Tag Archives: Missile

Was Lloyd Austin Just Killed In Ukraine?!

Was US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin just killed in Ukraine by Russian hypersonic cruise missiles?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : Lloyd Austin Was Just Killed In Ukraine!

On 16 January 2024, Real Raw News posted an article (archive) claiming that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was just killed in Ukraine by a Russian cruise missile strike!

As usual, the article is long, rambling and confusing, so here is an excerpt. Please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!

White Hats Confirm Lloyd Austin Killed in Ukraine

Recommended : Did US Military Find Evidence Of 2022 Election Fraud?!

 

Truth : Lloyd Austin Was Not Killed In Ukraine!

The truth is – this is just another FAKE STORY created by Real Raw News, just to generate page views and money.

Fact #1 : Real Raw News Is A Fake News Website

Real Raw News is a fake news website that capitalises on making shocking but fake stories to generate page views and money.

To protect himself from legal repercussions, the owner and writer, Michael Baxter (real name – Michael Tuffin), claims that his articles are “humour, parody, and satire“.

That disclaimer, which is not clearly mentioned in his articles, lets him keep creating fake news to go viral, and generate money.

His articles have been regularly debunked as fake news, so you should NEVER share anything from his website. Here are some of his fake stories that I debunked earlier:

Everything posted by Real Raw News must be regarded as FAKE NEWS, until proven otherwise.

Recommended : Did US Army Lose + Recover Stolen Sarin Gas Rockets?!

A March 2018 screenshot of Michael Tuffin, who goes by the pseudonym Michael Baxter

Fact #2 : Lloyd Austin Is Not Dead

This is really silly, but it has to be said – US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is not dead. Neither was he killed in Ukraine by Russian cruise missiles.

If anything happened to Lloyd Austin III, not only would the Biden Administration have been informed, so would the US Congress. It would also have been reported by the press all over the world.

The lack of any legitimate report of his death is even more impossible after the recent political brouhaha over Lloyd Austin belatedly informing the Biden Administration and the US Congress that he was hospitalised for prostate cancer surgery.

In fact, Lloyd Austin has just been called to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on 14 February 2023, over his failure to notify the White House about his recent hospitalisation. Do you think anyone would have kept his “death” a secret?

The truth is – Lloyd Austin is very much still alive, after being released from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, 15 January 2024. On 19 January – 3 days after Real Raw News claimed that he was killed in Ukraine, he even had a voice call meeting with the Swedish Minister of Defense, Pål Jonson.

Fact #3 : Hypersonic Missiles Are Very Expensive

Real Raw News absurdly claimed that Lloyd Austin was killed by 20 hypersonic cruise missiles, when only one would have been sufficient. Okay, fine, you can throw in a second “just to be sure’.

Russia only has one hypersonic cruise missile in service – the 3M22 Zircon (Tsirkon / Циркон), known to NATO as SS-N-33. With a top speed of Mach 9, the 3M22 Zircon has the kinetic energy to easily penetrate bunkers. You don’t need 20 of them. You only need one.

It is also important to note that Zircon is extremely expensive to make, reportedly costing some $210 million per missile. If Russia actually fired 20 of them – that’s US$4.2 billion to destroy a single bunker. Not only is that an extravagant waste of money, Russia only started deploying the Zircon in January 2023, and has very few of them.

If Russia ever used a Zircon in Ukraine, it would have been reported by TASS, as well as military observers and the Ukrainian media. It never did. The Zircon remains the only missile that Russia has not deployed in Ukraine.

Recommended : Did US Special Forces Just Arrest Dr. Anthony Fauci?!

Fact #4 : Marine Cyberspace Command Does Not Authenticate Identities

Real Raw News laughably claimed that Russian forces stormed Kyiv to retrieve Lloyd Austin’s fingerprints. Never mind, they barely moved the frontline since October 2022. Russian forces are currently several hundred kilometres away from Kyiv.

It doesn’t even make sense for Russia to retrieve his fingerprints, especially when Ukraine and the United States would be able to authenticate Lloyd Austin’s death. On top of that – it absurdly claims that the prints and photos were authenticated by a Cyberspace Command unit!

The US Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command (MARFORCYBER) is a cybersecurity and cyberwarfare unit. It is meant to protect critical network infrastructure, and conduct cyberattacks. What it does not do is authenticate fingerprints and photos.

Everything posted by Real Raw News should be regarded as FAKE NEWS.

Please help us FIGHT FAKE NEWS by sharing this fact check article out, and please SUPPORT our work!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Were Chinese Missiles Really Filled With Water?!

Were Chinese missiles really found to be filled with water, instead of fuel?! Take a look at the astonishing claim, and find out if it’s even plausible!

 

Claim : Chinese Missiles Were Filled With Water!

Bloomberg recently published a story on the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF), suggesting that Chinese President Xi Jinping purged its leaders after missiles were found to be filled with water instead of fuel, and that missile silos had improperly functioning lids.

Here is an excerpt from the Bloomberg story (archive):

US intelligence indicates that President Xi Jinping’s sweeping military purge came after it emerged that widespread corruption undermined his efforts to modernize the armed forces and raised questions about China’s ability to fight a war, according to people familiar with the assessments.

AsiaTimes then published an article, calling claims that there were water in Chinese missiles “a fake story” (archive).

Water in Chinese missiles’ tanks is a fake story

The idea that water is substituted for fuel is preposterous: Corrosion-prone rockets are kept empty until needed

The story is technically naive when it comes to China’s missiles. China does not keep its liquid-fueled rockets filled with propellant. This means they are empty sitting in silos. If fuel was stored in a rocket booster the internal tanks and plumbing would soon be ruined by corrosion. The military fuels them if there are warning conditions requiring loading the missiles with fuel.

So did Bloomberg publish a fake story on Chinese missiles being filled with water, instead of fuel? Is that even plausible? Let’s find out…

Recommended : Are Chinese Students Being Harassed + Banned From US?

 

Why Water-Filled Chinese Missiles Is Plausible!

Unless you are working in the upper echelons of the Chinese government or the PLARF, it is quite impossible to know the truth. However, here are the reasons why claims that Chinese missiles were found to be filled with water is plausible.

Fact #1 : PLARF Also Operates Cruise Missiles

First, I should point out that the Bloomberg story never identified what kinds of Chinese missiles were found to be filled with water, instead of fuel.

Most people jump to the conclusion that it must be referring to their ballistic missiles. But that is not necessarily the case.

The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force also operates over 300 cruise missiles like the Dongfeng 100 (DF-100), and Chang Jian 10 (CJ-10). Those missiles are mostly liquid-fuelled, being powered by jet engines that run on jet fuel.

The report doesn’t … specify what types of missiles are implicated. I’d note, for example, that the PLARF operates 300+ cruise missiles, which are mostly liquid-fueled.

– Masao Dahlgren, fellow at the Missile Defense Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Siphoning fuel is a common form of military corruption, and there is much less security over these cruise missiles. So it would be plausible for corrupt individuals to replace fuel in these cruise missiles with water.

Fact #2 : Liquid Fuelled Rockets Are Kept Empty

The AsiaTimes article is correct that liquid-fuelled rockets are generally kept empty, as liquid rocket fuel is both toxic and corrosive. Hence, these rockets are only fuelled when they are needed (for tests, exercises, or security alerts).

The Chinese Dongfeng 5 (DF-5) ICBM, for example, requires 30 to 60 minutes to fuel up, which is why it is due to be replaced by the solid-fuelled DF-41 rocket.

However, it is plausible that some of these rockets might have water left in their propellant tanks, after they were fuelled during tests or training exercises, and then defuelled and washed with water.

Recommended : Did US Army Lose + Recover Stolen Sarin Gas Rockets?!

Fact #3 : Missile PBV May Be Filled With Water

It is also plausible that water was found in the Post-Boost Vehicle (PBV) found on ballistic missiles with multiple warheads. The PBV uses onboard rocket motors to deliver multiple warheads onto different trajectories, allowing a single ballistic missile to hit multiple targets.

These rocket motors are almost always liquid fuelled. So it is plausible that some of these PBV rocket motors were found to contain water, instead of fuel. Such a scenario could be due to gross negligence, as @LIM49Spartan explained (archive) on X (formerly Twitter):

I’ve had some time to think about the Chinese “filled with water” claims; and I think I know what happened. Every modern ICBM has what’s called the “Post-Boost Vehicle”; which aims and releases the warheads following ICBM burnout.

As the amount of liquid propellants in these post-boost vehicles are relative small, and these PBVs are sealed inside the ballistic missiles, they are unlikely to be siphoned by corrupt PLARF officers.

However, it does not preclude corruption by high-level PLARF officers to cover up mistakes made by manufacturers, that may have been exposed by external audits on these missiles.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Russian Missiles Destroy Port Of Odessa In Ukraine?!

Did Russian missiles hit British ships that exploded and destroyed the port of Odessa in Ukraine?!

Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Russian Missiles Destroyed Port Of Odessa In Ukraine!

Pro-Russian propagandists and supporters (vatniks) are promoting a video that claims to show Russian missiles hitting two British ships carrying explosives, trigging a massive explosion that destroyed the port of Odessa in Ukraine!

BULLSEYE ! 🎯.

The port of Odessa, Ukraine, was hit by four Russian missiles that hit two British cargo ships that were just below the ground, triggering a massive EXPLOSION.

Great shot. Brits ships carrying high explosives to Ukraine . . mischief tsk tsk ! 🤔🤨😱

The video, which is about 1 minute and 55 seconds long, is also being shared by Chinese netizens in the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book), and by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) in WhatsApp and Western social media platforms.

Recommended : Russian Gov Caught Fabricating Dirty Bomb Evidence!

 

Truth : Russian Missiles Did Not Destroy Odessa Or British Ships!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp, and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Those Videos Are Over 3 Years Old!

First, let me start by pointing out that this incident did not occur in 2023. The videos were actually recorded at approximately 6 PM on Tuesday, 4 August 2020.

The explosions not only occurred 18 months before Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, they occurred almost 3 years ago!

Fact #2 : The Explosions Occurred In Beirut, Not Odessa

The massive explosions in the viral video did not occur in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, but literally – a thousand miles away, at the port city of Beirut, Lebanon.

On 4 August 2020, a fire broke out in Warehouse 12 at the port of Beirut. Warehouse 12 contained 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, as well as fireworks.

About 20 minutes later, the first explosion at the warehouse sent a large cloud of smoke billowing into the evening sky, with bright firework flashes.

Then 35 seconds later, the fire triggered a much larger explosion with a massive shock wave that rocked Beirut, and was felt as far away as Israel and Cyprus – more than 240 kilometres away!

The force of the explosion was estimated to be around 500 to 1,100 tons of TNT, with the US Geological Survey measuring the event as equivalent to a 3.3 magnitude earthquake!

Recommended : Leopard Tanks Russia Destroyed Were Just Tractors!

Fact #3 : Russia Is Blockading Ukrainian Ports

Even though many Western countries have provided Ukraine with billions in dollars worth of military equipment and other forms of aid, they are not being delivered with ships. That’s because Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports along the Black Sea.

Even though ships were allowed to enter the port of Odessa under the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative, they were only allowed to transport grain and other food products, and fertiliser.

Ships involved in this initiative were inspected to ensure they would not be carrying unauthorised cargo or people. So it is impossible for any British ship to transport high explosives to the Port of Odessa.

Fact #4 : UK Aid Are Delivered By Land + Air

The United Kingdom provides billions of dollars worth of military equipment, including high explosives and ammunition to Ukraine. However, none of them are being delivered through ships due to the Russian naval blockade, as mentioned above.

Instead, the military equipment and other aid are being delivered through at least three NATO countries adjoining Ukraine. To avoid accusations that NATO is directly involved in the Ukraine War, the equipment are transported or flown to the Ukrainian border.

After that, Ukrainians either transport the equipment over the border, or take possession of them at the border.

Recommended : UK Storm Shadow vs. Russian SAM Battle Round 2!

Fact #5 : This Is Just Ukraine War Fake News

Ultimately, the viral video is yet another example of Russian propaganda, which is shoddy as usual. However, it is being shared and promoted by Chinese netizens, and the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Here is a selection of Russian and Ukraine War propaganda that have been proven false:

Please help us fight fake news – SHARE this article, and SUPPORT our work!

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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UK Storm Shadow vs. Russian SAM Battle Round 2!

Another Russian SAM battery tried to take down another Storm Shadow missile on yet another missile vs missile battle in the Ukraine War!

Take a look at the viral video, and find out who won this round!

 

Claim : Russian SAM Brings Down Storm Shadow Missile!

After the recent dramatic failure of the Russian Pantsir-S1 short range air defence (SHORAD) system in hitting the Storm Shadow cruise missile, they decided to go for Round 2!

In a now-viral video, another Russian short range air defence (SHORAD) system fired multiple missiles at an incoming Storm Shadow stealth cruise missiles the United Kingdom supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

The video was shared by a pro-Russian Telegram user called Mikhail Solomin (Михаил Соломин), who claims that “another” Storm Shadow fell “like a stone” after being shot down by high quality surface-to-air missiles, before falling apart like the European Union after Brexit.

Очередная пiрiмiга, лягушатно-наглосаксонская вундервафля пошла камнем вниз после качественной работы расчетов Панцирей, и упала в чисто поле, развалившись как евросоюз после брексита. Поскольку прошлый подобный видос уперли все возможные и не возможные паблики , как то позабыв указать на первоисточник, вешаю плашку в полвидоса.

Another frog, the frog-arrogant Saxon prodigy went down like a stone after the high-quality work of the Shells’ calculations, and fell into an open field, falling apart like the European Union after Brexit. Since the last similar vidos was blocked by all possible and not possible publics, somehow forgetting to point to the source, I hang a die in half a vidos.

A Russian poet! But did the Russians finally bag the elusive Storm Shadow? Or did Anglo-French military technology win the day again for Ukraine? Take a look!

Recommended : Did Pantsir-S1 Shoot Down Storm Shadow Missile?!

 

Storm Shadow vs. Russian SAM Battle Round 2!

The viral video appears to have been taken by the Russian military at possibly a frontline airfield, with a flat terrain and low buildings – all censored to hide any identifiable features.

When the 38-second video starts, you can see two long contrails, which suggest that two longer-ranged missiles had already been fired earlier.

Then you can hear five successive surface-to-air missiles (SAM) being launched from two different missile launchers, possibly Pantsir-S1 SHORAD systems like in the earlier video.

None of them were heard exploding. But just before the video cuts out, the Storm Shadow missile is seen diving towards the right side of the screen and exploding in a big fireball.

Mikhail Solomin claims that this is evidence that the Russian missiles successfully took out the Storm Shadow missile through “the high quality work of the shells’ calculations“, because it hit an empty space to no effect.

Можно сравнить масштаб ракеты, и масштабы зацензуренных фрагментов, нет там не Панциря, не складов с боеприпасами, нет ни какого крупного и интересного объекта. Она просто упала в пустое место.

You can compare the scale of the rocket, and the scale of the censored fragments, there is no Shell, no ammunition depots, no large and interesting object. She just fell into an empty space.

Recommended : Leopard Tanks Russia Destroyed Were Just Tractors!

Mikhail also claimed that the Storm Shadow’s nose cone was intact during its dive – evidence that it was not functioning properly during its dive:

“Подъём на высоту предназначен для достижения наилучшей вероятности идентификации цели и её пробития. Во время подрыва носовой конус отбрасывается, чтобы позволить термографической камере высокого разрешения (инфракрасное наведение) наблюдать за районом поражения.” (инфа с вики)
А как видно на скришоте, обтекатель на месте, пiримига-недомога.

“Climbing to a height is designed to achieve the best probability of identifying the target and penetrating it. During the explosion, the nose cone is discarded to allow a high-resolution thermographic camera (infrared guidance) to observe the affected area.” (info from wiki)
And as you can see on the screenshot, the fairing is in place, the frog is unwell.

It is true that the Storm Shadow / SCALP missile has a nose cone that is ejected on reaching the target zone, to allow its high-resolution thermographic camera to scan for, and locate, the target. However, the nose cone that is ejected is only a small portion of the Storm Shadow missile’s nose.

Unfortunately, it is very hard to tell from the few frames in the video whether the Storm Shadow still has its nose cone attached. The image is just too pixelated.

Recommended : Russian Gov Caught Fabricating Dirty Bomb Evidence!

What the video clearly shows though is that the Storm Shadow SCALP missile was intact, and diving down (as intended) during its terminal approach. You can even hear its turbojet engine running.

This suggests that the Storm Shadow missile was not damaged by any of the five to seven surface-to-air missiles the Russians sent to intercept it.

To avoid interception, the Storm Shadow cruise missile “hugs the terrain” at very low altitude, and only pops-up on reaching the target area. So you will only see it diving down like that at its target area.

This tells us that, whether it still has its nose cone or not, the Storm Shadow missile in this video had already reached its intended target area, and did not just fall out of the sky because it got shot at with 5-7 Russian missiles.

Due to the heavy pixelation of the terrain, it is impossible to tell if the Storm Shadow missile merely slammed into open ground, or actually hit some kind of target. If it hit nothing of significance, then one has to wonder – why did the Russians so heavily pixelate all that “empty ground”?

Besides, the Storm Shadow missile could have been targeting an underground bunker. Its BROACH warhead has an initial shaped charge that is designed to clear the topsoil and/or penetrate a bunker, before its main charge explodes inside.

Recommended : Did Russia + Ukraine Sign Peace Agreement In 2022?!

However, it is impossible to know for certain, because the video was heavily censored. One has to wonder why the Russians would pixelate the video if it truly showed a malfunctioning Storm Shadow missile hitting an open field.

An uncensored video would potentially allow OSINT teams like Oryx or Bellingcat to geolocate the action, and confirm or verify that the Storm Shadow missile really hit nothing of consequence.

Ukrainian bloggers are claiming that this incident occurred near Berdyansk, and the Storm Shadow hit a Russian armoured car. However, we really cannot see any evidence of that. And frankly speaking – no one in the right mind would fire a $3.2 million long-range cruise missile at an armoured car… unless Vladimir Putin himself is inside!

Based on the current evidence, it is likely that the Storm Shadow missile at least hit its target area (if not its actual target), and this viral video is yet another example of Russian propaganda. Here is a selection of Russian and Ukraine War propaganda that have been proven false:

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Pantsir-S1 Shoot Down Storm Shadow Missile?!

Did the Russian Pantsir-S1 missile defence system successfully shoot down Storm Shadow stealth cruise missiles?!

Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Pantsir-S1 Shot Down Storm Shadow Stealth Missile!

Pro-Russian propagandists and supporters (vatniks) are sharing a video as evidence that the Pantsir-S1 missile defence system successfully shot down the Storm Shadow stealth cruise missiles the United Kingdom supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

⚡️Russian sources claim this footage shows a Storm Shadow Cruise missile getting shot down by the Pantsir-S1

Stormshadow missile shot down by #Russian Pantsir-S1.

Pantsir S1 shot down Storm Shadow

The 37-second video shows a tracking radar detecting the Storm Shadow missile in close proximity (appearing as a bright pink spot), before slewing to a second display showing it being tracked by the Pantsir-S1’s thermal imager, before two missiles are fired at it.

Recommended : Russian Gov Caught Fabricating Dirty Bomb Evidence!

 

Truth : Pantsir-S1 Failed To Shoot Down Storm Shadow Missile!

The Russian government has done nothing but lie from before it invaded Ukraine until today, and this new video is no different.

The truth is – the video actually shows the Pantsir-S1 self-propelled air defence system shoot two 95YA6 surface-to-air missiles at the Storm Shadow, and both failed to hit the Storm Shadow missile which apparently hit its target in a large explosion.

In the first second of the video, a white dot appears on the radar screen. This is presumably the first Storm Shadow missile.

Then at 0:03, a small dot appears next to the white dot, and they both become large and bright pink spots at 0:04. Presumably two Storm Shadow missiles were detected by the Pantsir-S1’s radar. The video then slews to the thermal imaging display, which appears to be tracking one of the Storm Shadow missiles in flight.

At 0:10, the Pantsir-S1 fires the first 95YA6 missile resulting in a white flash-out on the thermal imaging display. The missile is seen rapidly closing in on the Storm Shadow missile before turning away. The thermal imager loses track of the Storm Shadow missile for a moment.

At 0:16, the Pantsir-S1 fires a second 95YA6 missile and the thermal display whites out again. The missile is seen flying off into the distance, while the Storm Shadow missile eventually disappears and a large explosion is seen on the ground, before the video cuts out.

Recommended : Leopard Tanks Russia Destroyed Were Just Tractors!

What the video clearly shows is that the Pantsir-S1 is capable of detecting and locking onto the Storm Shadow cruise missile. It even had the opportunity to fire off not one, but two 95YA6 surface-to-air missiles at it.

The 95YA6 missile (export version is known as 57E6) has a maximum speed of 1,300 m/s (Mach 3.8) during its booster phase, with a terminal speed of 780 m/s (Mach 2.3) at its “guaranteed launch range of 18 km). It is said to have a kill probability of 70% to 90%.

The Storm Shadow cruise missile, on the other hand, flies on a pre-programmed path at just under the speed of sound – 0.95 Mach (323 m/s). So the 95YA6 missile is definitely more than capable of intercepting it.

But even with guidance data from the Pantsir-S1 radar, the two missiles (which lack their own seekers) just could not come close enough to the Storm Shadow cruise missile, to detonate their high-explosive warheads to take it down.

Recommended : Did Russia + Ukraine Sign Peace Agreement In 2022?!

Graphics Credit : The Sun

According to the Ukrainian Defence Minister, all of the Storm Shadow missile launches were successful:

I can say that of the total number of Storm Shadow launches that have taken place, all 100% have reached the targets determined by the General Staff [of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – ed.]. 100 out of 100, absolutely impeccable.

While the Russian Defence Ministry claimed to have intercepted two Storm Shadow missiles, this video clearly demonstrates the poor performance of the Pantsir-S1 air defence system. This isn’t the first time the Pantsir-S1’s performance failed to live up to its reputation.

The UAE provided Russian Pantsir-S1 (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) systems to the Libyan National Army, where it initially performed well against slow-flying Bayraktar TB-2 drones. However, it was soon suppressed by Turkish electronic warfare systems, and some nine Pantsir systems were destroyed in drone strikes, while a tenth system was captured.

Ultimately, the viral video is yet another example of Russian propaganda, which is shoddy as usual. Here is a selection of Russian and Ukraine War propaganda that have been proven false:

Please help us fight fake news – SHARE this article, and SUPPORT our work!

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
Bank Transfer : CIMB 7064555917 (Swift Code : CIBBMYKL)
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

Recommended Reading

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Leopard Tanks Russia Destroyed Were Just Tractors!

Russia proudly declared that its forces destroyed eight Leopard tanks, but guess what – they were apparently just farming tractors!

Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Russia : Our Troops Destroyed Eight Leopard Tanks!

On Tuesday, 6 June 2023, the Russian Defence Ministry proudly announced that its troops destroyed eight Leopard tanks while fighting off a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Russian Ministry of Defence released a video on Telegram, showing three of those Leopard tanks being destroyed as evidence.

Кадры уничтожения иностранной бронетехники, в том числе танков Leopard

Footage of the destruction of foreign armored vehicles, including Leopard tanks

The 47-second video shows missile strikes on two vehicles in the distance, from the gunner’s perspective.

While the Russian Ministry of Defence did not mention whether its troops destroyed the newer Leopard 2 tanks, or the much older Leopard 1 tanks, Ukraine has only received Leopard 2 tanks, so killing eight of them would be a tremendous coup.

Recommended : Russian Gov Caught Fabricating Dirty Bomb Evidence!

 

Truth : Leopard Tanks Russia Destroyed Were Just Tractors!

The Russian government has done nothing but lie from before it invaded Ukraine until today, and this is no different.

Those Leopard tanks that it allegedly destroyed were really just farming equipment! That’s why they don’t appear to be moving in the video clip. Just sitting still in the open fields like sitting ducks.

Ironically, it was not the Ukrainians or Western government officials who exposed this new example of Russian government fake news, but pro-Russian military bloggers!

Just hours after the Russian Ministry of Defence triumphantly released its video showing at least two Leopard tanks being blown up, the video was thoroughly debunked by the pro-Russian Telegram channel, Military Informer.

These “Leopard tanks” were identified as John Deere 9000 and 700 series combine harvesters, which are commonly used in Ukraine.

Recommended : Is Ukraine Investigating Zelenskyy For High Treason?!

And this “Leopard tank” was identified as a John Deere 4830 sprayer tractor. Also commonly used in Ukraine.

The Russian military military bloggers even highlighted the tractor’s wheels, which the Leopard tanks do not have.

A detailed comparison of the silhouettes of vehicles from the DoD video with agricultural vehicles, to which these silhouettes are most similar.

These are American combine harvesters John Deere 9000 and 700 series, as well as tractor-sprayer John Deere 4830. This equipment is quite popular in Ukraine.

Why it was necessary to give out frames with an erroneous defeat of agricultural equipment for an actual video of the defeat of the Leopards, we do not know.

It is unknown what ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) were used to destroy these farming machines of death (to wheat and insects), but those missiles likely cost more than the tractors that got blown up.

Just in case there’s any confusion, this is what the real Leopard 2 tank looks like, and its silhouette. As you can see, its 120mm Rheinmetall smoothbore cannon does not have a muzzle that bends downwards. Neither does it have four large wheels.

Recommended : Did US Send Nuclear AEGIS Missiles To Ukraine?!

Another pro-Russian military channel also fumed about this ridiculous claim, “Why the fuck did they pass these off as Leopards?

This pathetic propaganda effort notably comes after the same Russian Ministry of Defence announced that it “stopped” the Ukrainian counteroffensive, killing 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers and 109 armoured vehicles, including the eight Leopard tanks.

Wagner Group head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, even publicly called it “absurd science fiction“, and sarcastically suggested that this meant that “we [Russian forces] have already destroyed the entire planet five times over“.

Prigozhin also quipped that the war can now end because Russia has “no one left to fight“, and he would now get a tattoo of Defence Minister Sergei Shogun, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov “to mark this wonderful occasion“. What a burn!

Just in case you are wondering, this is not a photo of a Leopard 2 tank destroyed by Russian forces. It’s actually a Leopard 2A4 tank that was reportedly involved in a training accident somewhere in Poland. It apparently collided with another Leopard tank, causing a barrel strike that lifted the turret right off the chassis.

Recommended : Did Russia Destroy NATO Jets, Helicopters In Ukraine?!

Ultimately, the viral video is just another example of Russian propaganda, which is shoddy as usual. Here is a selection of Russian and Ukraine War propaganda that have been proven false:

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did US Send Nuclear AEGIS Missiles To Ukraine?!

Did the United States just send nuclear capable AEGIS missiles to Ukraine?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : US Sent Nuclear Capable AEGIS Missiles To Ukraine!

US Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently claimed that the US government sent nuclear capable AEGIS missiles to Ukraine!

In 2019 actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky ran as the peace candidate winning the Ukrainian presidency with 70% of the vote. As Benjamin Abelow observes in his brilliant book, “How the West Brought War to Ukraine,” Zelensky almost certainly could have avoided the 2022 war with Russia simply by uttering five words — “I will not join NATO.”

But pressured by NeoCons in the Biden White House, and by violent fascist elements within the Ukrainian government, Zelensky integrated his army with NATO’s and allowed the U.S. to place nuclear-capable Aegis missile launchers along Ukraine’s 1,200-mile border with Russia.

These were provocations that senior U.S. diplomats like post-WWII foreign policy architect George Kennan, former U.S. Defense Secretary Bill Perry, and former U.S. ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock had long described as “red lines” for Russian leadership. Let’s face it, the Neocons wanted this war with Russia, just as they wanted war with Iraq.

He followed up by explaining that it’s because the AEGIS system is compatible with Tomahawk missiles which carry nuclear warheads.

The Aegis system advertises its tubes as compatible with Tomahawk missles which carry hydrogen bomb warheads with explosive power 10x the size of the Hiroshima bomb.

Recommended : Did Russia Destroy NATO Arms Convoy To Ukraine?!

 

Truth : US Did Not Send Nuclear AEGIS Missiles To Ukraine!

This is another example of MISINFORMATION shared by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : AEGIS Is An Anti-Ballistic Missile System

Let me begin by pointing out that AEGIS is a missile defence system that is designed to defend against short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

In other words, AEGIS is not an offensive weapon. It is a defensive surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.

Fact #2 : AEGIS Is Not Nuclear Capable

As a defensive missile system, there is no need for AEGIS missiles to be nuclear-capable. Hence, there are no nuclear-capable AEGIS missiles or AEGIS missile launchers.

It is ludicrous for any missile defence system to use nuclear-tipped missiles since they would necessarily intercept incoming ballistic missiles in mid-flight.

The resulting explosion would cause massive destruction to the ground below, which would likely be in the territory of the defending country!

Fact #3 : There Are No AEGIS Missile Systems In Ukraine

AEGIS missile systems are complex and require extensive training, and are only deployed by American and NATO forces. They are also primarily based on ships, although NATO decided to develop the land-based AEGIS Ashore in 2014.

The first AEGIS Ashore site was deployed operationally in Deveselu, Romania, in 2016, while the second site was opened in Redzikowo in Poland, in 2022. There are no other AEGIS Ashore systems in the world, and certainly none in the Ukraine.

It takes many years to develop an AEGIS Ashore site. Even if the US government decided to setup an AEGIS Ashore site in Ukraine today, it wouldn’t be operational for many more years to come!

Recommended : Are Nazis From Japan Fighting For Ukraine?!

Note : The AEGIS Ashore facility is behind Robert F. Kennedy Jr. This launcher to his left is the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) launcher that was emplaced during AEGIS Ashore construction.

Fact #4 : AEGIS Is Not Compatible With Tomahawk

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. seems to be confusing the AEGIS missile system, with the Tomahawk cruise missile. They are both different systems. The AEGIS missile defence system is not compatible with the Tomahawk cruise missile system.

What he does not appear to understand is that ships that carry the AEGIS systems (AEGIS ships) use the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) which was upgraded to be backward compatible with other missiles. This allows the ships to use a standard canister launching system for different missiles.

Originally, the Mk 41 VLS was designed to fire the RIM-66 Standard missile used by the AEGIS system. But for greater flexibility, the launching system was upgraded to accommodate the larger canister used by Tomahawk missiles. The current Mk 41 VLS now accommodates a variety of different missiles:

  • RIM-66 Standard
  • RIM-67 Standard
  • RIM-161 Standard Missile 3
  • RIM-174 Standard ERAM
  • RGM-109 Tomahawk
  • RUM-139 VL-ASROC
  • RIM-7 Sea Sparrow
  • RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM)
  • Joint Strike Missile

While the launcher itself supports different missiles (which are stored in their own containers), the actual systems controlling those missiles are different. An AEGIS system for example, cannot fire Tomahawk missiles out of Mk 41 VLS launchers.

Recommended : Did Russia Destroy NATO Arms Convoy To Ukraine?!

Fact #5 : There Are No Operational Nuclear Tomahawk Missiles

It is true that Tomahawk cruise missiles were originally designed to accept nuclear warheads, but they were withdrawn long ago, and are no longer in service:

  • BGM-109A Tomahawk Land Attack Missile – Nuclear (TLAM-N) had a W80 nuclear warhead, but was retired from service by 2013.
  • BGM-109G Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) had a W84 nuclear warhead, but was withdrawn from service in 1991 to comply with the INF Treaty.

There are currently no Tomahawk missiles with nuclear warheads in active service. So the claim that US deployed nuclear-capable Tomahawk missiles anywhere is nonsense.

Fact #6 : There Are Easier Ways To Attack Russia With Missiles

With heavy fighting on the frontlines in Ukraine, it doesn’t make sense for the US to deploy Tomahawk missiles, nuclear capable or otherwise, in that country.

For one thing, it would be taken as casus belli by Russia. Even if it chose not to escalate the war, it is easier for Russia to attack the AEGIS / Tomahawk missile launchers in Ukraine.

But more importantly, there are easier ways to hit Russia with Tomahawk missiles than deploying them in Ukraine, where Russian forces (including air defences) are deployed in great numbers.

It would be far easier and safer for the United States / NATO to attack Moscow (for example) using Tomahawk or other missiles deployed in Latvia or Estonia, which are both NATO members.

Recommended : Does CGTN Video Prove US Blew Up Nord Stream?!

Fact #7 : Robert F. Kennedy Jr Admitted He Was Wrong

Almost a week after he made those false claims, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. finally admitted that he was wrong. But even his correction reasserted the false claim that Russian fears of AEGIS precipitated the 2023 invasion of Ukraine.

Latvia and Estonia are NATO members, where AEGIS Ashore missile systems can potentially be installed, and Tomahawk systems deployed. Attacking Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, does not change that calculus.

This only goes to show how ill-prepared he is to be Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

ERRATA: Apologies for my earlier tweet reporting that the U.S. had installed nuclear-capable Aegis Missile systems in Ukraine. This was incorrect. The U.S. installed the Aegis batteries in Romania and Poland.

According to former top NATO military planner Col. Douglas Macgregor and historian Benjamin Abelow, the Russian government’s fear that the U.S. was about to install the same systems in Ukraine was one of several national security anxieties that motivated Russia’s 2022 invasion.

Russia had been deeply concerned that new U.S. missile systems, deployed as close as 400 miles from Moscow, could increase the chance that, in a crisis, the U.S. might believe it could carry out a decapitating preemptive first strike.

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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Russia Destroy NATO Jets, Helicopters In Ukraine?!

Did Russia just destroy NATO jet fighters and helicopters that were sent to help Ukraine?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

Updated @ 2023-02-27 : Added more details
Originally posted @ 2022-05-22

 

Claim : Russia Just Destroyed NATO Jets + Helicopters In Ukraine!

People are sharing a video created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), which claim to be evidence of NATO jet fighters and helicopters being shot down by Russia while trying to help Ukraine.

The video has an overlay that says, “Only China has the privilege to watch the live video, not even the western countries and the world.“, and it is accompanied by this message :

☝️Nato sent their jet fighter & Helicopter to help Ukraine, as soon as they entered the border, they were attacked by the Russian missile. not a single one escaped. only the Chinese media reported that news, non in the West.
☝️Nato 战机jet fighter & Helicopter 去幇助鸟克兰一进入边畍就被俄羅斯飞彈打的一个都跑不掉, 只有中國媒體才能報導西方沒有。

 

Truth : Russia Did Not Destroy NATO Jets + Helicopters In Ukraine!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and spread by pro-CCP and pro-Russian netizens and groups.

Fact #1 : That Video Was From A Video Game

The viral video does not show actual combat in Ukraine. It is really nothing more than a compilation of two gameplay videos from the game, ArmA 3.

ArmA 3, which is also known as ArmA III or Armed Assault 3, is an open-world, military tactical shooter game by Bohemia Interactive.

The first half of the video was cropped from an ArmA 3 video called “Combat Helicopter shot down by Missile – 4 Tanks Blown Up – Milsim – ArmA 3” – from 0:11 to 2:08, cutting off just before the videos says “Subscribe for more!“.

Recommended : Did Mossad Just Admit NATO Is Losing Ukraine War?!

Fact #2 : The Original Video Is Blocked In China

Ironically, the original ArmA 3 gameplay videos that the viral fake video used are hosted on YouTube, which is blocked in China.

So the overlay claiming that “only China has the privilege to watch the live video” is not only false, it is a sad reminder of the censorship in China.

The truth is – only people in China have the “privilege” of being lied to using a fake video that is easily available to the rest of the world.

Fact #3 : That Was A Russian Helicopter

We can’t tell what anti-aircraft missiles were fired at the beginning of the video, but we can easily see that they were fired at a Russian helicopter.

Anyone who watched a Rambo movie or two would easily recognise the distinctive shape of the Soviet Union’s “flying tank” – the Mil Mi-24 helicopter, which is also known as Mi-25 or Mi-35. Whatever may be the case, that was not a Western helicopter!

Recommended : Are Nazis From Japan Fighting For Ukraine?!

Fact #4 : That Was A Russian Tank

At around 1:00 of the video, it zooms in into a tank before it is destroyed by a missile.

The tank profile is also easily recognisable as a Russian tank, most likely the T-80 main battle tank.

For certain, that is not the side profile of any Western tank in existence!

Recommended : Does Video Show F-22 Shooting China Spy Balloon?!

Fact #5 : That Was An American TOW Missile

At around the 1:44 mark in the fake video, you can see that the soldier and the missile launcher that destroyed one of the tanks.

That is the M220 launcher for the American TOW BGM-71E anti-tank missile, not a Russian missile launcher.

In other words – the video does not show Russian forces destroying NATO tanks and helicopters. It actually shows US forces in the ArmA 3 game shooting down Russian tanks and helicopters.

Here is a comparison of the screenshot (left) and the frontal aspect of the same TOW missile launcher in the ArmA 3 game.

Recommended : Did Russia Destroy NATO Arms Convoy To Ukraine?!

Fact #6 : There Are No NATO Forces In Ukraine

NATO Allied Land Command confirmed that “there are no NATO forces or leaders in Ukraine in any capacity“.

While NATO nations are sending financial and military aid to Ukraine, no NATO soldiers or leaders are deployed to the country.

So the claim that NATO sent jets and helicopters to help Ukraine fight off the Russian invasion is false.

Fact #7 : NATO Refused To Send Aircraft Into Ukraine

NATO also repeatedly refused to create a No-Fly Zone over Ukraine, despite President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleading for one.

That’s partly because the anti-aircraft missiles NATO countries supplied have successfully prevented Russia from achieving any kind of air superiority in Ukraine.

NATO has also publicly stated that they want to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia, which could lead to a continent-wide conflict.

That is also why they refused to send Ukraine jet fighters to replace those destroyed by Russian attacks.

The claim that NATO is sending jet fighters and helicopters to help Ukraine is bullshit.

Read more : Did NATO Promise Not To Expand One Inch Further East?!

Please watch out for similar fake news created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛)!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did Russia Destroy NATO Arms Convoy To Ukraine?!

Did Russia just destroy a NATO convoy of tanks, armoured vehicles, and other armaments destined for Ukraine?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Russia Just Destroyed NATO Arms Convoy To Ukraine!

People are sharing seven short video clips, which claim to show Russian forces quickly destroying a NATO convoy of tanks, armoured vehicles, and other armaments destined for Ukraine?!

The video clips are being shared with this message:

Russia attack arms aid by NATO to Ukraine 🇺🇦

Read more : Did Russia Shoot Down NATO Jets + Helicopters In Ukraine?!

 

Truth : Russia Did Not Destroy NATO Arms Convoy To Ukraine!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by the Russians, or the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and spread by pro-CCP and pro-Russian netizens and groups.

Fact #1 : That Video Was From A Video Game

The viral video clips do not show any actual combat in Ukraine. They are merely gameplay videos from the computer game, ArmA 3.

ArmA 3, which is also known as ArmA III or Armed Assault 3, is an open-world, military tactical shooter game by Bohemia Interactive.

I’ll admit – this wasn’t easy to confirm, as the viral video clips were small. Hunting down the original video took considerable time and effort, but with a little luck, I found it!

The seven video clips appear to be edited from a YouTube video called Ukrainian soldier Blow up a pontoon bridge with Russian Military Convoy – Arma 3 by USF WARRIOR.

Here is one example of the seven video clips, so you can see how realistic (or not) it looks.

Fact #2 : That Was An American TOW Missile

In the example video I posted above, you can see the outline of a missile launcher. That is not a Russian missile launcher, but the M220 launcher for the American TOW BGM-71E anti-tank missile.

In other words – the video does not show Russian forces destroying a NATO convoy of tanks and other armoured vehicles. It actually shows Ukrainian forces using American weapons to destroy a Russian convoy in the ArmA 3 game.

Here is a comparison of the screenshot of the viral video (right) and a screenshot of the same TOW missile launcher (left) in the ArmA 3 game.

Interesting fact : the screenshot on the left is actually from another fake ArmA 3 video created but the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).

Recommended : Did NATO Promise Not To Expand One Inch Further East?!

Fact #3 : Those Are Russian Mil Mi-17 Helicopters

Understandably, it’s not easy to locate the original video. But even if you are not able to confirm that this was an Arma 3 gameplay video, any military buff or gamer would have quickly realised how ridiculous the claims are.

For example, these are Russian Mil Mi-17 helicopters. Some NATO countries like Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and Latvia used to own and operate them, but they should have long been disposed of.

Fact #4 : Those Are Russian Mil Mi-28N Helicopters

While it may be plausible for NATO countries to source and perhaps supply Ukraine with old Mi-17 helicopters, it would be impossible for them to supply Ukraine with these Russian Mil Mi-28N “Havoc” helicopters!

Only four countries have access to these Havoc helicopters – Russia, Iraq, Algeria and Uganda. NATO countries, even those who were formerly part of the Soviet Union, do not have these helicopters.

So it would be impossible for NATO to provide Ukraine with Mil Mi-28N helicopters.

Fact #5 : Those Are Russian BTR-80 Armoured Personnel Carriers

Those are Russian BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers. Granted, they are rather ubiquitous, with many examples worldwide.

However, the only NATO member with an abundance of these armoured personnel carriers is Turkey, and Turkey has not announced giving Ukraine any BTR-80s.

So if you see BTR-80s in Ukraine, it’s either Ukrainian or Russian vehicles.

Fact #6 : That Is A Russian 76N6 Clam Shell Radar

That is a Russian 76N6 Clam Shell low altitude search and acquisition radar for the Russian SA-10A/B (S-300) Grumble surface-to-air (SAM) missile system.

While the S-300 SAM system is rather ubiquitous as well, only one NATO member has ever donated an S-300 battery to Ukraine, and that’s Slovakia, which donated its only battery in April 2022.

Since then, no other NATO member country has any operational S-300 systems left. So it would be impossible for NATO to supply these radars together with the SAM missile batteries to Ukraine.

Fact #7 : There Are No NATO Forces In Ukraine

NATO Allied Land Command confirmed that “there are no NATO forces or leaders in Ukraine in any capacity“.

While NATO nations are sending financial and military aid to Ukraine, no NATO soldiers or leaders are deployed to the country.

So the claim that NATO sent a convoy of tanks, armoured vehicles, and other armaments to Ukraine. Any military armaments supplied to Ukraine are transported into Ukraine by the Ukrainians, not NATO forces.

Even such convoys would never be close enough to the frontlines for Russian forces to attack.

Fact #8 : This Is Just Another Example of Pro-Russian Propaganda

This is yet another example of pro-Russian propaganda. Here are some other examples I fact checked in the past:

Please watch out for similar fake news created by Russia and the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛)!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Does Video Show F-22 Shooting China Spy Balloon?!

Does a viral video show a close-up of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet shooting down the spy balloon from China?!

Take a look at the viral video, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Viral Video : Close-Up Of F-22 Shooting Spy Balloon From China!

This video is going viral on WhatsApp and social media platform, claiming to show a close-up of the F-22 Raptor fighter jet shooting down the spy balloon from China.

Screenshots of the video showing the F-22 fighter jet firing a missile at the spy balloon have also been used in some editorials in pro-CCP websites, and even a Falun Gong-affiliated website!

Recommended : Why US Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon With Missile!

 

Truth : Viral Video Of F-22 Shooting Down Spy Balloon Is From Game!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp and social media platforms, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : F-22 Shoot Down Audio Is Genuine

First, I should point out that the audio in the video is genuine, and accurately depicts the communication between the F-22 pilots and Huntress (NORAD’s Eastern Air Defense Sector Controller) on an open channel that anyone can listen to.

The audio clip was apparently recorded by Ken Harrell, a 68 year-old retiree and aviation hobbyist, who was listening in. This was confirmed by US Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek:

The audio is authentic and depicts communication from the 1st Fighter Wing pilot confirming the aerial target was destroyed. It’s important to clarify this audio is communication between the pilot and air traffic control that can be heard by anyone on the same frequency

Fact #2 : Audio Subtitles Are Wrong

However, the subtitles are mangled and at least partly wrong. Here is an abridged transcript of the audio communication between the F-22 pilots and air traffic control (Huntress) during the spy balloon shoot-down.

HUNTRESS : Five miles offshore.

FRANK01 : Frank One is switches hot.

FRANK02 : Frank Two is switches hot.

…..

HUNTRESS : HUNTRESS. Six miles offshore.

FRANK01 : FRANK01. Splash one! TOI 1.

HUNTRESS : HUNTRESS copy. Splash.

EAGLE02 : That is a t-kill. The balloon is completely destroyed.

EAGLE01 : There appears to be metal chaff cloud. It’s definitely metal breaking apart. Screen for an altitude check.

Fact #3 : Viral Video Was Edited From Game Video!

I traced the viral video to a YouTube channel called Growling Sidewinder, which posted the original video on 6 February 2023.

It appears that someone edited Growling Sidewinder’s video to remove the title sequence at the beginning, and the credit at the end, before sharing it on WhatsApp and social media.

Growling Sidewinder clearly stated that the video used the real audio recording, but the video itself was recreated using Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) – a flight simulation game released in 2008 by Eagle Dynamics and The Fighter Collection.

Last year, I fact checked a viral video purportedly depicting Russian forces shooting down NATO jets and helicopters. In that example, the fake news creator used footage from the video game, ArmA 3 (Armed Assault 3).

Read more : Did Russia Shoot Down NATO Jets + Helicopters In Ukraine?!

Fact #4 : F-22 Fired At A Long Distance

When I watched the video, I immediately knew that it was fake, because it showed the F-22 engaging the Chinese spy balloon at about the same altitude, and at a very short distance.

What many people may not realise is that the F-22 fighter jet fired its AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at a considerable distance away from the spy balloon. This was confirmed by numerous videos recorded by the public from a distance.

In addition, we also know that the F-22 fighter jet was only able to attain an altitude of 58,000 feet, while the Chinese spy balloon was much higher – at about 65,000 feet. The Chinese spy balloon was floating approximately 7,000 feet (2.1 km) above the F-22 fighter jet!

Based on the audio transcript, it took about 7 seconds for the Sidewinder missile, which travels at over Mach 2.5, to hit the spy balloon, roughly placing the F-22 about 6 kilometres away from the balloon when it fired the missile.

Fact #5 : The Spy Balloon Did Not Explode

If you watch the publicly released videos of the AIM-9X missile hitting the spy balloon  – and there are many, you would quickly realise that the viral video is fake, because it showed a large explosion.

The actual videos only show black and white smoke when the missile exploded next to the spy balloon’s payload.

Please help us fight fake news – SHARE this article, and SUPPORT our work!

 

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Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Why US Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon With Missile!

Find out why the US Air Force shot down the Chinese spy balloon using an expensive $400,000 AIM-9X Sidewinder missile!

 

Claim : US Shot Down Spy Balloon Using Expensive Missile!

Pro-CCP netizens are mocking the US government for shooting down a cheap Chinese weather balloon using an expensive $400,000 AIM-9X Sidewinder missile!

US so panic of a balloon

they sent FOUR (4) fighter jets (2 x F-22s, 2 x F-15s) to “survey the situation”, before firing that $400k AIM-9x Sidewinder A2A missile to shoot the balloon down.

America used a $400,000 missile fired from a $216,000,000 fighter jet to shoot down…

… a weather balloon.

China can just send more balloons….

Recommended : Does Video Show F-22 Shooting China Spy Balloon?!

 

Why US Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon With Missile!

This is yet another example of PROPAGANDA created and propagated by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and pro-CCP netizens, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : There Were Two Chinese Balloons

On Friday, February 3, 2023, China admitted that the massive balloon hovering over the US state of Montana belonged to them, but claimed that it was a weather balloon and not a spy balloon.

Later that same Friday, a second balloon was spotted over Latin America. It took China another 3 days to admit that it was theirs, and another “weather balloon” that was “blown off course”.

Fact #2 : Chinese Balloon Was Not A Weather Balloon

Weather balloons are common – thousands are launched daily across the world to collect information on the temperature, wind and moisture in the upper atmosphere.

Weather balloons are not very large – expanding from 6 feet (1.8 metres) to 20 feet (6 metres) in diameter as they rise in altitude. Their payloads are also small, consisting of a small box with a few sensors.

The Chinese weather balloon that the US Air Force just shot down is not only much larger at around 90 feet (27.5 metres) wide, it also has a very large payload that includes large solar panels, and even propellers to control its movement.

The kinds of weather balloons that are launched twice a day from Weather Service offices are typically just a little box that has a temperature sensor, relative humidity sensor, pressure sensor and then a little tiny transmitter. Based on the photos that have been going around, there’s obviously a lot more equipment on this one.
– Alexandra Anderson-Frey, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Washington

Real weather balloons also do not travel far – they generally go up to a high altitude and stay there. Spy balloons, on the other hand, need to travel long distances. This Chinese balloon has travelled all the way from China to Alaska to Canada, before reaching the continental United States.

The reported characteristics of this balloon don’t really match anything that we’re familiar with. This has been traveling at a much longer distance than what would be these standard weather balloons.

[Standard weather balloons] go up over one particular place and up to about 50,000 feet in the atmosphere, and then that’s it, they’re done. They don’t travel large distances, so I think that there’s pretty significant differences between typical weather balloons and this reported balloon.
– Jonathan Porter, Chief Meteorologist at Accuweather

Recommended : Did Four Taiwan F-16 Fighters Just Defect To China?!

Fact #3 : Chinese Balloon Was At Very High Altitude

The US Air Force sent two F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to take down the spy balloon, with two F-15 fighters to probably take videos and photos of the event.

While Chinese netizens may snigger at how the USAF has to use such an expensive fighter jet to shoot down a cheap Chinese balloon, they ignore the fact that the Chinese spy balloon was operating at a very high altitude of about 65,000 feet – that’s 20 km above ground level!

The F-22 Raptor was likely chosen for the task as it was most capable of flying to such a high altitude while loaded with missiles. Many jet fighters have “similar” maximum service ceilings, but their true service ceilings are often much lower, limited by the amount of armament and/or fuel they carry.

Fact #4 : Missile Was Necessary To Shoot Down Balloon

In the end, the F-22 Raptor with the callsign FRANK01 attained an altitude of 58,000 feet (17.7 km) before firing an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile at the balloon. It was the first air-to-air combat kill for the F-22.

While Chinese netizens mocked the use of such an expensive missile, the AIM-9X Sidewinder is the smallest and cheapest air-to-air missile in the USAF arsenal.

It would be impossible for the F-22 Raptor pilot to use its 20 mm M61A2 Vulcan rotary cannon to shoot down the balloon, which is still 7,000 feet (2.1 km) above it!

In case you are wondering – the M61A2 Vulcan has an effective range of only 2,000 feet (600 metres). So a missile was necessary to bring down the Chinese spy balloon, and the AIM-9X was the right tool for the job.

Interestingly, the FRANK callsign may be a reference to World War I Medal of Honor recipient First Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr., who is known as the “Arizona Balloon Buster” for shooting down 14 German balloons, as well as four planes.

Fact #5 : China Breaks International Law With Spy Balloon Overflights

It is ludicrous for anyone to claim that China can keep sending “cheap” spy balloons to trigger the Americans, as every country has “complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory” under international law.

Such acts are therefore violations of international law, and infringements of the sovereignty of the countries that these spy balloons overfly.

That’s why Chinese government keeps claiming that these spy balloons are civilian craft. That is also why the US government has the right to shoot down the spy balloon without asking China for permission.

Read more : Did US Paint Chinese Balloon Kill On F-22 Fighter Jet?!

Fact #6 : Every Fallen Balloon Is An Intelligence Bonanza

In the United States, Republicans are complaining that President Joe Biden was weak in allowing the Chinese spy balloon to fly off the coast of South Carolina before shooting it down on Saturday afternoon, February 4, 2023.

What they don’t tell the people is that President Joe Biden asked the US Air Force to shoot down the spy balloon as soon as it was safe to do so.

On top of that, the US military wanted to retrieve the spy balloon to examine its payload, and the best way to keep the payload intact would be to bring down the balloon over shallow water, instead of land.

In accordance with the President’s direction, the military brought down the balloon within sovereign U.S. airspace and over U.S. territorial waters to protect civilians while maximizing our ability to recover the payload.

On Monday, February 6, 2023, the first parts of the Chinese spy balloon arrived at the FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, for further analysis.

Depending on what they recover, it may be possible to determine what these spy balloons are capable of, what it recorded, and who manufactured its components. The Americans may possibly gain insights into hitherto unknown Chinese technologies.

Instead of mocking the Americans for shooting down a “cheap” spy balloon, perhaps the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) and pro-CCP netizens should worry about what the Americans might find….

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Restricted F-16 + Missile Info Leaked In Game Forum!

Restricted information on the F-16 fighter jet and its AIM-120 AMRAAM missile were just leaked in the War Thunder game forum!

 

Restricted F-16 Fighter + Missile Info Leaked In Game Forum!

Fans of War Thunder are always arguing about fighter jets and their weapons in that free-to-play combat vehicle simulator game, and those arguments can get pretty heated.

One F-16 fighter jet discussion that started in July 2022 became more heated after the F-16 Fighting Falcon was added in the Apex Predator’s update in December.

On Monday, 16 January 2023, a War Thunder gamer called spacenavy90 accidentally posted Restricted information on the F-16 and its AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile, during a discussion on how accurately the War Thunder developers modelled the F-16’s flight and cockpit weapons control system, known as the Stores Control Panel (SCP).

Interesting thing I found during my research. During early AMRAAM testing you can see how F-16A would equip the AIM-120 and use TWS on the non-MFD stores control panel “SCP”:

He backed up his post by attaching four documents. Three appear to be research reports on the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile, while the fourth was the F-16 Pilot’s Handbook for the AMRAAM missile.

  • (U) High-Performance Wingless Missile Research
  • (U) AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), Force Development Evaluation (FDE), Phase 3, Part B (3B)
  • (U) Weapons File, 2009
  • (U) Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Manned Air Combat Simulation (AMRAAM MACS). F-16 Pilot’s Handbook

Recommended : Chinese DTC10-125 Anti-Tank Ammo Leaked In Game Forum!

 

Leaked F-16 Fighter + Missile Info : Old But Still Restricted!

Now, the documents were old and no longer classified. In fact, they were all marked “Unclassified”. So the offence wasn’t as egregious as the earlier leak of the Chinese DT10-125 tank ammunition!

The High-Performance Wingless Missile Research document, for example, was published in May 1999, while the F-16 pilot’s handbook on the AMRAAM missile was published in May 1982!

The AIM-120 AMRAAM Force Development Evaluation paper was newer, being published in August 2000, while the Weapons File was the newest document – published in July 2009.

However, they are all still considered Restricted information, as the documents were labelled “Export Controlled” and “DoD Only“, as well as “distribution authorised to US government agencies only“.

As another War Thunder gamer pointed out, “The penalty for conviction of unauthorised disclosure includes up to 10 years in prison, a large fine, or both.

A moderator quickly removed the documents, and replied to the post saying that they contained export-restricted information, and posting them was not permitted “per U.S. Laws on restricted and export restricted data“.

War Thunders developer, Gaijin Entertainment, later issued a statement :

A user posted some information on AMRAAM missiles for F-16. As far as we know, these documents are considered export restricted and are not meant to be shared or used by unauthorised people. We always delete posts containing classified or restricted information from our forum as soon as possible. We forbid our users to share documents like this on our platforms. We remind our users again and again that it’s both illegal and pointless, so they should never do that. We never use documents like this in our work.

So, we deleted the posts. The documents themselves were in fact posted via links to a third-party Discord server, so they were never actually uploaded to our own servers. In any case, we made sure that those links are not available to the visitors of our forum or our employees.

Recommended : Did Russia Shoot Down NATO Jets + Helicopters In Ukraine?!

 

F-16 Fighter + Missile : Just Latest Leaked Info On War Thunder Forum!

This is hardly the first time military personnel and enthusiasts accidentally leaked sensitive or classified information during heated arguments.

Just 3 days ago, another War Thunder forum user posted screenshots of a USAF Air Combat Command paper manual published in 2015, and an F-15 operating manual published by McDonnell Douglas in 1993.

Both manuals had a printed warning that they “contain technical data whose export is restricted”, with violations “subject to severe criminal penalties”.

In June 2022, a photo of the tungsten penetrator of the latest DTC10-125 tank ammunition used in China’s main battle tanks was posted together with its classified technical data!

In 2021, parts of the United Kingdom’s Challenger 2 tank user manual was leaked by someone who claimed to be a Challenger 2 tank commander, who was trying to convince the game developers to make their in-game model closer to the real tank!

Say what you will – War Thunder gamers are really passionate about the game, and how accurately it reflects real-life military equipment!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Did China Threaten West With Waterloo In South China Sea?

Did China threaten the West with a repeat of the Battle of Waterloo in the South China Sea?

Find out what is this Chinese threat going viral on social media, and what the FACTS really are…

 

Claim : China threatens West with Battle of Waterloo in South China Sea!

In the viral poster being shared on social media, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying is seen warning Western powers – Don’t Let It Become Your Waterloo! with a hypothetical scenario.

It was originally posted sometime in July 2020, but was “reactivated” in May 2021 during heightened tensions with the West.

WARNING ISSUED TO WESTERN ALLIES IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

Don’t Let It Become Your Waterloo!

The scenario :

  • An attack by US, UK, Australia & Japanese naval forces will be met with electronic disabling of all ships and planes making them sitting targets…
  • US & allies missiles will fail to fire & if they do may explode mid air or re-directed to return to base!
  • The Chinese will give them one warning to withdraw or be sunk!
  • WATERLOO REPLAYED IN 60 MINUTES OF LESS

 

China threatens West with Waterloo in South China Sea : Complete BS

While it may excite pro-China netizens, this is yet another piece of “fan fiction”, like US Navy withdrawing from South China Sea or Mark Zuckerberg’s Not Pretty China Wife.

Fact #1 : Hua Chunying Never Threatened Waterloo

Anyone who checks Hua Chunying’s official Twitter account can confirm that she never posted such a threat.

She may be sarcastic and controversial in her remarks, but she is the official spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Such an overt threat of military action against the US, UK, Australia and Japan, will be seen as an official declaration of hostile intent by China.

It would certainly free the West to ramp up their support of Taiwan, and to actively prepare for hostilities with China.

Fact #2 : Chinese Censors Would Not Have Allowed Such Fake News, Unless…

Such a fake post would not be allowed to be shared on social media, especially Chinese microblogs, without the expressed permission of the Chinese government.

Chinese censors actively and quickly remove all references to anything remotely critical of the Chinese government, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and massacre, or the Hong Kong protests.

We should also not forget that they quickly clamped down on Dr. Li Wenliang when he tried to warn his fellow doctors about COVID-19, forcing him to sign a letter promising not to do it again.

So it would only be possible for any Chinese-related fake news to be spread so widely, with the tacit approval of the Chinese government.

Fact #3 : EMP Weapons Can Disable Ships + Planes, But…

EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) weapons can be used to disrupt or destroy electronics on ships and planes, but they are not magical weapons as claimed in the post :

  • High-Altitude EMP (HEMP) weapons detonate nuclear warheads in the stratosphere to disrupt electronics in a wide area.
  • Non-Nuclear EMP (NNEMP) weapons that use high explosives to deliver a much smaller electromagnetic pulse.
  • High-Powered Microwave (HPM) weapons like magnetrons and vircators – think of them as primitive versions of the ion cannons you see in Star Wars.

A Chinese HEMP weapon would destroy electronics in a very large area (including their own), so it won’t be deployed close to their own coast. This is something they would deploy against the US homeland.

An NNEMP missile would be something the Chinese would use against a carrier group, affecting a relatively small area – several dozen kilometres. However, these missiles would require constant targeting data, or the carrier group could simply move out of danger in mere minutes.

HPM weapons are still rather primitive with very short range. They also cannot target mass targets like EMP weapons.

Fact #4 : Disabled Missiles Won’t Return To Base

We applaud the writer for his/her creativity, but unlike regular mail, missiles don’t come with a return address.

Missiles disabled by EMP weapons, or electronic jammers, will just lose direction or fall harmlessly out of the sky.

They won’t, however, fly back to their base like homing pigeons. Neither can the Chinese reprogram them to return to base…

Fact #5 : China Is The Aggressor Here

While the writer warns of reprisals if the US, UK, Australia and Japan attack, the fact of the matter is – China is the aggressor in the South China Sea.

Whatever may have happened in the past, the US, UK, Australia and Japan are not the ones illegally building artificial islands, or militarising them, or threatening harm to passing ships and planes.

There is no danger of the US, UK, Australia or Japan attacking China. No one in the right mind would believe in such nonsense.

Rather, the danger lies in Chinese overreach in the South China Sea sparking a war, like how Hitler’s overreach with the invasion of Poland started World War 2.

Arguably, only an attack on Taiwan would draw the Western powers (sans Japan) to intervene militarily, and a military occupation of the Senkaku Islands would force Japan and the US to respond militarily.

Fact #6 : China Would Be The French At Waterloo

It’s not certain why China would warn the Western powers and Japan that they would face their own Battle of Waterloo.

In the Battle of Waterloo, it was Napoleon who attacked the allied forces from Prussia, the UK, the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau.

In this fan fiction, China would be the French at Waterloo, fighting against the allied forces from the US, UK, Australia and Japan.

Is the writer suggesting that China is bound to lose against the allied forces? Interesting…

 

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Can Donald Trump Really Blame Iran For Rocket Attack?

Donald Trump just accused Iran of the rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, threatening retaliation!

Take a look at the picture of three rockets he posted, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Donald Trump : Iran Responsible For Rocket Attack On US Embassy

Even in the waning days of his Presidency, Donald Trump isn’t quite done with Iran.

In a new threat against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Trump posted a picture of three unfired rockets, which he claimed were from Iran.

Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets. Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq…Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.

As Trump isn’t a very popular president outside of his fanatical base (no kidding), there is much skepticism about his post.

Some have pointed out that the rockets have English markings and could be American-made. Others wonder if these are even rockets – they look more like large versions of a rifle cartridge than rockets.

 

Rocket Attack On US Embassy : A Quick Primer

Before we look into the veracity of Trump’s claims, here’s a quick primer on the rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

At around 8:30 PM on Sunday, 20 December 2020, approximately 21 rockets were fired on the US embassy in Baghdad.

Only about half of the rockets hit the embassy compound, while the others missed and hit an Iraqi apartment complex and vehicles near the embassy.

Photo Credit : Reuters/Landov

In the end, two buildings and a gym in the embassy, vehicles outside the embassy and a generator at the apartment complex, were damaged.

There was only one injury – an Iraqi soldier – no one else died or were injured by the attack.

 

Is Iran Responsible For Rocket Attack On US Embassy?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t quite so simple as yes or no, Iran did or did not fire those rockets at the US embassy in Baghdad.

Let’s take a look at the facts…

Fact #1 : Those Are 107 mm Haseb Rockets

The Haseb is an Iranian copy of the Chinese Type 63-2 – a spin-stabilised 107 mm rocket with a high-explosive (HE) warhead.

The entire rocket weighs about 18 kg, with an 8 kg cast TNT warhead and a Chinese MJ-1 (Jiàn-1) impact and graze fuse.

Fact #2 : Iran Manufactures + Uses 107mm Haseb Rockets

Haseb rockets are manufactured by Iran’s Armaments Industries Group (AIG), and used by Iranian forces as a short-ranged barrage weapon.

In this picture, IRGC commandos are seen loading a Type 63 rocket launcher mounted onto a pickup truck.

Fact #3 : The English Markings Are Genuine

Some sharp-eyed netizens noticed that rockets have English words on them, instead of Farsi or Arabic words :

107mm ROCKET
LOT : 573
DATE : 2016
N.W : 18kg
R.No. : 2103

This has led to suggestions that the rockets may be fake, or made by Americans themselves, or replicas of the real rockets used in a false flag operation.

Here you can see the actual rockets (on the left) and inert replicas of the Haseb rockets. No doubt they look very similar.

However, there is really no need for the US military to purchase replicas even for a false flag operation. Many Haseb rockets have been captured over the years.

The English markings do not mean they are American-made. The Haseb rocket is also made for export by Iran’s Armaments Industries Group (AIG), and so uses English markings.

The inert replica above has English markings, because the real Haseb rockets have English markings.

Fact #4 : Haseb Rockets Have A Very Short Range

Haseb rockets have a very short range – up to 9 kilometres, and are not very accurate.

That means they would have to be fired very close to the Baghdad Green Zone in order to have a reasonable chance of hitting the US embassy inside.

Any suggestion that Iranian forces fired them inside Baghdad itself would be ludicrous. Even if Iran wanted to strike at the Americans, they would use an allied militant group to make attribution difficult.

Fact #5 : Attribution Is Difficult

The Haseb rockets are not exclusively used by Iranian forces. They are exported to Iranian auxiliary forces and allied militant groups like the Hezbollah.

So it would not be possible for the United States to directly attribute the rocket attack to Iran, unless they capture the people who actually fired the rockets.

It could also be a rogue militant group, or even a false flag action by a rival nation-state. After all, numerous examples of the Haseb rocket have been captured by other militant groups and even countries like Israel.

In fact, Gen. Frank McKenzie, who leads the US Central Command and once warned that American forces imminent threat from Iran specifically told The Wall Street Journal,

I do not know the degree to which Iran is complicit. We do not seek a war, and I don’t actually believe they seek one either.

Even Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah described the rocket attack on the US embassy as “undisciplined“.

Fact #6 : We Don’t Know Who Owned Those Rockets

The three Haseb rockets that Donald Trump posted were obviously not fired.

But whether they “failed to launch” as Trump claimed, or were simply captured unfired, is unknown. Trump likely can’t tell the difference.

Unless the rocketeers were captured together with these three rockets, it would be impossible to also attribute the rocket attack to any particular group, never mind Iran.

Even so, the mere possession of these rockets does not mean that they actually launched that particular attack.

 

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How Did Iran Shoot Down UIA Flight PS752 By Mistake?

It seems incredulous that Iran could shoot down UIA Flight PS752 by mistake, but the sad fact is that no military can always correctly identify bogies.

We examine how Iran mistook UIA Flight PS752 for a US cruise missile, and shot it down with a Tor M1 missile, killing all 176 people onboard.

 

The Circumstances Surrounding UIA Flight PS752

On 3 January 2020, US President Donald Trump escalated tensions with Iran by ordering the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani.

Soleimani’s assassination by Hellfire missile could be construed as an act of war against Iran, and naturally compelled a military response. That came in the form of 22 ballistic missiles fired on two US bases in Iraq.

Read more : Is Donald Trump RESPONSIBLE For UIA Flight 752 Deaths?

The Iranians expected a US cruise missile attack in retaliation, and appeared to have prepared for such an eventuality with the deployment of short range missile defence systems around Tehran.

Five hours after they fired those ballistic missiles, UIA Flight PS752 took off from the Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Unfortunately, a SAM operator mistook it for a US cruise missile, and shot it down with a Tor M1 missile.

So how could Iran’s veteran military forces have made such a colossal mistake?

 

Tor M1 / SA-15 Gauntlet

First, let’s consider the SAM platform that shot down UIA Flight PS752 – the Russian Tor M1, also known by its NATO designation SA-15 Gauntlet.

The Tor (Russian for Torus) missile system is an armoured tracked vehicle with a pulse-doppler radar, and eight 9K331 Tor M1 missiles.

Introduced in 1991, this mobile SAM system is designed to accompany and protect troops in a battlefield against hostile aircraft and cruise missiles.

It is not usually parked in defence of fixed installations, and have greater autonomy than centralised air defence systems. It is likely that the Iranians brought in these mobile SAM systems as the last line of defence in an impending conflict.

 

War-Like Situation Before PS752 Flight

Next, we have to consider the war footing that the Iranian military, and specifically, the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) found itself in, after launching ballistic missiles at US bases.

Besides, the United States did earlier just assassinate one of their top military leaders – an action that could be considered an act of war.

Even if the Iranian government does not want a war with the United States, the Iranian military and the IRGC would have been compelled to prepare for the worst.

It is with that mindset in mind, that we consider how Iran could have mistaken UIA Flight PS752 for a cruise missile, shooting it down.

 

How Did Iran Shoot Down UIA Flight PS752 By Mistake?

Poor Training?

As one of Iran’s older SAM systems and a short range system at that, the Tor M1 is likely to be assigned to less elite units. So it is plausible that inexperience or poor training led to the tragedy.

No Central Command?

Multiple Tor vehicles can be linked to a Ranzhir-M mobile command center, for increased detection range and centralised command.

It is possible that the Tor vehicles were dispersed for localised defence, and not linked to a central command system. That would leave the decision to fire in the hands of a junior officer, possibly even a conscript!

Short Reaction Time?

The Tor M1 missile also has a narrow engagement range of 1.5 km to 12 km. It cannot be used against anything closer than 1.5 km, or further than 12 km.

When Flight PS752 popped up just a few kilometres from this Tor M1 vehicle, it would give the missile operator just a matter of seconds to identify it and decide whether to fire or not.

Heightened Expectations Of A Strike?

The expectation of a retaliatory strike would, no doubt, weigh heavily on the mind of the missile operator. After all, they just fired 22 ballistic missiles on two US bases.

In normal circumstances, the Tor missile system would not be “weapons hot”. But they were expecting a salvo of cruise missiles, so the missile operator would have been light on the trigger.

Failure To Whitelist Flight PS752?

When Flight PS752 popped up on the Tor missile system’s radar, the operator would have to decide if it was a hostile aircraft or a legitimate civilian aircraft.

Unfortunately, its pulse-doppler radar would not be able identify the type of the aircraft, only its speed and direction. But Flight PS752 and a Tomahawk cruise missile would have roughly similar subsonic speeds.

An example of a pulse doppler radar’s display

That’s why civilian airliners use transponders and the IFF system to ensure that everyone knows that they are not a threat. Flight PS752 would definitely have been squawking its transponder code.

Normally, SAM crews would receive the flight plans and transponder codes for airliners scheduled to fly in and out of the area, so they can be eliminated as threats.

It is plausible that this Tor missile operator did not, or could not, clear Flight PS752’s transponder code, and assumed it was a cruise missile attempting to masquerade as an airliner.

Failure To Establish No-Fly Zone

One thing is for sure though – the Iranians should have established a no-fly zone around Tehran, after firing their ballistic missiles. It was a serious and fatal mistake.

The danger of jittery, trigger-happy Air Defence crews in charge of weapons hot SAM systems cannot be understated.

It would also have made it easier to identify hostile aircraft in Iranian airspace. Yet they continued to let civilian aircraft fly in and out of Tehran.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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