysis of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing crash on July 17, 2014.

"An international investigative team [comprising Ukraine, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Malaysia] decided to conduct an arena test for studying technical causes of the plane crash. The aforesaid arena test was conducted under the supervision of Justice Ministry representatives and institute experts in collaboration with representatives of the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia," a report published on the institute website said.

The experiment engaged the following competent entities: Yangel Pivdenne Design Bureau (Dnipropetrovsk), Makarov Production Association (Pavlohrad), State Research Institute of Chemical Products (Shostka), Promin (Kyiv), Antonov Design Bureau (Kyiv), Artem Machine Building Company, Ivan Kozhedub Air Force University (Kharkiv) and Kyiv Polytechnic Institute National Technical University of Ukraine (Kyiv).

Read also: MH17 investigators to visit Moscow

Everything necessary for modeling the explosion which caused the MH17 flight crash in the first arena test staged in Ukraine was made in Pavlohrad. Original live Buk missiles were assigned for the testing. A cockpit mockup and target layout elements were deployed on two separate platforms. Experts installed photo and video cameras and 3D scanning devices in the same spots.
"No such experiments had been conducted in the territory of our country before, and only cooperation between Ukrainian and foreign experts made them possible," the institute said in the report.

The warhead and the missile blew up strictly on schedule, it said. The test had a number of objectives, such as to visualize the impact of the warhead and missile explosion on the plane hull, to either confirm or refute the interposition of the plane and the missile at the moment of explosion (the rendezvous point) suggested by prior calculations, to determine the zone of spread of warhead and missile fragments, their number and density of their impact on the modeled cockpit, to study a change in the trajectory of fragments after their encounter with the plane hull, to determine the degree of deformation of fragments, etc.

"The information obtained in the arena test will be used to specify the place from where the missile which downed the Boeing 777 was launched and its trajectory," the institute said.

The experts also focused on other issues, which had been previously regarded as secondary, such as studies of the blast wave's nature, the search for explosive residue and analysis of the damage similar to that suffered by the plane.

"Conclusions drawn in the joint work of experts will make a substantial contribution to the international investigative group's inquiry into the deaths of people onboard the Malaysian plane," the Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Science said.

The Boeing 777 of Malaysia Airlines en route from Amsterdam (the Netherlands) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) was downed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014. It had 298 people onboard; all of them died in the crash.

The Dutch Safety Board commission investigating the plane crash posted a report on October 13, 2015. The report said the plane was downed with a surface-to-air missile fired from a Buk anti-aircraft missile system.
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