Stolen surface-to-air Buk missile may have been used to down Malaysian jetliner


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Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 left Amsterdam airport at 12:14 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur 12 hours later. Roughly four hours later, wreckage was found near Torez in east Ukraine, about 50 kilometers from the Russian border.
According to Russian media reports from June, rebels in east Ukraine captured Russian-made Buk surface-to-air weapons systems which comprise of a truck-like vehicle to launch missiles generally paired with a radar target acquisition vehicle.

A Buk SAM system can be set up for firing in just five minutes and after a target is acquired, the system requires just over 20 seconds to latch on to target and fire.

Carrying a 70 kilogram warhead, a Buk SAM missile can reach altitudes of 80,000 feet, easily reaching a jetliner cruising at 30,000 feet. Shoulder fired missiles only reach 15,000 feet or lower.

The wreckage of the Malaysian airliner left a fifteen kilometer debris field, indicating the plane had come apart in flight after been shot out of the sky.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was headed to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam when it went down. The plane carried 280 passengers and 15 crew. There were no survivors.

Pro-Russian separatists control the area where MH17 went down, and news reports showed rebel commanders visiting the crash site. No confirmed claims of responsibility have been made.


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