Interesting discussion! In response to the query over the OVV report, I have studied it in depth. My opinion of the OVV is admittedly not terribly high, based on the Tunisia Airbus incident. I have a VERY high opinion however of AIVD, the Dutch internal intelligence service, and MIVD, their excellent military service and was a participant in the NISA intelligence conference in Amsterdam in 2005, where both agencies were represented. I even presented the Director of AIVD with a case of Bols two Christmases ago (they have a limit on gifts, so it came back from Den Haag (this was before the move) with regrets, but I made sure one bottle stayed in the attache's office at the Dutch Embassy in London!). Bols is rather nice, by the way - I have swigged the odd measure in the company of Dutch intelligence officers and ex-resistance fighters by the occasional canal-side cafe in Amsterdam. Not many resistance types left now, sadly. Never met one I didn't like.
To reassure Duchy, I am not anti-Dutch, but my opinion of the Dutch bureaucracy and government is low - not as low as my opinion of the UK's, but low. I was last in Amsterdam, on intelligence business, in March. Love the place - great night-life.
I reject the OVV report's conclusions,but I respect the basic forensic work they commissioned.
There is a big problem with their conclusion that Russia was responsible,picked up by VSMUT and I think Tu 204. They had no motive. Ukraine on the other hand did - to embarrass the rebels, President Putin and Russia. Peking and Kiev are close.
It is absolutely untrue that Russia is the ONLY country operating Buks with a GN314M warhead. I suspect the Ukrainians have them as well, but more to the point the Chinese Buks, the HQ-16 and 16A (I rule out a 16B) have Russian-designed fragmentation warheads. My understanding is that the HQ-16 and 16A have a similar or identical warhead to the GN314M, using the distinctive bow-tie shaped fragments. It is noteworthy that although my conclusion that MH17 was brought down by a HQ-16 or 16A has been in the public domain since 2014 OVV skirt around the issue and suppress any mention of the Chinese Buks. Why? Not least since they are air-transportable and can be airlifted in an IL-76.
The absence of bow-tied shaped fragments in the captain's body is hugely significant. Basically it rules out his having been killed by a Buk. There is no doubt the 777 was struck by a Buk- the issue is what else struck it? I now favour an AA-11 - small warhead (17.2 lbs from memory), consistent with the shrapnel damage to the port side of the cockpit and the injuries to the poor, murdered captain. The Su-25 is designed to carry the AA-11 and the Su-25M has upgraded avionics and radar. It can reach FL330 and better with the armour removed and on combat power. The AA-11 can be aimed optically via a helmet-mounted sight, ideal for a targeted shot at the cockpit to kill or disable the crew and and make sure there could be no MH370-style evasive manoeuvres.
The Ukrainians lied about the An-26. It looks like it was brought down by a MANPADS. Later analysis, accepted by OVV, ruled out the Ukrainian claim that it was flying at FL260. The claim seems to have been made to bolster the accusation against the rebels 3 days later.
Kiev ATC should NOT have directed MH17 that far north - effectively MH17 was directed into the kill-zone. Salttee is right - there is no way this was an accident. Trained military professionals would not mistake a 777 on an airway at cruise altitude in broad daylight. MH17 was the target.
I respectfully agree with the points made about pencil-beam fire-control radar. As much use as 'tits on a bull' in search mode in a high-altitude shoot-down scenario. Yes you can use the radar on a TELAR in search mode. The problems, accurately high-lighted by Salttee, are that its range is short, it takes too long to locate the target and there would be insufficient engagement time to switch modes, lock-on, fire and hit a target moving at 500 mph, particularly as tail-chasing was out for political reasons - an exhaust trail in the wrong place.
As presently advised, I am going with an initial shoot by an AA-11, fired from a Ukrainian Su-25M at FL340-F350, using helmet-mounted optical guidance, to disable the crew, with proximity fuzing and detonation close to the target, above and slightly behind the port cockpit windows, followed by a PLA HQ-16A fired from a standard truck-mounted PLA launcher, with launch control from a command vehicle, proximity fuzing, in semi-active homing mode, using reflected radar energy from the fire control radar, with warhead detonation about 50 feet below the target, between the cockpit and the centre-section.