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Отчет DSB 13.10.15: MH17 Crash Appendix Y - TNO Report

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ONGERUBRICEERD
Lange Kleiweg 137
2288 GJ Rijswijk
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2280 AA Rijswijk
The Netherlands
tno.nl
T +31 88 866 80 00
F +31 88 866 69 49
infodesk@tno.nl

TNO-report
TNO 2015 M11094
Damage reconstruction due to impact of highenergetic particles on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17

Date                                        August 2015
Author(s)                                   -
Copy no.                                    -
No. of copies                              -
Number of pages                      41
Number of appendices                2
Customer                                 Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid (DSB)
Project name                            Fragmentuitwerking
Project number                         060.15020
Classification report                  Ongerubriceerd
Classified by                             Ministerie van Defensie (NLD-MoD)
Classification date                     28 August 2015
                                              This classification will not change
Title                                        Ongerubriceerd
Report text                              Ongerubriceerd
Appendices A, B                       Ongerubriceerd

The classification designation Ongerubriceerd is equivalent to Unclassified.
This report is a translation of TNO report 2015 M11093. In case of interpretation differences
the text in TNO report 2015 M11093 is leading.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced and/or published by print, photoprint,
microfilm or any other means without the previous written consent of TNO.
In case this report was drafted on instructions, the rights and obligations of contracting
parties are subject to either the General Terms and Conditions for commissions to TNO, or
the relevant agreement concluded between the contracting parties. Submitting the report for
inspection to parties who have a direct interest is permitted.
© 2015 TNO

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ONGERUBRICEERD
Contents
1 Introduction .............................................................................................................. 3
2 Study plan ................................................................................................................ 4
2.1 Step 1: visually observable damage .......................................................................... 4
2.2 Step 2: set-up of the simulation environment ............................................................ 4
2.3 Step 3: matching ........................................................................................................ 4
3 Visually observable damage .................................................................................. 5
3.1 Established state of the airplane ............................................................................... 5
3.2 Fragment damage inspection .................................................................................... 6
3.3 Blast damage inspection ........................................................................................... 8
3.4 Damage pattern analysis ......................................................................................... 10
4 Set-up of the terminal ballistics simulation ........................................................ 12
4.1 Reference coordinate system .................................................................................. 12
4.2 Closing velocities ..................................................................................................... 12
4.3 Warhead .................................................................................................................. 13
4.4 Airplane .................................................................................................................... 16
5 Damage matching .................................................................................................. 17
5.1 Variation of warhead position and orientation ......................................................... 17
5.2 Damage matching conditions .................................................................................. 18
5.3 Comparison of observed and simulated fragment damage..................................... 19
5.4 Possibility of a lighter warhead ................................................................................ 22
6 Conclusions and recommendations.................................................................... 24
7 References ............................................................................................................. 25
Appendices
A Impact pattern of warhead 9N314M
B Impact pattern of a 40 kg warhead

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1 Introduction

The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) investigates the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight
MH17 which occurred on Thursday July 17, 2014 in the Donetsk region (Ukraine).
The DSB wants to provide a clear picture of the cause of the crash. A possible
cause is fatal damage to the aircraft due to detonation of the warhead of a guided
weapon.
The DSB concluded the following in their initial report on the crash of flight MH17:
“the damage to the forward section of the airplane seems to indicate that the
airplane is perforated by a large number of objects with high energy originating from
outside the airplane” [1]. A fragmenting warhead contains such objects or particles.
The damage pattern caused by the impact of the particles depends on the position
and orientation of the warhead relative to the airplane at the moment of detonation,
as well as on the inherent properties of the warhead itself. The research question is
which characteristic warhead properties are able to cause the observed damage?
The DSB want to have this questions answered with aid from experts from the
National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and
TNO.
TNO proposed a statement of work for the reconstruction of the damage pattern, by
conducting a combination of damage analysis on the airplane wreckage and
simulation of the physical, terminal ballistics performances of the warhead [2].
Subsequently, the DSB assigned the damage pattern analysis and the estimation of
the point of warhead detonation based on the recovered parts of the airplane [3].
The findings are considered a subject matter expert judgment.
The purpose of this investigation is to determine the most probable detonation point
of a typical fragmenting warhead, in order to find the circumstances by which the
observed damage is reproduced in the best possible manner. Starting point is a
warhead containing high explosive material and preformed fragments.
This study uses classified data as meant by the Wet Bescherming Staatsgeheimen
(state secrets act). The text of this report is inspected and released for publication
by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence.
Chapter 2 provides the study plan of this investigation. Chapter 3 contains the
damage pattern analysis after inspection of the airplane wreckage. Chapter 4
contains the set-up of a terminal ballistics simulation to reconstruct the damage
pattern. The damage patterns from the visual inspection and the simulation have
been compared with each other in Chapter 5, in order to estimate the detonation
point. Chapter 6 contains the conclusions.

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2 Study plan
The investigation is aimed at finding a match between the observed damage pattern
and a calculated damage pattern. Starting point is that the damage is caused by a
warhead with high explosive material and preformed fragments. The high explosive
creates a shock wave, explosive overpressure (blast) and gives fragments their
initial velocities. The fragments and the blast, by themselves or in combination,
damage the airplane. Beforehand, no criterion was defined for the quality of the
match. Results from this investigation are considered a subject matter expert
2.1 Step 1: visually observable damage
Determining the suspected damage area caused by fragments and blast
• Inventory of holes that can be assigned to the impact of fragments.
• Relative orientation of perforated airplane parts.
• Inventory of plastic deformation and cracks / fractures that are attributable
to blast.
2.2 Step 2: set-up of the simulation environment
Definition of terminal ballistics simulation conditions.
• Reference coordinate system.
• Velocity vectors of airplane and warhead
• Build-up of the warhead (geometry, material).
• Ejection conditions of individual fragments (velocity, direction).
• Build-up of the airplane geometry (outside contour).
2.3 Step 3: matching
Correlate simulated damage with observed damage.
• Verification of fragment damage due to variation of detonation point position
and orientation of the warhead. Starting point for the matching procedure is
the initial position and orientation as determined by NLR.
• Finding the best match on the basis of fragment damage.
• Verification with blast damage: supporting or contradicting the match

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3 Visually observable damage
Four TNO employees with expertise in the field of weapon systems performances
and weapon effects on structures have recorded the visually observable damage.
Inspection of the wreckage occurred in Gilze-Rijen air base in the February 2015 –
August 2015 timeframe, involving the airplane parts present at the time, and
focussed on the forward section of the airplane.
3.1 Established state of the airplane
According to the DSB about 20-25% of the airplane was recovered (situation
February 2015). The parts are being kept on different sites on the air base. Airplane
parts belonging to the forward section of the fuselage and the left wing have been
brought together in a hanger and spread out according to the frames scheme of the
Boeing 777-200ER (see Figure 3.1). In this manner an impression is obtained of the
relative position of recovered parts to each other.

https://c.radikal.ru/c43/1907/9a/7ee2d68503d6.png
Figure 3.1: Reconstruction of the MH17 using recovered parts of the airplane (source: TNO). The
foreground shows the cockpit area and the left engine cowling is visible in the far right.
The relative height of the different parts is not is not factual.
The TNO employees gathered their impressions in view of the spread out wreckage
in the hangar. The observable damage area turned out to be incomplete because
large parts were missing. Many airplane parts have not yet been recovered
The spatial position of the recovered parts is/will be realised by another entity in a
computer environment. That work involves categorising the airplane parts by means
of identification numbers. In the following the identification numbers are mentioned
along with the airplane parts. The frames scheme offers an additional possibility to
determine locations. The frames are labelled with station (STA) numbers (see
Figure 3.2 and Figure 3.3). The difference between two STA numbers equals the
distance between two stations in inches.

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https://a.radikal.ru/a26/1907/9e/b55c35e61cb2.png

Figure 3.2: Left side view of the cockpit area of the Boeing 777-200ER with STA numbering and
position of recovered airplane parts (source: DSB). The orange circled panels with
identification numbers are being discussed in Section 3.2.

https://b.radikal.ru/b21/1907/bb/f838cff61408.png

Figure 3.3: Right side view of the cockpit area of the Boeing 777-200ER with mirrored STA
numbering and position of recovered airplane parts (source: DSB). The orange circled
panel with identification number is being discussed in Section 3.3.
3.2 Fragment damage inspection
Fragment damage depends on the distance to the warhead, the orientation of the
airplane relative to the fragment cloud and the impact velocity of the fragments. The
impact velocity is the result of a vector summation of the warhead velocity, the
ejection velocity of the fragments and the velocity of the aircraft. Fragments are

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subject to deceleration by the atmosphere, perforate the airplane structure and lose
kinetic energy with every next perforation.
3.2.1 Observability of fragment damage
Warhead fragments are being ejected in a certain preferred direction (see section
4.3), limiting perforation damage due to fragments to specific areas on the airplane.
The search is for a “ribbon” of perforations over the airplane contour.
Fragmenting warheads meant for killing air targets are, as far as currently known,
only fitted with preformed fragments. This implies that the fragment shape is fixed
and that fragments are spread out in a known fashion upon the casing of the high
explosive charge. The casing is generally made of metal and not preformed, so that
there will always be an additional (small) cohort of naturally formed fragments with a
random fragment shape. Ejection of preformed fragments results in a characteristic
holes pattern on the airplane.
3.2.2 Observed fragment damage
Figures 3.4, 3.5, en 3.6 describe observed fragment damage on the airplane parts.
Next to these parts, fragment damage has also been found in a panel from het
cockpit roof. The fragment damage is restricted to an area. No fragment damage
has been found on the recovered left panel between about STA 220 to about STA
410 (see Figure 3.2) and more remotely located panels (higher STA numbers). The
cockpit bulkhead AAHZ3064NL (see Figure 3.4) on STA 132.5 appears to be the
most forward limit of the fragment damage.

https://b.radikal.ru/b14/1907/ac/2a23a46c31d8.png

Figure 3.4: Cockpit panel left AAHZ3163NL with enlarged detail (source: DSB). The perforation
damage displays a regular pattern of larger and smaller holes. Furthermore, the skin
plating is damaged by pitting, which can be caused by the impact of many small and
hot particles, such as powder residue and molten metal. The pitting damage is found
locally; neighbouring panels are not damaged by pitting.

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https://b.radikal.ru/b42/1907/9f/52e4b303b78c.png

Figure 3.5: Window frame left centre AAHZ3544NL with enlarged detail (source: TNO). The
perforation damage displays a regular pattern of larger and smaller holes. This fact
points to a warhead with different fragment shapes.

https://b.radikal.ru/b14/1907/6c/c063648f87f0.png

Figure 3.6: Cockpit bulkhead (separation met radome) AAHZ3064NL with detail on upper right
(source: DSB). No perforation damage was found that can be attributed to fragment
impact with sufficient certainty. The perforation in the orange circle may also be
caused by other airplane parts being pushed through the plating. For illustration see
the detail on the bottom right, found on another panel (source: TNO).

3.3 Blast damage inspection
Blast damage is depends strongly on the distance to the warhead, the orientation of
the airplane part (receives incident blast or reflected blast) and the velocity of the
aircraft. Blast has the following effects on airplane structures, in order of increasing
blast intensity:
• Depression of skin panels between frames and stiffeners, without tearing of
the skin and deformation of frames and stiffeners (dishing).
• Deformation of frames and stiffeners; detachment of skin panels and links.
• Rupture of skin panels and stiffeners.

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3.3.1 Observability of blast damage
Blast damage can be concealed by perforation damage, damage due to the breakup of the airplane and the ground impact. In this case, of all damage typical for blast
the dishing damage is the best visually observable.
Depression of skin panels can also be caused by bending of airplane parts during
break-up and impact of airplane parts on the ground. Several depressions have
been found that cannot be attributed to dishing with sufficient certainty.
3.3.2 Observed blast damage
In the cockpit panel on the left-hand side (Figure 3.4) the airplane skin is pressed
against the more backward region between the vertical stiffeners. This damage may
be cause by overpressure due to blast.
Figure 3.7 shows a fuselage panel to the right of the nose gear, between STA 250
and STA 330. This panel displays dishing damage. A neighbouring part of the nose
gear door (STA 184) did not have visible blast damage. However, that part of the
nose gear door is made of a honeycomb structure that is particularly resistant
against the effects of blast.

https://c.radikal.ru/c31/1907/32/3a4b3cb04b20.png

Figure 3.7: Panel AAHZ3112NL with visible dishing damage (source: TNO). Het panel is also
damaged due to break-up of the airplane and the ground impact.

The fuselage skin part AAHZ3258NL on the left-hand side between STA 230 and
STA 420 (see Figure 3.8) does not have observable blast damage. This panel
delimits the blast damage area. The lower located region of this panel is severely
deformed, probably due to break-up of the airplane and the ground impact. The
cockpit bulkhead (Figure 3.6) had also no observable blast damage.

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https://a.radikal.ru/a33/1907/85/1dd5b34aa50d.png

Figure 3.8: Panel AAHZ3258NL without observable blast damage (source: TNO). This panel
delimits the blast damage area. The panel is damaged by the break-up of the airplane
and the ground impact.

3.4 Damage pattern analysis
The observed perforation damage to panel AAHZ3163NL and window frame
AAHZ3544NL points to a warhead with preformed fragments. The relative distance
between individual fragment holes (the “pitch”) is an indicator for the distance
between the warhead and the airplane. The pitch is used in Chapter 5 during the
matching of the observed and simulated damage patterns. Figure 3.9 shows an
enlargement of panel AAHZ3163NL. From the holes pattern a pitch is derived
between two fragments of the same type of about 9-10 cm.

https://b.radikal.ru/b41/1907/48/f2bc16dcb181.png

Figure 3.9: Enlargement of panel AAHZ3163NL used to determine the distance between similar
holes. See detail on right: the selected holes are elongated with a typical narrowing in
the middle (source: DSB).

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Locally, holes have been observed, on a regular distance from each other, with
different hole shapes and hole areas. This fact points to a warhead with several
different specific fragment shapes.
Panel AAHZ3163NL is damaged by pitting. The pitting damage area is delimited
and can be caused by hot particles of a nearby detonating warhead.
The observed damage pattern cannot be caused by full-bore projectiles from a
medium calibre gun system, such as a gun system from a fighter aircraft or from
anti-aircraft artillery. The distance (pitch) between individual holes is too small, the
hole areas are too small and the hole area variation is too large.
Panel AAHZ3112NL and panel AAHZ3163NL display visually observable damage
that is suspected to stem from blast effects. Damage to the other inspected panels
cannot be attributed to blast with sufficient certainty. Panel AAHZ3258NL is, of the
panels without observable blast damage, the panel closest to the detonation.
Initially, blast expands spherically after a warhead detonation. However, blast flows
around an obstacle to load the backside of that obstacle as well. This makes it
possible that blast damage can occur on the right-hand side of the airplane,
following a detonation on the left-hand side. This phenomenon is illustrated in
Figure 3.10

https://c.radikal.ru/c36/1907/87/82fe66ece2a9.png

Figure 3.10: Front view and top view with a detonating warhead to the left of the airplane (7.2 ms after detonation event) [9].
Blast (coloured lines) originating from the point of detonation also arrives at the panel on the right-hand side of the
airplane

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4 Set-up of the terminal ballistics simulation

TNO’s Weapon Systems department is specialised in determining the effects and
the effectiveness of a wide range of weapon systems. Weapon Systems often
applies a terminal ballistics simulation for technical consultations in the area of
weapon-target interactions. Terminal ballistics simulations are a powerful tool for
the reconstruction of a damage pattern. It makes explicit how the confrontation
between the weapon and the target occurred. The simulation is built from the
elements discussed in the next sections.

4.1 Reference coordinate system
The orientations of the airplane and the warhead at the moment of warhead
detonation are recorded in a three-dimensional coordinate system that is used for
reference (see Figure 4.1).

https://d.radikal.ru/d27/1907/53/ccfea6815f78.png

Figure 4.1: Clockwise coordinate system for determining the position of the geometric centre of
the warhead and the orientation relative to the airplane. The Z-axis is located at STA
92.5 and the X-axis is located at WL 198. The figure shows the positive directions of
the coordinate system and the orientation angles.

The reference coordinate system assists with communication on the suspected
warhead detonation point. NLR and TNO adhere to the same reference coordinate
system. If desired, conversion to another coordinate system is always possible. This
does not affect the results of the terminal ballistics simulation.
4.2 Closing velocities
The airplane and the warhead have approached each other according to certain
flight trajectories. For the terminal ballistics simulation only the situation shortly
before detonation of the warhead is considered (see Figure 4.2).

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https://a.radikal.ru/a16/1907/3c/03e196493cc3.png

Figure 4.2: Position and velocity of airplane and guided weapon (carrier of the warhead) in the
reference coordinate system. Note that the warhead position is a variable in the
terminal ballistics simulation. In other words: this figure is meant to illustrate and does
not provide the estimated position of the warhead.
Relevant velocities have been obtained from the NLR and DSB (see Table 4.1).
A possible roll angle, angle of attack and drift angle of the airplane have been
assumed to be negligible [7]. NLR has determined the probable terminal velocity of
the guided weapon by means of a fly out simulation [7].
Table 4.1: Engagement velocities at the moment of warhead detonation. Two velocities have
been considered for the terminal velocities of the guided weapon.

Velocity

Value

Value (SI units)

Airplane (-X direction)
Guided weapon (input NLR)
Guided weapon

494 kts ground speed [1]

254 m/s
~ 600 m/s*
730 m/s


* The precise value is not released for publication

4.3 Warhead
Starting point for the terminal ballistics simulation is a warhead with preformed
fragments. In consultation with DSB, NLR and the Netherlands Ministry of Defence
warhead 9N314M of Surface to Air Missile (SAM) type 9M38M1 has been modelled.
4.3.1 The physical warhead
From open sources it is known that warhead type 9N314M weighs about 70 kg and
contains three different fragment shapes, denoted as bowtie, filler and square (see
Figure 4.3) [4]. To model the warhead to a sufficient level of detail supplementary
data from national sources is used.
In the course of the investigation the Russian manufacturer of SAM type 9M38M1,
JSC Almaz Antey (Алмаз-Антей), provided more insight in the functioning of the
warhead 9N314M [5]. This data is also used in the investigation.

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https://d.radikal.ru/d34/1907/ff/d7b4048e5b47.png

Figure 4.3: View of warhead 9N314M (Cyrillic H equals N) with below the different fragment
shapes it contains (bowtie, filler, and square). Source: [5].

4.3.2 Warhead implementations (designs)
The warhead model is implemented in Split-X software to determine the ejection
velocities and angles of the fragments. The used sources are not in agreement on
the most important warhead performance characteristics. For this reason three
different implementations (designs) of the same warhead have been calculated.
See Figure 4.4 for an overview.

https://a.radikal.ru/a29/1907/f8/2dfd13fea4f3.png

Figure 4.4: Geometric build-up (cross-section in longitudinal direction) of warhead 9N314M. On left: design I. On right:
design II and design III. The yellow area is the high explosive material. The preformed fragments are located on
the outward circumference of the warhead in two layers. The first layer (red) covers the entire circumference
(bowtie and filler); the second layer (grey) covers only a part of the circumference (square). The red area indicates
the region where fragments are ejected, given a static detonation.

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Table 4.2 provides a summary of the most important performance differences
between the designs. Design II uses the specified fragment properties and
detonation position according to Almaz Antey [5]. The corresponding ejection
angles and fragment velocities of design II have been determined with the Split-X
software v.5.3.1.0. Design III adopts all warhead performances according to Almaz
Antey without any adaptations.
Table 4.2: Performances of three warhead 9N314M designs. Design I is based upon national
sources, design III is based upon Almaz Antey information [5]. Design II uses the
geometric design according to Almaz Antey, but the corresponding ejection angles
and fragment velocities are calculated by TNO.

Property

Design I

Design II

Design III

Number of preformed fragments

(not available)*

1825 bowtie
1825 filler
4093 square

1870 bowtie
1870 filler
4100 square

Minimal ejection angle [°]**
Maximal ejection angle [°]**
Lowest fragment velocity [m/s]
Highest fragment velocity [m/s]
Detonation position

72
109
~1700
~2300
Centre

76
112
~1300
~2520
Forward

68
126
~1110
~2460
Forward

* This property is not released for publication.
** Zero degrees in longitudinal direction pointing forward.

TNO rates design II as being the most realistic for the purpose of this investigation
because of the physical basis of the design. The main difference with design III is
the smaller angular range for the fragment ejection. Note that the warhead model
only contains preformed fragments. Other fragments that occur with the break-up of
the SAM are not included in the model.
4.3.3 Warhead modelling in Split-X
The Split-X software used in this investigation is commercially available. The
supplier Numerics reports on its website that Split-X it is based on analytical
procedures and engineering approximations calibrated using experimental results
[10]. Split-X is validated (i.e. model results correspond with test results) for the
fragment ejection angles and corresponding fragment velocities of warheads with
natural fragments as well as preformed fragments.
With the start of every study, TNO assesses the suitability of software for producing
sufficiently truthful results. Split-X has been validated by TNO for several different
ammunition types and warheads. On this basis Split-X has been found suitable for
use in this study. TNO uses Split-X and related models regularly for study
assignments from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence and other sponsors.
However, details on the TNO-internal validation process cannot be released due to
classification guidelines.
4.3.4 Simulation of warhead fragment trajectories
The fragments move in a straight line from the point of launch. The point of launch
is a position on the warhead with a given launch angle and velocity. The terminal
ballistics simulation calculates trajectories for each individual fragment. The finite

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dimensions of the warhead are being considered in the simulation (no point source
approximation).
The experienced air drag on flight altitude is included in the simulation. The
influence of air drag on the results is small.
4.4 Airplane
A factual contour of the airplane is of importance for determining the impact
locations of individual fragments. The highest accuracy is obtained with the building
blueprints from airplane manufacturer Boeing. This investigation has used an
approximation of the contour which is available on the internet (see Figure 4.5).
TNO experts rated this contour as being sufficiently accurate for the purpose of the
investigation.

https://c.radikal.ru/c06/1907/41/8a878473bc13.png

Figure 4.5: Contour of a Boeing 777-200ER according to turbosquid.com [6].

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5 Damage matching
In this chapter the observed damage pattern and the simulated damage pattern are
compared. The terminal ballistics simulation makes it possible to vary position and
orientation of the warhead relative to the airplane until both fragment damages
match with each other as good as possible.
5.1 Variation of warhead position and orientation
Figure 5.1 provides an overview of the simulation strategy. The simulation provides
an impact pattern from the fragments on the airplane contour. Starting point for the
terminal ballistics simulation is the warhead position (X, Y, Z) and orientation
(azimuth, elevation) according to the initial assessment by NLR [7].

https://b.radikal.ru/b12/1907/b9/f6b773024438.png

Figure 5.1: Variation of the warhead position and orientation. Starting point for the simulations is
the initial position and orientation according to NLR. The blue dotted line is an aid to
determine the absolute distance between the detonation point and the airplane
contour.

The terminal ballistics simulation is carried out as follows for each of the three
warhead designs:
1. Determination of the fragment impact pattern with the position and
orientation according to the initial assessment by NLR.
2. Variation of warhead position along the SAM direction of flight;
determination of the influence on the fragment damage pattern.
3. Variation of warhead position perpendicular to the SAM direction of flight;
determination of the influence on the fragment damage pattern.
4. Adjustment of the original warhead position (matching).
5. Adjustment of the orientation of the adjusted warhead position (matching).

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5.2 Damage matching conditions
From the observed damage pattern, a number of conditions have been set in
consultation between experts from TNO, NLR and the DSB that are meant to judge
the quality of a match with a simulated damage pattern. The conditions are
deliberately written down in a qualitative fashion (without numeric values) to award
the experts some space in their final judgement (see Figure 5.2). However, a good
match requires that all conditions are met simultaneously.
The set conditions regarding the simulated damage pattern are:
1. Perforation damage will be solely caused by preformed fragments
origination from the warhead. Damage due to impact of other parts of the
SAM is excluded.
2. There is fragment damage to the left-hand cockpit wall, in between the
bulkhead (reparation with radome) AAHZ3064NL and in front of the first
entry door on the left. In the area between the far left cockpit window and
the entry door fragments are impacting obliquely (“grazing”). Impact
damage stops in the vicinity of the cockpit floor.
3. There is negligible fragment damage to the right-hand cockpit wall, in
between the cockpit floor and some distance past the right-hand cockpit
windows.
4. There are oblique impacts (“grazing”) from fragments along the cockpit roof
according to a radial pattern.
5. There is negligible fragment damage on the right wing.
6. There is negligible fragment damage (originating from warhead fragments)
on the left engine nacelle

https://a.radikal.ru/a06/1907/c3/963f391cf7b3.png

Figure 5.2: Boundary of the observed damage caused by the impact of warhead fragments in the
cockpit area. The numbering corresponds with the numbering of the damage matching
conditions.

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5.3 Comparison of observed and simulated fragment damage
The matching makes use of the observed boundary of the fragment damage area,
the matching conditions derived for this area, and the observed distance (pitch)
between individual fragments (see Chapter 2).
5.3.1 Fragment distribution within the damage area
The simulated ejection of individual fragments requires some clarification. The
figures 4.3 and 4.4 show a sudden transition in the thickness of the outer geometry
of the warhead. Due to the applied simulation model, a sudden transition occurs in
the fragment velocities over the airplane outer geometry. The consequence for the
fragment damage area is shown in Figure 5.3.

https://b.radikal.ru/b23/1907/1b/b5845178ff96.png

Figure 5.3: Simulated fragment impact on the airplane contour (on left the impact pattern and on right the fragment
trajectories). The impact from bowtie, filler and square fragments is colourised red, blue en yellow, respectively.
The transition between the areas with and without square fragments corresponds with a leap in the fragment
velocities, resulting in a strip without impacts.

In reality the fragment velocity leap will be less sudden, so that the two strips with
fragment impacts will merge into each other. For the best matching result the pitch
between individual fragments in the wide strip with impacts has been used.
The regular holes pattern, typical for a warhead with preformed fragments is also
visible in the simulation. See Figure 5.4 with a side view (X-Z plane in the reference
coordinate system) of the airplane. When one imagines the warhead as a (wooden)
barrel, the preformed fragments are ordered along the circumference of the barrel,
as well as along the length of the barrel. The ordering along the length would then
follow the “staves” of the imaginary barrel.

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https://c.radikal.ru/c19/1907/b5/8d7628723f8b.png

Figure 5.4: Left: the lines connect the bowtie fragments ordered along the length of the warhead (‘staves’). Right: the lines
connect fragments ordered along the circumference of the warhead (‘rings’).

5.3.2 Position and orientation matching
Figure 5.5 provides an illustration of the matching along the assumed SAM velocity
vector. No impacts have been observed in the separation with the radome
(Figure 3.6). So, the green boundary is situated too far to the front. Impacts have
been observed in the middle cockpit window frame (Figure 3.5). So, the blue
boundary is situated too far to the back. The red boundary provides the best match.

https://a.radikal.ru/a43/1907/5f/b1c86cf248e5.png

Figure 5.5: Matching along the assumed SAM velocity vector. The red dotted line shows the
boundary of the fragment damage area in the initial situation. The boundary shifts
forward on the contour for an earlier detonation (green dotted line) and backward for a
later detonation (blue dotted line).

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Figure 5.6 provides an illustration of the matching perpendicular to the assumed
SAM velocity vector. Moving a half metre towards the airplane matches best with
the observed pitch between individual fragments (see Figure 3.9).

https://c.radikal.ru/c08/1907/42/cf0ab0ed5e7d.png

Figure 5.6: Matching perpendicular to the assumed SAM velocity vector. The red impacts
represent the initial situation. The relative distance between fragments decreases
when the warhead detonates closer (blue impacts) and increases when it detonates
further away (green impacts).

The results of the applied matching procedure for the different warhead designs are
available in Appendix A. The best match is provided in Table 5.1 and Figure 5.7.
Note that the match is a combination of position and orientation; if one would
change the position, the orientation changes as well. The corresponding smallest
distance between the geometric centre of the warhead and the cockpit is about 3 m.

Table 5.1: “Best match” warhead position (geometric centre) and orientation in the reference
coordinate system

Warhead

SAM terminal
velocity [m/s]

X
[m]

Y
[m]

Z
[m]

Azimuth
[°]

Elevation
[°]

Design II

730

0.0

-2.0

3.7

-27

10

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https://a.radikal.ru/a32/1907/5b/4d117925ff51.png

Figure 5.7: Fragment impact pattern (of warhead design II, velocity 730 m/s, position [0.0 m, -2.0 m, 3.7 m],
orientation [-27°, 10°] and number of hits 1186.

5.3.3 Sensitivity of the result
The matching result is situated in a solution space. In other words: it is not possible
to find one combination for the detonation point and orientation. However, the
solution space is limited because one must comply with all damage matching
conditions (described in Section 5.2). More specific:
• The results are less sensitive for the warhead position. The position does
not change by much for different SAM terminal velocities and warhead
designs.
• The results are sensitive for the warhead orientation. This has to do with
the very nearby point of detonation.
For a given position the variation in azimuth is 3° positive and negative, and in
elevation 5° positive and negative without diminishing the quality of the match.
5.4 Possibility of a lighter warhead

During the investigation the possibility of a lighter warhead (lighter than 70 kg) was
discussed. The hypothesis is that a match with the observed damage is found when
a lighter warhead would detonate closer to the airplane. In consultation with the
DSB a simulation was set-up whereby a 40 kg warhead detonates within 1.5 m from
the airplane.
Detailed results are included in Appendix B. Three different 40 kg warhead designs
(A, B, and C) with two possible terminal velocities each (500 m/s and 800 m/s) have
been considered. The main difference between the designs is the range of possible
fragment ejection angles (design C has the largest range). A partial match is found
with design C, which moves at 500 m/s. The other designs do not match because of

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non-compliancy with the set conditions (see Section 5.2). Figure 5.8 illustrates the
differences between the best fitting 70 kg and best fitting 40 kg warhead. The 70 kg
match is better.

https://c.radikal.ru/c29/1907/b8/2a7bd776ebe3.png

Figure 5.8: Red: fragment impacts for “best match” warhead design II (70 kg 9N314M). Blue:
fragment impacts for “best match” warhead design C (hypothetical 40 kg). Design C
results in a less fitting match.

Design C is extreme, in the sense that the angular range of the fragment ejection is
made as large as physically possible. Only with an extreme angular range it proves
possible to remotely approximate the observed damage pattern.
The damage pattern of a lighter warhead closer to the airplane does not resemble
the damage pattern of a heavier warhead further away from the airplane. Therefore,
TNO judges the hypothesis that a lighter warhead can cause the observed damage
as being improbable.

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6 Conclusions and recommendations
The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) wants to provide a clear picture of the cause of the
crash of flight MH17. A possible cause is fatal damage to the aircraft due to the
fragmenting warhead of a guided weapon. The investigation question is which
characteristic warhead properties are able to cause the observed damage.
Visual inspection of the recovered parts resulted in a holes pattern that is typical for
the effects of a warhead with preformed fragments. Damage due to explosive
overpressure (blast), so far as can be demonstrated, supports the findings.
The observable damage area was found to be incomplete, because large parts of
the cockpit section are missing. Fragment damage has been found locally, on the
left-hand side of the cockpit exterior. Holes have been found, on a regular distance
to each other, with varying hole shapes and hole areas. This point s to a warhead
with different, specific fragment shapes. Damage has been found on a panel on the
right-hand side of the cockpit that is suspected to stem from blast.
With the use of simulations an estimate has been made of the location where the
warhead would have to detonate to cause the observed damage. The reconstructed
damage pattern shows that the specified warhead 9N314M must have detonated on
about 3 metres from the airplane to cause the observed fragment damage. For
orientation: the detonation point was located to the upper left-hand side and closely
in front of the cockpit.
The observed holes pattern cannot be caused by full-bore projectiles from a
medium calibre gun system.
TNO has two recommendations for follow-on investigation, if necessary:
• Reconstruct the warhead by means of augmenting analysis of recovered
remains and traces. Examples are the metallurgic characterisation of the
fragments, chemical characterisation of the residue and estimation of the
warhead mass based on the fragment numbers.
• Expand the damage analysis as a stepping stone to failure analysis, by
considering damage inside the aircraft contour as well. Start with
determining the internal damage in a computer environment, followed by
terminal ballistics tests.

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7 References
[1] Dutch Safety Board, Rapport van eerste bevindingen – Crash van Malaysia
Airlines Boeing 777-200 vlucht MH17, Hrabove, Oekraïne – 17 juli 2014, The
Hague, September 2014.
[2] Deursen, J.R. van, Springpunt en schadebeeld (Vertrouwelijk), TNO
quotation number 919486, quotation letter 15 EBP/032, Rijswijk,
29 January 2015.
[3] Assignment agreement between DSB and TNO, inzake het uitvoeren van de
opdracht met betrekking tot het opstellen van een advies in verband met
MH17, TNO-reference SP50749, 16 February 2015.
[4] Internet, whathappenedtoflightmh17.com, website visited March 2015.
[5] JSC Almaz Antey, Materials – according to the characteristics of the rockets
BUK, requested by experts NLR (English translation), Reference nr.
01-09/548K, 29 July 2015.
[6] http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/3d- … el/816230, website visited March 2015.
[7] NLR, flight data, e-mail message, 28 Januari 2015, National Aerospace
Laboratory (NLR).
[8] JSC Almaz Antey, Findings of expert assessments on MH17 accident –
Modulation results (English translation), presentation, 6 August 2015.
[9] TNO, Numerical simulation of blast loading on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17
due to a warhead detonation, TNO report 2015 M10626, Rijswijk, May 2015.
[10] Numerics, SPLIT-X - Fragmentation Warhead Expert System, folder,
download from website www. numerics-gmbh.de, accessed April 2015.

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Appendix A | 1 / 9

A Impact pattern of warhead 9N314M
This appendix contains the results of the damage matching procedure for three
designs of the 70 kg warhead 9N314M with preformed fragments.
A.1 Simulated fragment impact pattern
The three warhead designs have been simulated for two terminal velocities of the
guided weapon (~600 m/s and 730 m/s). The position and orientation of the
warhead at the moment of detonation has been varied to obtain a best match
between simulated and observed damage.

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Appendix A | 2 / 9

A.1.1 Design I, terminal velocity ~600 m/s
The simulation result is shown in Figure A.1. The most favourable warhead position
and orientation fulfils the match conditions. Figure A.2 shows an alternative
warhead position and orientation resulting in a reasonable match. This shows that
there is some ‘room to manoeuvre’ (solution space) when establishing the match.

https://d.radikal.ru/d19/1907/82/2e89a3fb1dad.png

Figure A.1: Impact pattern (above) and corresponding fragment trajectories (below) of warhead design I,
velocity ~600 m/s, position [-0.4 m, -3.5 m, 3.7 m], orientation [-17°, 7°] and number of hits 769.

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Appendix A | 3 / 9

https://d.radikal.ru/d41/1907/55/369cc4f01d50.png

Figure A.2: Impact pattern (above) and corresponding fragment trajectories (below) of warhead design I,
velocity ~600 m/s, position [-0.7 m, -2.0 m, 3.5 m], orientation [-35°, 10°] and number of hits 869.

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Appendix A | 4 / 9

A.1.2 Design II, terminal velocity ~600 m/s
The simulation result is shown in Figure A.3. The most favourable warhead position
and orientation fulfils the match conditions.

https://c.radikal.ru/c30/1907/34/96a0c3c206d0.png

Figure A.3: Impact pattern (above) and corresponding fragment trajectories (below) of warhead design II,
velocity ~600 m/s, position [0.0 m, -2.0 m, 3.7 m], orientation [-30°, 15°] and number of hits 1157.


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