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Yes, another big inconsistency in the whole story which is being fed to us, experts weren`t able to tell what has hit MH17 and yet a lot seem to be able to tell what probably has happened.
e evidence supporting that theory is really flimsy.
The cockpit doesn't give off enough heat for an IR missile to even SEE let alone track on.
More modern infra-red guided missiles can detect the heat of an aircraft's skin, warmed by the friction of airflow, in addition to the fainter heat signature of the engine when the aircraft is seen from the side or head-on. This, combined with greater maneuverability, gives them an "all-aspect" capability, and an attacking aircraft no longer had to be behind its target to fire. Although launching from behind the target increases the probability of a hit, the launching aircraft usually has to be closer to the target in a tail-chase engagement.
Note: The figures and numbers above are guess-estimates based on the averaging of data from many sources including Danshistory website, Janes Defense Information Group and the Russian Aviation Page. This may account for small variations of the numbers compared to other sources.
Note: Part of the 'Air-to-Air (A2A) Missiles' introduction text is from Wikipedia.
1996-2007 Fighter Planes and Military Aircraft
So it seems newer Air-to-Air missiles don`t even target engines especially when it comes from the front/side.
While ASRAAM was being developed, reunification of Germany gave the German Air Force their first look at the Russian Vympel R-73 missile, known in the west as the AA-11 Archer. This proved to be a far more dangerous short-range attack weapon than had been known previously. It was clearly able to outperform all operational Western short-range IR tracking missiles - particularly in the ability to guide in high off-axis attacks, but also in terms of field of view, acquisition range, maneuverability, ease of target designation, and target lock-on.
Furthermore this missile is carried by improved versions of the MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-25.