After fifteen months of careful, meticulous investigation, a Dutch Safety Board this week concluded that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777-200ER with 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard, was shot down by a Russian-built Surface to Air Missile (SAM) battery.

The SAM, an SA-11 “Gadfly,” also known as a 9N314M “Buk,” was positioned in a rebel-controlled area of eastern Ukraine when it engaged the Malaysian airliner flying non-stop from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The missile detonated within a meter of the left side of the nose, killing the aircrew instantly and tearing the cockpit away from the fuselage. The flight deck itself was found five miles from the rest of the wreckage.

The report, called “very sober” by the former Managing Director of the National Transportation Safety Board Peter Goelz, is nearly 300 pages in length and details every step of the event.

The information placard on the SA-11 at Nellis Air Force Base's Threat Training Center.
The information placard on the SA-11 “Gadfly” at Nellis Air Force Base’s Threat Training Center.

According to investigators, there is “absolutely no doubt” as the the type of missile responsible for down the Boeing, nor the point of origin. The Dutch Safety Board did not point a finger at any of the particular forces involved, but did say the incident could have been avoided had the airspace over Ukraine been closed. More than 150 civilian aircraft flew that same track on 17 July 2014–the day the MH17 incident occurred.

Above is a computer-generated re-creation of the incident, to include the technical aspects of the missile system, data obtained from the flight data recorder(s) aboard the Malaysian airliner, as well as other evidence gathered in the past fifteen months. Not surprisingly, the Russians dispute the claim, accusing the Dutch of “bias.”

The CEO of Almaz-Amtey–the manufacturer of the Buk system, Yan Novikov said: “The results of the experiment completely contradict the results of the Dutch commission on the type of missile and the location of its launch.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, “It’s a source of regret that, despite all Russia’s repeated and lengthy attempts to organise the investigation in such a way that it is comprehensive and unbiased, and for it to consider all the information we have … there is an obvious attempt to draw a biased conclusion, and carry out political orders.”

Draw your own conclusions, FighterSweep Fans. Read the report and lets us know what you think!